Your wedding day timeline & timetable for a stress free wedding is key. Without it, your stress level will go thru the roof and everyone will be running around and while it will feel like things are getting done, time will be slipping away and your day will be over before you know it and chances are good that you never got to eat.
While I am writing about the timeline of your day from a photographers stand point, I am doing so from the one person (outside of a wedding planner if you hired one, such as :: https://www.onefinedayct.net :: ) who is part of your entire day from start to finish. Not just a few hours. In other words, we see it all.
With that being said, this isn’t going to be a post that gives you a perfect description of a wedding day timeline such as the below (which actually isn’t too bad) where everything is broken down by half hour increments. Instead it will be the straight up truth for the best photos and a stress free flow. And while you will have a general timetable such as the below, for you list makers and super A types. Remember that when you create your spread sheets that have everything down to the minute, it will be about 45 minutes into your day before everything is thrown off because here’s your reality, EVERYTHING ON YOUR WEDDING DAY WILL BE SLOWER THAN YOU THINK!
9:00 a.m.—Hair and makeup / Getting ready
9:30 a.m.—Vendors arrive / Setup starts
10:30 a.m.—Getting ready photos start
11:00 a.m.—First look and couple’s portraits
11:45 a.m.—Family pictures
12:30 p.m.—Doors open / Room ready for guests / Pre-ceremony music starts
1:00 p.m.—Invite time
1:15 p.m.—Ceremony starts
1:35 p.m.—Ceremony concludes
1:40 p.m.—Cocktail “hour” starts / Additional family photos
2:30 p.m.—Lunch starts
3:30 p.m.—First dance
5:00 p.m.—Cake cutting / Dessert
6:15 p.m.—Couple departs
6:30 p.m.—Guests depart
6:30 p.m.—Breakdown commences
7:30 p.m.—All vendors out
Anyway, let’s have a couple quick pointers to help make your photos awesome and take a little stress from your day. Keep in mind, these thoughts are from us here at TAB Photographic which may not always work for other photographers because of strict timeline and set packages.
First thing first, we want to start with enough time to tell you story and getting ready photos. So if you’re not doing a first look, we will start roughly 2 hours pre-ceremeony. What we like to do is capture the final prep shots and allow us to capture some bridal party shots. The girls and guys separately before the ceremony. By doing this, we can subtract some of the rushing around that happens after the ceremony. So with no first look, our preference would be something like this. With 2:00 ceremony time.
Photographers show up at 11:30ish – Final prep shots – Bridesmaids and bride go rock out their photos – groomsmen and groom go rock out their photos then off to the ceremony everyone goes.
Then after the ceremony, family photos (parents grand parents and siblings), full bridal party shots and then photos of bride and groom. Then, THEN PARTY TIME!!!
Now, let’s step that up to one other option (and yes, we are pretty much saying there are two options here haha). Opt in for doing the first look. With a 2:00 ceremony time, we would start shooting about 3 hours pre-ceremony.
So, 2:00 ceremony. Photographers show up at 11:00. Final prep shots, first look happens at about 12:15. Then bridal party shots, shots of bride and groom and bridal portraits. This means after the ceremony it goes to family photos and YOU and YOUR PERSON get to go enjoy the cocktail hour you invested money into.
The main goal with these two options is simple. To make it so your day is less stressful. And more so, your photos are awesome. And in a worse case scenario, a situation arises that puts the timeline way behind, we just adjust photo times so that the day can still be put back on schedule. (tho that’s a worse case scenario)
No matter what direction you go, our goal is to create a timeline around your needs in a way that will benefit your day, your love and your photos. Some things to think about with all of this and work with us on would be. Locations, getting ready to photos to ceremony. For hair and make up, have the bride finish up last (most make up and hair teams like http://upstyle.co make sure that’s how they roll ). Have key items like the rings, shoes and special jewelry put aside for the photographer to grab shots of before the day gets rolling too fast. Keep your bridal party in check. Let them know the plan with the goal being awesome photos and more party time for them. And last but not least, if you feel like something isn’t going to work or is throwing a hitch in your day, communicate that with the professional wedding vendors you brought into your day. We are here for you!
So while this was really just pointing out two simple ways to take some stress out of your day and create great photos without making that hour of time between the ceremony and reception completely crazy. There is one other option that some take advantage of. And while I won’t go into a ton of detail with that, it’s a gap between your ceremony and reception. This is actually one more way to alleviate stress and rushing around from your day.
Again, let’s say your ceremony is at 2. Photographers would show up at 12. Prep shots happen. Everyone heads off to the ceremony. People kiss, say their “I do’s”. Then you would have, say a 2 hour gap before the reception. In that two hours, family photos happen, all bridal party shots happen, bride and groom shots and all that. By rolling with this option you get to enjoy all of your cocktail hour. Go to one or two different locations for photos and in that time, everyone get’s to have some added fun and just relax. The two things to keep in mind with this gap is if you’re choosing to have a receiving line (figure in 6-10 seconds for every guest at the wedding) that will eat up A LOT of time and also travel time between locations. If you have a two hour gap but your church is an hour from your reception location and you do a receiving line, your two hour gap isn’t a gap at all and you’re going to be surprised that two hours magically disappeared.
EVERYTHING on your wedding day will go slower than you think (except for the day itself). Make sure you eat, enjoy the food you put time and efro
There could be so much detail put into all these scenarios but the main goal here is to just give a few thoughts and options to consider. Most importantly tho, it’s your day. And your schedule and your timeline. You need to love your day and remember it for being perfect.
To close this ramble, here’s what I will say. Work with your photographer and DJ to come up with the timeline that will fit your needs and your dream because we are here for you!
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