Example Wedding Day Schedule.

This is the most important part of what I do! Making sure you plan enough time for your photos is essential in getting great photos and that’s the reason you hired me. Please read my post about the decision to see each other or not, HERE. At this time I want to share with you some practical tips for getting the most out of your wedding day.

  • I typically show up 1-1.5 hours ahead of time for the getting ready photos. This allows time to capture detail shots of the dress, shoes, flowers, invitations, and (of course, the action going on). At this point you should be 90% ready, which means makeup and hair are in the final stages.  This means you were the first to have your hair and makeup done so that I can come in and capture the finishing up photos. Also, when you are the first person done this means you are on schedule to be ready for putting your dress on and seeing your man for the first time (or not). If you are the last to get ready, what tends to happen is the makeup artist or hair person (sometimes) causes the schedule to get squeezed because they take more time on your because you are the last person getting ready. That is why it is important to share your schedule with your other vendors, family and everybody involved in your day. The more they know about your schedule the less stressed you have to be about your day.
  • Be sure to communicate your schedule with your makeup and hair vendors. I love them to death but these are the few vendors that cause your schedule to get be late, which in turn cases you to be stressed.
  • The bride and groom portraits normally take approximately 45 mins (including first look and travel time). Are you seeing each other for the First-Look (at least consider it and read about it, HERE)?
  • Bridal party and family portrait session normally take approximately 45 mins.  (this can vary if there is a smaller amount of people).
  • Don’t forget about time to record the details. Your schedule needs to allow time for me to be able to get to your reception and have a little bit of time in the venue before everybody is invited in. I typically spend 15 mins in the reception hall before anybody else is in the room.
  • Once the reception starts, I typically will stay 2.5-3 hours. This is enough time for the toast, the first dance, and cake cutting to happen. Then I get to be there to capture a bit of dancing to complete the story of your day.
  • I typically don’t stay until the end of the night. Once the DJ or Band gets people on the dance floor, I can take photos for 45 mins. and be set. At some point all of these photos begin to look the same. Be sure I get some of you and your honey on the dance floor though!

I cannot stress enough the need to give yourself adequate time to relax a bit in front of the camera to capture one of the most important days of your life. The bride and groom portraits are the photos you will look back on the most. Keep this in mind! Here are two example of what a normal wedding day schedule should look like:

ONE. You see each other before the ceremony, which I highly suggest.

* 12:00                I arrive. (I like to arrive just as the bride finishes up getting ready.)
* 12:00-1:15       Bride and Groom getting ready shots.
* 01:15-1:30       Bride into dress.
* 01:30-2:30       Bride and Groom Portraits (includes first look and travel time.)
* 02:30-3:15       Family Portraits and Bridal Party Portraits. (this can be done after the ceremony as well.)
* 03:15-3:45       Ceremony prep. Break.
* 03:45-4:15       Ceremony.
* 04:15-4:30       Reception details. Late Window.
* 04:30-5:30       Cocktail hour. (Photographer is normally recording reception details during this time and then comes back to capture some candids.)
* 05:30                 Reception.

TWO. You don’t see each other.

* 12:00                  I arrive. (I like to arrive just as the bride finishes up getting ready.)
* 12:00-1:15        Bride and Groom getting ready shots.
* 01:15-1:30        Bride into dress.
* 01:30-2:00        Bride/Bridesmaids/Family Session. Groom/Groomsmen/Family Session.
* 02:00-2:30        Ceremony prep. Break.
* 02:30-3:00        Ceremony.
* 03:00-4:00        Bride and Groom Shoot. (Includes travel time.)
* 04:00-4:45        Family Portaits and Bridal Party Portraits.
* 05:00                 Cocktail hour.
* 04:45-5:15        Reception details. (I  typically miss the cocktail hour completely to record reception details.)
* 06:00                 Reception.

Other thoughts:

  • Travel time between venues.
  • Are you having a receiving line?
  • If you wait to see each other, the photographer typically misses the cocktail hour because of the need to record the details of the reception before all the guest go into the room.
  • How long does it take to get into your dress? Some dresses have taken a full half an hour to get into, this is something that needs to be mentioned to your photographer.

Sometimes a bride will schedule the Bride and Groom Portraits and Bridal Party Portraits at an offsite location before or after the wedding. This brings everybody together at the same place at the same time. Please know that these are all suggestions and everything is flexible.

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