Check out the above schedule if you haven't got a gameplan down already! While there's no need to stick to it perfectly, it's a good rule of thumb for a lot of things! Timing can sometimes be tricky for planning a wedding under a year. Try and knock things out from the timeline above to avoid some hassles down the road! Right click, save as, and go kick ass.
More often than not, I get questions about the timing on the day of. Although I'm not a wedding coordinator, hopefully I can answer some of your questions ahead of time in regards to what timeframes I will need on my end.
I'd suggest starting to get ready no later than 9am just to be safe. Sometimes in the past where I've seen where the bride start getting ready after 10am, the girls have ran into some timing issues. Better to have too much time than not enough!
Ideally, first looks are no less than 45 minutes if we're doing one. This allows you two to relax, enjoy each other's company, and for us all to take some AMAZING portraits before everything kicks off. It also gives you a little bit of a buffer on time if we're behind.
Starting the big day
What you can expect from me
I'm going to get there early, and most likely starting my day with the bride so I can grab the details from her! If you're the bride, you can totally relax during this part! I'm just there to photograph details, so you can keep relaxing and enjoying your morning coffee. I wont photograph you until you're ready.
I'll be bouncing around all over the place, depending on the timeline you have for the day. The guys will only really take about 25 minutes to photograph getting ready (the luxury of being a dude, right?), so having them get ready while you're still getting your hair done, or in the early stages of makeup, can really streamline our photo taking process. I pop over to them while you're not ready, catch them giving GQ a run for it's money, and then bam, I'm back to you right in time for final makeup touches and getting into the dress!
Details Details DETAILS
Have The Dress, Shoes, Invites, Vows, Brochures, And Rings All Together, With The Bride.
This ones big!
I’m going to show up a little early for details. When I do, I’ll be overly happy, energized, and ready to take photos of anything and everything. Set me loose on the details so you can sit and enjoy your morning coffee in peace.
It’s no secret, your friends and family are going to want to take ALL the photos of you both all day long! Duh, who wouldn’t?! I WANT them to, and will happily encourage everyone to!
The only time I’d suggest they don’t is during the ceremony. Here’s why: This is the pinnacle moment of the whole day. Shoot, your story together. You’ve brought me into your lives to capture this moment, and to give everyone else a chance to relax and celebrate with you. You don’t want to look out into a sea of faces behind cell phones. You want to see their tears, their emotion, celebrating with you. So do I! I don’t want to photograph a bunch of faces behind the latest iPhone, or worse, have to break out some ninja moves to dodge that one aunt who decides to step right into the aisle to get a photo of you both kissing at the altar.
Seeing each other for the first time, and portraits.
When it comes time to see each other and take your portraits, this is really the time I'd love for us to just set aside all interruptions and distractions. Family members, or friends in the wedding party sometimes don't think much about coming into our little moment crafted for you two and interrupting us with questions or concerns about some other aspect of the day. We're taking about 30 short minutes to an hour to really just breathe, step away from the day, and focus on you two. For you to see each other. Share your joys, and create your memories that will hang on the walls of your home for years to come. Plus, you've invested good money to have me there! Whatever they need will work out, it always does. Stay focused with me!
Do extra special things for each other! Write private letters to each other, things you wouldn't want to say in front of everyone else during your vows. Is someone a musician? Play a song for the other. Pray together. Share an extra special, unique moment with each other. Not only is it meaningful, but can lead to some POWERFUL emotional images for you both to have.
Plan on this timeframe being 30 minutes to an hour.
Family photos take about 30 minutes to 45 minutes, depending on how organized everyone is. Having a list written out ahead of time with groupings can help A LOT! It’s always helpful to your timeframe to keep it to around 8-12 groups, otherwise we might get bogged down and fall behind. Family photos can get carried away with everyone wanting to pile into the action! I suggest letting all immediate family members know ahead of time to be prepared, and ready for photos. This avoids any miscommunication or people being late!
“What if we’re doing family photos after the ceremony?”
Having the officiant make an announcement for family to stick around for photos after you two get done running down the aisle will keep everyone in place and avoid us having to track people down! Plan for this being about 45 minutes just to be safe.
Other random tips
-First and foremost, DON’T OVERTHINK! This is the best time of your life! Relax! Let your team worry about the details!
-Create a Playlist That You Can Totally Jam To In The Morning
Awesome tunes will keep you having fun and relaxed while you’re getting ready! Keep the good vibes going!
-Getting into your dress
This one will come in handy! Have whoever is helping the bride into her dress, be the VERY next person ready after she is, if not ready ahead of time! I can’t tell you how many weddings I’ve been apart of, where the bride is looking AMAZING, and ready to put her dress on!.. But the hair or makeup artist’s haven’t even started on whoever is helping her into her dress! Whether its your mom, sister, or best friend.. Having a chat with your HMUA ahead of time and making sure you don’t run into this issue can save you some time and stress!
