To my clients, I am more than “just a photographer”, I am their friend and someone they trust when they need help. I've been told I go above and beyond my job as a photographer (as quoted from my past bride, Maddy)!
As a wedding photographer, I love to capture the whole wedding day from start to finish. In order to do this, however, a wedding timeline must be created and followed as closely as possible! As part of The Wedding Experience, I offer timeline assistance! I generally reach out to my clients about 1-2 months prior to their wedding to discuss the timeline and customize it to suit both of our needs. Why do I do this? Because I want to make sure your day is as stress-free as possible, and I want to make sure I have enough time to capture all that needs to be captured!
I have included below the average time I need in order to capture each portion of your wedding day. I’d also like to add that each person’s wedding is unique and I know these times won’t fit everyone’s wedding. When I work with you on your timeline, communication is important!
I will need approximately 1 hour to capture the details (rings, stationery, shoes, etc.), and the getting ready photos. I like to arrive at the getting ready space when the bride is almost finished hair and makeup.
I love capturing the bride in her dress, and so, I will need approximately 45 minutes! Some dresses take a while to get put on, some dresses can be put on within 2 minutes. However, 45 minutes gives me the time I need to capture the bride in her dress. It also allows me to have extra time to capture the bride’s mom (or special someone) helping button, zip, or lace up the dress!
Most of my couples opt for a first look! They understand that if they want an abundance of gorgeous portraits together, they should have a first look! It’s the perfect opportunity to have some private/quiet time together before the ceremony and before they are surrounded by family and friends for the rest of the day! Opting for a first look also means my couples will have the chance to join their guests at cocktail hour after the ceremony! A first look is usually around 30 minutes.
After the first look is when I like to start bridal party portraits. Depending on the size of the party, this can take 20-30 minutes! I like to capture just the bridesmaids, just the groomsmen, everyone together, and individual party members with the bride and groom separately.
When I work with my couples on their wedding timeline, I always suggest leaving room for me to travel to the ceremony location to capture it untouched and without any guests in the photos. I usually like to arrive to the ceremony location about 30 minutes before guests are set to arrive. It normally takes me about 15 minutes to capture the “untouched ceremony”. If a second shooter is purchased, they will be the ones capturing the untouched ceremony.
If the timeline is flowing smoothly, the bride will arrive to the venue on time or a little bit early. This is the perfect chance to capture some “in hiding” photos. If a second shooter has been purchased, they will be photographing the untouched reception area (if it is close by) at this time. This should take no more than 15 minutes.
Each wedding is different, and for this reason, the length of the ceremony may vary. I’ve seen some ceremonies last 15 minutes, some last 1 hour. This is completely up to the bride and groom!
I have made it my mission to capture family formals as fast and efficiently as possible. They should not take up a huge chunk of your wedding day. After all – the gorgeous golden hour glow for Bride and Groom portraits has to be taken advantage before it disappears! For this reason, family formals should not exceed 30 minutes. I like to send my couples a family formal shot list prior to the wedding day!
Just like the first look, I love having 30 minutes with my couple (if the light is pretty) after the ceremony to capture those “just married” emotions! My goal is to offer my couples some variety from the portraits we took during the first look. The couple can then go and join their guests at cocktail hour!
This is when the wedding party enters the reception. Sometimes they like to do a fun little jig as the DJ announces everyone! These photos are meant to be fun and candid! Once everyone is introduced and sat down, dinner is usually served.
Normally, the bride and groom are served dinner first at the reception which means they are finished eating first. Once they have finished their meal, I like to steal them away for about 15-20 mintes for golden hour portraits!
The timing for this part of a wedding day can vary because it depends if the couple is doing any kind of “exit” from their party. If they are, I usually stay until the end of the exit. Let’s be honest, couples don’t really need a lot of photos of their guests dancing at their wedding!
I hope this post is helpful for you when it comes to thinking about your wedding timeline and how much time your photographer may need for each portion of your day! If this has been helpful to you, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below! You may also reach out to me if you have any questions!
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