Planning Your Wedding Timeline
You've probably invested an incredible amount of time in selecting your beautiful wedding dress, your exquisite table centrepieces, visiting & booking venues and making decisions on fonts for your invitations. So many choices and selections to make!
As your special day gets a little closer it is really important to plan out the wedding timeline so that everything runs as smoothly as possible and you genuinely get to enjoy your day without feeling stressed and rushed. This is an area that I work with brides & grooms in the months leading up to the wedding so that we can try to achieve a good flow and plenty of time to get those stunning photographs. Time can really slip away in many areas of the day which can minimise available opportunities for creative portraits.
Let's start at the beginning - 'Getting Ready'
I love this part of the day, so many gorgeous moments - the excitement and anticipation, the laughter and joyful tears. Love it! Generally we allow between: - 1hr to 1.5hrs for the Groom (photographed by my second shooter) - 1.5hrs for the Bride (photographed by me)
It is important to note in this section that the bride and mother of the bride should never be last in the hair & makeup order and I usually advise that the bride gives the hair & makup artists a finish time of at least 30-45mins prior to when we actually need them to be (this is one of those areas where time can slip away). If for example I am arriving at 12pm and leaving for the ceremony at 1.45pm, it would be best if hair & makeup can be finished no later than 12.30pm (therefore giving hair & makup a finish time of 12.00pm). If this can run to time it allows a smooth & calm lead in to the bridemaids helping the bride getting dressed, moments with her parents, beauty portraits and lots of candid captures. The photographers also need to be leaving for the ceremony at least 30minutes prior to the bridal party to ensure parking, setting up and getting images of guests arriving etc.
The Vows - 'Ceremony'
Time frame here depends on the type of ceremony (celebrant or church) and can range from 20mins to 1hr. There are a few factors and considerations with the ceremony - you can potentially ask the celebrant to announce an 'unplugged' ceremony and if people can remain out of the aisle. Many times we have encountered well meaning guests leaning into the aisle with their ipads/phones/cameras which can sometimes block our line of view. It is just something to think about. We can meet on location prior to the day and discuss the best position 'light wise' for your arbour to be setup or where you will stand to minimise squinting when saying your vows.
After you have been announced 'husband & wife' and the register has been signed, the hugging & congratulations begin - this is a wonderful time and we encourage at least 15-20mins be factored in to allow for this, depending on the number of guests.
Generally family formals are taken in the same location as the ceremony (or very nearby). I encourage clients to make a list of family formals shots that they wish to achieve and this will be used on the day to try to make sure that we have an order which will help greatly in moving these along quickly. This is another of those areas where time can be lost very easily - especially if people have wandered off. Depending on how many formal shots you require, on average we allow between 20mins to 30mins. If you have your heart set on a large group shot, you will need to allow extra time to set this up and organise the guests.
Bridal Party & Creative Shots
This is when everyone can relax, breathe, have a glass of wine and we can create some really beautiful images. I genuinely believe you need to allow at least 1.5hrs of shooting time on location (without travel time) to maximise and achieve plenty of variety and a wonderful selection of creative photographs. If there is more than one location and travelling involved, this will need to be factored in. Google maps is great for working out travelling time between locations, however what is often not considered is the time it takes to get everyone in and out of the limo at each location and walking to the exact spot on the beach/park/city where the images are to be taken. We really do understand that everyone is keen to get to the reception and start to party and celebrate - so we try to make this section of the day fun, with lots of flow posing (walking & interacting) so that it doesn't feel too awkward & posed. Plus you get to hug & kiss alot, how can that not be fun!
Several factors can affect your reception start time (or the actual time that the bridal party are announced). The time of year is a big consideration - photographers will be wanting to photograph the bridal party & creative shots leading up to sunset and possibly up to 20 mins after for the best possible light (it's when it is the softest and prettiest).
Average Sunset Times in Perth - Sept (6.00pm - 6.17pm) - Oct (6.18pm - 6.40pm) - Nov (6.41pm - 7.07pm) - Dec (7.08pm - 7.26pm) - Jan (7.19pm - 7.26pm) - Feb (6.52pm - 7.19pm) - Mar (6.14pm - 6.51pm) - Apr (5.39pm - 6.12pm)
This can obviously have a big impact on reception times. Often brides & grooms have their guests eating canapes & sipping on champagne whilst they are off getting their creative bridal party images taken so that there is not too much of a gap felt by the family & guests. However if your reception has beautiful surroundings/grounds it is possible with a mid summer wedding where the sun may not be setting until 7.25pm, to start your reception at an earlier time and the bride & groom can sneak out for 15-20mins to capture some sunset images.
To maximise the photographers time at the reception (especially if we are only there for the first hour), there are some small tips that can be very helpful. We have had brides & grooms head directly to the dance floor for their first dance straight after arriving (being announced) at the reception. This works really well and enables us to capture the first dance which often doesn't happen until after the speeches. It also gets a great vibe going in the room from the very beginning.
An Example Time Line
12.30pm-2:00pm | Getting Ready Photos
(Travel to Ceremony Location & Photographing Ceremony Setup, Groom Waiting, Guests Arriving)
3.00pm-3.30om | Ceremony
3.30pm-3.45pm | Congratulations
3.45pm - 4.15pm | Family Formals
(Travel to Bridal Party Photo Location)
4.30pm - 6.00pm | Bridal Party Photos
(Travel to Reception + Photographers Set Up in Reception)
6.30pm - 7.30pm | Reception Coverage (First Dance & Mock Cake Cutting)
*Timeline is dependant on distances between locations & parking options.
Hopefully this will be helpful to brides who are planning out their special day! If you wish to enquire about the availability of dates or would like to discuss the photography for your upcoming wedding please contact me - I would love to chat!