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 really impacts your overall experience on your wedding day. I know you want to have a stress free wedding day!! Here’s some tips!
1. Plan for Flexibility
I’ve been to many weddings, and I’ve learned that it is important for the bride and groom 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 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, while you’re sipping champaign with your besties. 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. This makes it so that your portraits are taken before your ceremony, so that you will be able to enjoy cocktail hour with your guests. A first look can really maximize the use of your time on your day, and makes it so that you can be a part of your day without having to be pulled away for photos. It is totally a personal choice though. 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 immediately following the ceremony. I plan for these 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 help my couples make this list so that I can go through it efficiently on your wedding day, and I suggest making time for additional group photos with extended family members, or even college friends, during cocktail hour and your reception.
5. Schedule time for photos
Every wedding day is different and I work with my couples to create a custom 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 – 15 minutes. Wedding Party Portraits – 30 minutes. Bride & Groom Portraits – 30-45 minutes. Capturing ceremony details and guests arriving – 30 minutes. Family Portraits – 20 minutes. Sunset photos – 15 minutes. Open dance floor 30-60 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.
6. Do what makes you truly happy
I think most importantly as you plan your wedding day, remember to stay true to the things that are most important to you and your fiancé. You are going to get a lot of suggestions from family and friends. And of course Pinterest and Instagram are full of all.of.the.things. This can defientely bring inspiration and excitement, but also stress. It’s okay to say no to the ideas that aren’t right for you. It’s okay to follow your heart when planning this celebration. From an intimate elopement, to a multi-day celebration, just do what feels best for you guys!