90% of the time when wedding parties are getting ready, things EXPLODE everywhere.. Makeup, bags, shoes, you name it! Somehow, usually in the most photogenic spots. No one wants a ton of clutter in their photos! Having a corner of the getting ready area where everyone can keep their things not only creates photos that are tidy, when it comes time for you to have your getting ready photos, we don’t have to move half the room beforehand!
-Try and Have the Guys Get Ready Earlier
It’s no secret, we guys get ready in about 15 minutes for any occasion. We don’t really do much, and that’s a convenience we can totally exploit to our advantage! Having the guys get ready a smidge earlier while you’re in the early stages of makeup / hair can ensure I get all their photos out of the way first, and am then back in the room with you through the final stages of makeup and putting on your dress. If it works for your timeline, I totally suggest trying this out!
-Have cozy shoes for our shoot!
When we go out for photos, we’ll probably be walking around a bit. Maybe on a beach, maybe in the grass or on a hillside. Who knows! Have some nikes, toms, or whatever shoes you’re comfy in so you’re not trying to navigate hills or sand in heels! We can always take them off and go barefoot once we get where we’re going, or you can put your heels back on!
No one wants photos when they’re hangry! You’re going to spend all morning getting ready, thinking about the day ahead, sometimes couples forget to eat! Feed yourself! .. Maybe have a mimosa or two! If you’re hungry during your photos, you’ll spend most of the session thinking about that delicious food waiting or you after you’re done, rather than falling into the amazing moment we’re working together to create. I’ll probably have snacks too, so don’t be afraid to ask!
Hold that kiss at the altar for a good three seconds. I’ll be right in the aisle with you, and it gives me a chance to really make sure I NAIL the shot. I’m quick, but guests move in the excitement! Sometimes, into the middle of my shot! This gives me a chance to react to anything unexpected! Once you come back down the aisle, taking things slow and celebrating on your way down gives more opportunity for photos! But if you feel like running, do it!!
-Let Out That Emotion, Don’t Be Afraid!
Revel in the day! Throw that fist up in the air when you kiss her at the altar, or dip her! Cling to his arm extra tight when you feel like it! Pick her up and give her a deep kiss in the sparklers and the end of your night! Clap, cheer, high five people, hug everyone, just soak up the fact that everything you’ve been through together has brought you here. YOU DID IT! This is your day TOGETHER!
Planning something personal for your soon to be spouse? Got him something cool? Wrote a letter for her to read? LET ME KNOW BEFORE! While I’ll be your shadow for the whole day capturing everything I can, the more I know about any extra special gestures you have in mind, the better prepared I can be. Shoot, I might even have found a perfectly photogenic spot lined up to have the moment in! We’re a team! Let’s create this magic together!
-Have A Drink
If nothing else, before the photos. It’ll help take the edge off. I want you RELAXED!
-Plan For Plot Twists
It’s totally a common thing for weddings to run a little off schedule! .. And that’s completely fine!! Everyone is so happy just to be able to celebrate with you two, and I’m sure there’s one or two married guests in attendance who know how it goes already! There’s a lot of moving pieces, and you’d have to be superhuman to keep everything perfectly in line! So don’t overthink! Over plan some of your time frames to be able to finish things early, and keep yourself on track.
-The More You Give Me, The More I Can Give You
Remember I mentioned over planning time frames? Like, two sentences ago? Over plan on my end. The photos will feel more relaxed because we have an abundance of time. Not only that, it will allow me to give you that time back and put you back on schedule if we’re behind. Additionally, if we’re having an amazing time together and snapping some terrific photographs of you two, we’re not on a crunch for time. We can enjoy ourselves and get things right! Rushed photos show.
Have other people take care of things for you! This will take so much stress off your shoulders, allowing you to relax and enjoy the day! Additionally, enlist your maid of honor and best man to be the one to round up family members for photos. I’d love to know your family so well, I know who is who. Unfortunately, I don’t! Having someone on the inside who can round everyone up makes family photos go much smoother, and gets you back to the party!
Lastly, this is YOUR DAY. Read that again! It’s YOURS. This is YOUR STORY. You planned this! Love the day, and life you two created with each other, and do whatever you want. All of the above are just my suggestions to attempt to help. Take them with a grain of salt! You live this day out however you two want. We’re all along for the ride and ready to celebrate with you every step of the way!
Just a recap..
Don't feel the need to overthink how much time is required for photos on my end. I'm so happy to go along with your vision for the day, and will happily work around whatever I need to. I've outline everything for you above, but incase your still fuzzy on anything, here's the cliff notes for everything we've gone over.
1 Hour: First looks AND portraits
30 - 45 minutes for family photos
1.5 hours for all of the above in one session. You're welcome to cut this timeframe down if you need to, just understand that creative work takes time.
Have the details with the bride in the morning, she's my first stop 99% of the time. Dress, shoes, invites, vows, brochures, and both sets of rings.