Planning your wedding day timeline can seem like a daunting task, but it’s important to try to work out a rough running order from early in the planning stages so that you’ll know how long you need to plan for each stage, and also how long you might want to book your wedding photographer for.
It is true, especially so on a wedding day, that women need more time than men to get ready. Whilst the groom usually doesn’t need time for hair and makeup, and can most likely put on his suit in the space of around 5 minutes, it’s great to plan time so that your photographer can spend at least 30 minutes with him and the boys.
The girls are a different kettle of fish. Not only are you likely to be spending a few hours alone on hair and makeup, you’ll also have all of the smaller details around that you’ll probably want capturing, such as your dress, shoes and jewellery. It’s the moments like your mum or your friends helping you get in to your dress that you’ll also not want to miss. Having your photographer there for around the last 60-90 minutes of getting ready is ideal.
Don’t forget to calculate the time taken to travel between your venues. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that while you might be travelling in a chauffeur-driven wedding car for the day, unless you’ve arranged transport for your guests too, they may still need to drive, meaning they’ll need to have time to get to their cars and to find parking if there is not enough at the venue. Also remember to factor in traffic depending on the time of day and your location. The groom, groomsmen and the photographer will usually want to be the first to arrive at the ceremony venue so they will need to leave earlier than the bridal party.
The average ceremony lasts between 20-40 minutes depending if you are having a civil service or a full Catholic mass. However, it’s useful to schedule in 1 hour for the whole ceremony, as things don’t always start on time, and often people like to gather outside afterwards to chat, congratulate the couple and throw confetti.
It is really important that you schedule enough time for your bride and groom portraits. Even though most photographers will be able to give you some nice pictures with even just 30 minutes of time to shoot, allowing 60-90 minutes time will get you the best result. Firstly it means you’ll be able to go somewhere private, away from all of the watching eyes of your guests. Secondly, you’ll have the time to get used to being photographed. At first it usually feels a bit awkward and uncomfortable, but giving yourself more time means that by the end you’ll have relaxed in to it and you’ll probably be having a bit of fun too. It also means you’re free to wander about and maybe try a couple of different locations.
Even though a lot of couples these days are not that interested in having the posed family group photos, many parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles will expect a family picture for the mantlepiece.
I wouldn’t recommend more than 8 different combinations, as each group photo can take up to 5 minutes when you factor in gathering up the required people and arranging them for the shot. To save time on the day, it’s best to have already sent your photographer a list of the group shots that you want, and appointed a member of the bridal party to gather everyone up when the time comes.
Wedding receptions come in many different shapes and sizes, and they are the perfect places to get pictures of your friends and family having a great time. Sometimes you’ll start with a drinks reception, you might cut a cake, they’ll possibly be speeches and perhaps a first dance. You’ll probably also eat something too and finish by dancing the night away. Whilst your photographer may not take many pictures during the time when people are eating, since nobody wants a picture of them with a mouth full of food, you may still want them to hang around for the speeches, cake cutting, or your first dance. If the budget is tight and keeping your photographer for an extra 2 hours just to get the first dance photos isn’t an option, consider changing up the order of the evening. There are no rules that say you can’t cut the cake or have your first dance before dinner.
A GRAND EXIT
If you’re planning a grand firework display or a sparkler exit, you’ll probably want your photographer there for that moment too, so think about what time in the evening that will happen.
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