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Wedding Day Timeline

Planning Your Wedding Day Photos

How do you plan a wedding day? One of the most frequent questions I receive from brides is how much time wedding day events take and how do they plan out this wonderful day and get the best day possible. A photographer will use whatever time they are given to capture as much of your day as possible. However, to plan the day with less stress and to get those dream photographs, make sure that you allow plenty of time for you and your photographer.

Details

(Dress, Shoes, Rings, and More)

Time Suggestion: 45 - 60 minutes

Where it fits in the timeline? Typically takes place during the beginning of bridal prep (hair and makeup). This is also normally the first thing that the photographer does when arriving.

 

Where does it take place? The detail shots can take place at a variety of locations depending on how crowded or appealing some areas are. Photographers may take details to hotel lobby or even outside.

 

Advice from a photographer: To ensure that these photos can be taken as efficiently as possible, it is helpful to have bouquets, rings, dress, shoes, perfume, etc. all available for the photographer when he/she arrives.

Bridal Prep

(Makeup, Hair, Dress, Bride's gift)

Time Suggestion: 60 - 240 minutes

 

Where it fits in the timeline? This portion of the day is really customizable to what the bride wants but just remember that all things take time so just plan accordingly so that your photographer can create artistic as well as candid photographs of your morning. Some events that could take place are:

  • Hair

  • Makeup

  • Getting dressed

  • Reactions

  • Bride's gift

  • Champagne

  • Accessories

  • Bridal Party Portraits

  • First look with father/mother

 

Where does it take place? bride's hotel suite or home

 

Advice from a photographer: This is one of the most emotional and fun times of the day so try not to rush it and just enjoy the morning. One thing that will help reduce stress for this portion of the day is to plan for plenty of time for all events. This is typically the portion of day that takes longer than planned. Don't worry about being ahead of schedule. Your photographer can always take more pictures and it will allow them time to create dramatic shots that take time to set up.

Groom Prep

(Details, Hair, Attire, Groom's gift)

Time Suggestion: 30 - 60 minutes

 

Where it fits in the timeline? Groom prep does not take nearly as much time as bridal prep but make sure you still plan plenty of time. Some events that could take place:

  • Hair

  • Details

  • Getting dressed

  • Reactions

  • Groom's gift

  • Groomsmen

  • Accessories

  • Parents

 

Where does it take place? Groom's hotel suite or home

Bride & Groom Portraits

(Bride and Groom)

Time Suggestion: 30 - 45 minutes

 

Where it fits in the timeline? The portraits can be flexible in the arrangement of the day, they most commonly are done after the bride and groom prep but they can also be done after the ceremony following the couple pictures.

 

Where does it take place? Hotel lobby or outdoors in a nearby area.

 

Advice from a photographer: This is one of the first things to be pushed till after the ceremony if short on time so planning for individual portraits is crucial!

First Look (Optional)

(Bride and Groom)

Time Suggestion: 30 minutes

 

Where it fits in the timeline? The first look itself only take 5-10 minutes but it takes about 15 minutes to get bride/groom and cameras all positioned.

 

Where does it take place? In a scenic and intimate area.

 

Advice from a photographer: If you choose not to do a first look, we encourage the bride and groom to have a few moments together whether that means looking at each other or just holding hands from behind a door. This helps to build anticipation and excitement for the ceremony that is soon to occur.

Ceremony

(Details/Venue)

Time Suggestion: 30 minutes

 

Where it fits in the timeline?

These photographs can be taken in the morning during prep or right before ceremony.

 

Advice from a photographer: Some of these photos are best taken when no one is present at the venue so if the venue is available, plan for the photographers to photograph prior to bridal prep.

Family

Time Suggestion: 40 - 60 minutes

(depends on amount of family and how many separate photographs you would like)

 

Where it fits in the timeline?

First Look: The intermediate family photos will be done prior to the wedding so just extended family would remain after the ceremony (40 min. before, 20 min. after)

Traditional: All family photos would take place after ceremony.

 

Where does it take place? Near or at ceremony venue

 

Advice from a photographer: Having a detailed list of the formal photos that you would like is extremely helpful to your photographer for a few reasons; (1) so that no one is forgotten (2) it moves more efficiently. For planning, it takes an average of about 3 minutes per group.

Couple's Session

(Bride and Groom)

Time Suggestion: 40 - 60 minutes

(Depends on locations)

 

Where it fits in the timeline?

First Look: The majority of couple photographs are taken prior to the ceremony (~40 minutes) and then another mini session after ceremony.

Traditional: All couple photos would take place after ceremony.

 

Advice from a photographer: Lighting is key! The best lighting is in the evening, 60-90 minutes prior till sunset is a perfect timing especially if you are wanting sunset photos.

Wedding Party

Time Suggestion: 40 - 60 minutes

 

Where it fits in the timeline?

First Look: All wedding party photos can be done prior to ceremony

 

Traditional: All wedding party photos are typically done after ceremony

 

Advice from a photographer:

The more time, the more creative shots that can be done. We start with the classic photos and move to interactions that cause more excitement.

Reception Details

Time Suggestion: 30 minutes

 

Where it fits in the timeline?

Can take place prior to reception or even in the morning during groom and bridal prep.

 

Advice from a photographer:

The reception is best photographed when the venue is vacant and when things are "picture perfect".

Reception

Time Suggestion: 1 - 6 hours

 

Where it fits in the timeline?

Party Time! This portion of the day is about celebrating with family and friends and is completely customizable. Some events that could be included are:

  • First Dances

  • Cake Cutting

  • Dinner

  • Group Dances

  • Garter Toss

  • Bouquet Toss

  • Toasts

  • Dancing etc.

  • Grand Exit

 

Advice from a photographer:

This portion of the day is so fun and the photographer takes a photojournalistic stand point. My only tip is to make sure that you plan out the reception so that you know how long you want your photographer to stay.

Couple Sneak Out Session

(Bride and Groom)

Time Suggestion: 5 - 10 minutes

 

Where it fits in the timeline? Right after the dance floor gets opened and guests are dancing. The bride and groom sneak away for a evening photo outside.

 

Where does it take place? Right outside reception venue

 

Advice from a photographer: This is a dramatic shot that require lighting and will be set up prior to the couple being brought out from the reception.

Grand Exit

(Everyone)

Time Suggestion: 10 - 20 minutes

(Typically takes about 10 minutes to get everyone set up prior to the bride and groom exiting)

 

Where it fits in the timeline? The very end of the reception or it can be a staged exit at the end of photographer's contract time.

 

Advice from a photographer: Allow proper time for setup and for guests to be ready. Don't forget to kiss or do something dramatic at the end!

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