I’ve been told by numerous brides (and my dear husband) that I tend to act like a wedding planner as well as a wedding photographer…:) I can’t help it! I love, love, love weddings and I love helping my brides in any way I can! I want their day to go as smoothly as if my sister was getting married. So yes, I have a tiny wedding planner inside of me that tends to come bursting out when I talk weddings with my brides and so far, my brides have thanked me for it. So that’s always good news. :)
One of the biggest things that I talk about with my brides and grooms is their TIMELINE. When I was planning my wedding I was a timeline freak. I wrote out my timeline plan over and over and over. I’m so thankful that my bridal party was so nice and cooperative because I know I must have bothered them quite a few times with different revisions of the day’s timeline.
Timelines are so very important when you’re planning your wedding day. When I meet with a bride and groom for the first time (even before they book me), I start getting the main idea of their wedding day and jot down a rough timeline for them to use and we discuss the amount of time they want for photos. This is such a huge part of the day and some brides tend to overlook this, thinking that they don’t need a lot of time for photos. In some cases it’s not that important to brides, but if one of your main concerns about your wedding is your photos, you should draft your timeline around that.
I start the draft by figuring out a rough estimate of when their ceremony and dinner will be and I go from there. We go over how much time they want with us there when they are getting ready and then slowly work our way through the ceremony. A timeline varies, especially if you are not seeing each other before the ceremony, in which case you’ll want to make sure that you have a large enough gap between the ceremony and reception so you can get the photos you want done then. When Paul and I were married, bridal party photos were not a huge concern to me (sorry friends!!). We chose not to see each other beforehand, but then left a huge gap of time in between the ceremony and reception for just photos of us. It was one of my favorite things about the day – it was so relaxing just being by ourselves (and with our photographer, of course). But, there have been times that I’ve had my brides and grooms not see each other before the ceremony (which is totally fine – I fully support my couples in doing whatever they would like; it’s their day) and then left almost zero time in between the ceremony and reception for photos. Like I said, that is totally fine if photos are not high on their priority list, but if it is, this is where I help my brides and grooms figure out their day. Here is a general timeline that I use as a rough draft for my brides and grooms (remember, this can vary drastically depending on what you want for your day):
10:45am – Getting Ready photos (I try to encourage at least 45 minutes or so of getting ready – this allows me to get detail shots as well)
11:30am – Bride and Groom – “first look” & portraits
12:10pm – Bridal Party portraits
12:45pm – Formals (family and Bridal Party)
1:30pm – Hiding before ceremony – done with ALL photos
2pm – Ceremony
2:35pm – Receiving Line
3:05pm – Couples tend to have buses, go bar-hopping, or maybe this is a time when they want Bridal Party photos done – it all depends on what you want.
5:15pm – Cocktail Hour
6pm – Dinner
7:30pm – Dancing
Even as I was typing that out, thoughts kept running through my mind: “Well, technically they could move the ceremony up an hour and that way there would be less of a gap between the ceremony and reception…UNLESS they’re not seeing each other beforehand. That can completely change everything. Maybe they’d rather have photos done towards the end of the day to get more dreamy lighting…maybe they want to focus more on the Bridal Party…their ceremony could be longer if it’s a full Catholic mass or it could even be shorter so that will change things…” and the list goes on and on and on and on. See why this is such a big deal?! However, once I meet with my brides and grooms, they always tell me how much better they feel after going over this in depth, knowing that they are truly getting what they want out of their wedding day. If you’re a bride meeting with a photographer (me or anyone else) make sure to ask questions! Make sure you feel comfortable about your timeline when you leave from your meeting. As a photographer (and tiny wedding planner), I try to educate my brides and grooms as much as I can – I don’t want you to think that you’re going to be getting a ton of photos of you and your love when in reality, your timeline just doesn’t allow it. Ask questions, know what you want, but be open to ideas that will help make sure you get the day you want. :)