Arguably the most important aspect of planning out your wedding is putting together a timeline.
Not just any timeline, but one that allows for your guests to have the best experience, and your vendors to provide you with the same. Tackling this is no easy task without a wedding planner, but dealing with the stress in advance will save you even more stress on your wedding day. Below are a few tips to make the most of your photography package by creating a timeline that allows for a smooth, efficient wedding day, and a sample of my own ideal wedding timeline.
First looks —
If you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade as this trend has taken the wedding world by storm, a first look is when the bride and groom see each other prior to the ceremony instead of the traditional route of first seeing the bride while walking down the aisle.
What are the benefits?
- They allow for a private moment between you and your fiancé to relax and unwind before the ceremony and remember why you are getting married to begin with.
- Typically done in a picturesque setting, they add incredibly emotional images to your wedding album.
- Since you will not be avoiding each other until the ceremony, it allows for you to have the bulk of your wedding day images taken prior to the ceremony. Taking the family and bridal party photos before the ceremony leaves only the extended family and some couple’s portraits for after you say “I do.” This means you’ll have the time to be present with your guests during cocktail hour and more opportunities to enjoy the funnest parts of your day!
- It allows for more time to have pictures taken if you are behind on schedule. If something during the day runs slowly and cuts into an already small amount of time for post-ceremony photos, there is no buffer of time; you’ll either run late for the reception and push everything backwards, or you’ll miss out on group photos that you don’t have the time for. Having two set times to take photos means that you’ll be able to leisurely move throughout the day knowing that you have more than enough time for delays.
- Having the majority of your images taken earlier on in the day takes one more thing off of your mind. Weddings go by in a flash, the last thing you want is to spend it stressing out.
Shot lists —
Put together a well thought out list of groupings for family photos that are “must haves” in order to maximize your time and get as much done in a small amount of time as possible. Delegating a friend or family member (who isn’t afraid to be a little loud and stern) to organize these people during your designated family photo time will ensure that nothing is missed.
Don’t Go Crazy
Tips for the best wedding images —
- Have the bride and groom get ready in close proximity. This allows for your photographer to hop over to take prep photos of the groom between the morning images of the bride creating a more complete story for your wedding album without added travel time. If this isn’t a possibility, consider talking to your photographer about hiring a second shooter for the day.
- Ensure that the rooms you are getting ready in are clean and clutter free. This means that your photographer will spend less time moving items like water bottles and empty grocery bags out of their way and more time taking candid photos of real, emotional moments.
- Gather all of your “details” for the photographer to shoot before they arrive. This includes any jewelry, your invitation suite, the dresses, shoes, and anything else of significance. Less time spent trying to track down items scattered around a room equals more photos!
- Keep your group photos list to family and bridal party only. Organizing multiple groups of extended family and friends from college takes time. These photos are best done during the reception when everyone is less antsy to sneak off and grab drinks or are already grouped together at tables.
- Always try to schedule a break in any reception events right before the sun sets for 15 minutes of bride and groom portraits. This is the best lighting of the evening and should never be missed!
My ideal wedding timeline —
- 1 hour – Detail photos, photojournalistic images of the bride and bridesmaids getting ready at the tail end of their hair and makeup
- 15 minutes – Groom getting ready and individual portraits of just the groom (if he is getting ready in close proximity)
- 15 minutes – Bride getting dressed
- 15 minutes – Bridal portraits indoors
- 15 minutes – First look
- 30 minutes – Bridal party images
- 30 minutes – Family portraits
- 1 hour – Cocktail hour – 30 – 45 minutes for portraits for any remaining family/groups and portraits of the bride and groom , 15-30 minutes to take photos of the reception space without any guests
- Sunset – 15 minutes – Bride and groom portraits
- Reception – Planned at the discretion of the venue or DJ, while ensuring to have all major events finishing at least a half-hour before photography coverage is supposed to end to compensate for delays.
All images above photographed at the Erich McVey Workshop in Elk, California at Cuffey’s Cove Ranch | Creative Direction & Styling: Ginny Au assisted by Charlene Tea | Art Direction: Kaela Rawson for Ginny Au | Floral Design: Soil & Stem assisted by Tess Comrie | Hair & Makeup: Mimi & Taylor | Gown: Emily Riggs | Suit: JCrew | Ribbon: Froufrou Chic | Plates: The Commons | Tablecloth: Alder & Co | Napkins & Table Runner: Silk & Willow | Models: Nata Sarafincha & Braeden Eufemia for Option Model & Media | Paper Goods: Mon Voir | Sponsors: Neve Albums, PhotoVision, Fuji Film, Pixieset, Once Wed, Make & Stow