this is your first wedding. planning can be stressful, and you have no idea where to start. i get it! lucky for you, your suppliers have been doing this for a while, and are the best people to get advice from when you feel like you’re losing control! like your timeline… what time should you get married? what’s the best time for your bridal shoot? how long does the photographer need with the nervous groom? and so on.
so, i thought i’d share my point of view with you. not all photographers work the same, so please take into account that you really should chat to whoever is taking your pictures before deciding on something final. but this will at least give you a good idea how much time needs to be allocated where, when the photographer tells you their packages is X amount of hours.
i start with the decor. your decor is important. it’s where you’ve spent most of your planning time – on pinterest! i usually spend around 30-45 mins getting snaps of all the pretty details, as well as shots of the venue, the landscape around it, and creating the memory of the setting for you. it’s very important to also let your photographer know what special aspects are really important to you as a couple. if your great aunt mary from canada hand made every single serviette and they’re being specially sent to you with a box of doves, let them know so they don’t miss it!!
(p.s. that has never happened. but it would be pretty cool!)
taking pics of the boys while they get ready is my next step. sometimes they’re at a different venue to the bride. try to make these two places as close together as possible so that you’re not wasting valuable time (and special moments) with the photographer in a car. i always ask that the boys are still chilling in their casual outfits when i arrive, and then change once i get there, so that i can see the anxiety on the groom’s face as he realises while he ties his windsor knot that his hands are trembling with excitement and the fact that he’s about to become a HUSBAND! this usually takes about 45 mins too. not everyone likes the camera on them for this time, and they can be very nervous, so it’s up to you if you’d prefer the photographer to be there or not for this build up. i always find the guys in good spirits, but sometimes they prefer to just quietly get ready and then step outside once they’re all done. every person is different! you decide.
then, the beautiful bride! i love to arrive while there is still lots going on. while all the girls are still being prepped and fussing around the bride, and the bride is having her hair and make up done
while sipping on some champers!
*note- always have some background music to create a vibe!*
i like to keep this time nice and chilled, and not rushed at all. so i usually spend about 90 mins with the bride and the girls. i arrive 30 mins before she’s ready to get in her dress, and then have a whole hour to get her into the gown, as well have portraits with her bridesmaids, parents and on her own. those minutes before becoming a bride are so special, and so important!! so cherishing that time is very important.
so then it’s time for the most important part of the day – the ceremony. this timing is completely unique to each and every wedding, with each and every wedding officiant. once you’ve chatted to the officiant, make sure to tell the photographer how long you’ll be with the ceremony, so that they can work out the best timing for the rest of your day. try to do this before sending out your invites, so that your photographer can guide your day, and advise the best time for the ceremony so that you have enough time for bridal party & couple photos later too. once the i do’s are done and you can breathe again, it’s off to start the party…
canapés are the part of the day where you get to finally greet all of your favourite people that have come together to celebrate you guys becoming one! so it’s important to get a chance to say hello, grab a drink, and take it all in. i suggest anything from 45mins to 60mins for this, depending on the time of year, the number of guests, and a few other factors. i usually try to get the family photos done during this time as well, while every one is nice and close together and easy to find. the day really does fly by, so take a bit of time to breathe, and realise the amazing decision you’ve just made. it’s such a good one!!
the best light for the bridal shoot is around sunset, so i try to use that last 60mins of light to get photos of you with your bridal party and as a newlywed couple. i hate to steal the couple away for too long, and an hour is usually more than enough time for this part of the day. for my style of work, there really is no need to be away from all of your guests for too long, and i know that you didn’t plan your wedding so that you could look at my camera for 2/3 hours! you’re there to spend times with the ones you love, and to celebrate them as much as you can. so after a bit of ‘alone time’, it’s time to head to your reception and ENJOY the best part of the day!
as i mentioned, this is the timeline that i like to follow for a wedding, and is really just a rough idea for you to work with. some photographers require a little more or a little less time, but this will be a good start to get your timeline on the right track without freaking out.