One of my wedding mantras is it that every couple's chemistry is different, and that mix of energy is what makes each wedding a fresh, new experience (see my wedding philosophy). But over the years I've learned quite a bit of what makes a wedding timeline work well for photographs, and what doesn't. Your wedding timeline affects the kind of photographs I'm able to take, and strongly influences how you feel on your wedding day. So here is my super low-stress timeline that I've found helps for a relaxed day and easy, joyful portraits.
12:00 getting ready & details (the couple) 1:00 dress on, final touches 2:00 first look 2:15 couple portraits 2:30 wedding party portraits 3:00 ceremony 4:00 family formals 4:30 couples portraits (perfect light!) 5:00 entrance into reception/cocktail hour
What this timeline does for you:
- GETTING READY allows for hair and make-up to finish, for capturing meaningful details, and for you to warm up to being photographed.
- That extra time for getting the DRESS ON & FINAL TOUCHES allows you to gather yourself and for your attendants to relax and enjoy being with you.
- Doing a FIRST LOOK & COUPLE PORTRAITS before the ceremony lets you live in the moment with the love of your life, and to catch a breath before the roller coaster begins.
- Taking the WEDDING PARTY PORTRAITS ahead of the ceremony means you're catching everyone right when their hair, makeup, and duds are at their best. You're also ahead of portrait rush, meaning you have time to have fun with it.
- Giving the CEREMONY extra time makes room for the crowd to enter and exit.
- And all of this puts us in a great place for the FAMILY FORMALS, which will go smoothly with my helpful wedding day family portrait flow.
- After the family's gone, we can snag some COUPLES PORTRAITS again, but this time in beautiful afternoon light.
- Which brings us to your ENTRANCE -- party time!
Now, a lot of things will change this timeline, and as we've already established, every wedding is different, so I always ask for more details, like so:
- Is the couple getting ready at the same location, or at separate locations?
- How much travel time do we need to allow between locations?
- Do you value the surprise of seeing each other for the first time at the ceremony?
- Will you be doing a receiving line?
- Approximately how long is your ceremony?
- Are there any time or mobility restrictions that may affect the fabulous family formals?
So some wedding timelines will stretch longer, and others may even shorten! Even the number of guests in attendance will change how quickly everyone moves from one thing to the next. So don't let someone else's idea of what your wedding is like dictate your timeline. Get down in to the nitty gritty details, and work with your photographer to make a timeline that fits your day.
And most important of all: No matter what happens, at the end of the day you'll be married, and that's what matters.