One question that gets brought up a lot when I’m meeting with an engaged couple, is how to plan the timeline of their wedding day. This is something that I love to talk with couples about because the flow of your day truly impacts the overall experience on your wedding day. I’m always happy to offer some tips on how to plan ahead so that things go smoothly.
1. Plan for Flexibility
I’ve been to hundreds weddings, and one thing that I’ve learned is that it’s really important for the couple to make a plan for how they want their day to go, and then to add in extra time as a cushion. This is important because even an extra 15 – 30 minutes of time can really help to cover any unexpected situations that may arise (ex: late limo, hair & make-up taking a bit longer etc.). And you’ll be able to stay stress-free because you’ve planned in that extra wiggle room. I always recommend to have 30 minutes prior to the ceremony as “down time” for the bride. During this time I am capturing your guest arriving, and all of the details at the ceremony location. But in case something does run over before the ceremony, we have that extra time planned in.
2. Consider a First Look
I always share the perks of having a first look with my couples. Choosing to see each other before your ceremony makes it so that your portraits can be taken before your ceremony, allowing you to enjoy cocktail hour with your guests. A first look really maximizes the use of your time on your day, and makes it so that you can enjoy the flow of your day with less time constraints. I share more about this in a previous blog post here.
3. Minimize Location Changes
If you can minimize location changes on your wedding day, it will make it so that you feel more relaxed and in the moment on your day. Most of my brides have their hair and makeup done on-location so that they aren’t running to a salon on the day of their wedding. I always happy to suggest locations for portraits that have multiple backdrops within a short distance. This will give you variety in your photos without having to use time for traveling between multiple places.
4. Family Portraits
Weddings are a really important event for your entire family. It’s amazing to have so many people who have been such an important part of your life, come together to celebrate you and your partner. Family portraits typically take place before or immediately following the ceremony. I plan for these photos ahead of time with my couples so that we can be as efficient as possible (after all, your cocktail hour is happening!). Planning a realistic list of key family members to be in these formal photos will make it so that we are able to capture these portraits and move on to the next part of your day. I guide my clients through making this list, and we make time for additional groups of extended family members, or even college friends during cocktail hour and your reception. My assistant is with me during this part of the day making sure that we keep track of our shot list, and my second photographer is capturing your guests as they enjoy cocktails and appetizers!
5. Schedule time for photos
Every wedding day is different and I work with my couples to create the perfect timeline for their day. But, a good rule of thumb for the amount of time needed for each photo portion of your day is: Getting ready photos and Bride’s details – 90 minutes. First Look – 20 minutes. Wedding Party Portraits – 30 minutes. Bride & Groom Portraits – 30 minutes. Capturing ceremony details and guests arriving – 30 minutes. Family Portraits – 20- 30 minutes. Sunset photos – 15 minutes. Open dance floor 60 minutes. All of the other parts of your wedding day, such as your ceremony, cocktail hour, reception, etc will be captured as they’re happening. Planning enough time for the portrait parts of your day, will allow me to capture you in a more comfortable, relaxed and authentic way.
Buffalo, NY Wedding Photographer