A guide to your wedding photography:
Please keep in mind, this is just a guide and of course can be re-arranged! It is put together to help you think through the timing of moving from one place to the next and to make sure we can capture all the significant parts of the day that are on your mind as well as the small details that otherwise may pass us by!
So, I definitely don’t want to overwhelm you with a massive email so I created this post to help you through the timeline process. I promise this information will be worth it in the end! I just want to make sure I explain everything really clearly so that we’re 100% on the same page when it comes to the timeline and the amount of images, etc. 80% of my weddings have an INCREDIBLE amount of fun portraits that you may see because they opted for a first look. Below you will see a “sample timeline” that will show you about how much time is needed.
Below you will see what the *ideal* allotments of time is for each portion of the day! These are just ideal, and you can change them as you please, just know that it does alter how many photos from each category you will receive. This timeline also does not amount to 8 hours, so there should be plenty of “flex time” that I can help you work with!
Here is a suggested timeline (with first look):
12:30ish Heather begins with details and the bride getting ready! (90 min) Second Shooter (if hired) will be with the men 2:00 The Dress is on, take a few fun bridal shots :) (30 min) 2:30 First Look privately! and then the B&G’s romantic portraits! (60 min or longer if you want to drive to a neat location nearby!) 3:30 All bridal party portraits (30 min) 4:00 Groomsmen usher early guests / bride touches up makeup and goes into hiding! (If your reception is nearby I usally try to take this time to run and get shots of the “empty but fully decorated room” They are stunning but if I can’t accomplish this during this time, I will attempt to do it RIGHT before everyone arrives at the reception venue. 4:30pm Ceremony 5:00 Family formals (20-30 min depending on number of shots requested and this is actually suggested to go BEFORE the ceremony if time allows) 5:30 A few more romantic portraits for the newlyweds! – 20 min (This also can be accomplished most effectively during the reception when I can snag you two quickly to hit the beautiful sunset light! Please try to allow for 15 min away from the reception and letting your planner know ahead of time, if you wish to obtain those beautifully “glowly light photos” Again, these usually happen around Sunset time so summer weddings this may be later in the evening and the timing of this is totally flexible.) 5:30-6ish, The Party Begins and the B&G can be introduced immediately!
The rest of the evening I will be there to capture the events and your party!
Suggestions if you DO NOT want to do a “First Look”:
The couples that decided not to have a first look built in extra time in between their ceremony and reception to get all of their portraits accomplished. Their guests had to wait for a while but we were able to get everything done since they allowed time for me. I will do all your separate bridal party portraits before the ceremony so that I can get as much done as possible.
So the options are to either do a first look or promise your photographer we’ll have ample time to get everything accomplished after the ceremony. For my typical 8 hour package I usually recommend a timeframe of 12pm-8pm or 1-9pm but of course this can be adjusted according to your venue and ceremony start time.
If you are considering not having a first look, please make sure to leave at minimum an hour to an hour and a half after your ceremony for Family Formals, Bridal Party Portraits, and your special Bride and Groom portraits! Trust me when I say I want you to be able to spend AS MUCH time with your guests as possible and the least amount of time with me BUT doing a First look will help eliminate quite a bit of that time crunch stress!
FAMILY FORMALS: Family formals do not have to take over 20 minutes. However, this is only possible if we are organized beforehand! Please select at least ten different groupings for family photos. For example: 1. Bride and groom with parents. 2. Bride and Groom with grandparents. 3. Bride and Groom with siblings so on and so forth. You will see these options available on your shot list questionnaire.
Within these groupings, you can have more than one shot (ex. B&G with Grooms parents, B&G with Brides Parents, etc.) If you have a very large family and more than 10 group photos, I suggest saving some of the extended family shots until the reception so that family portrait time will not interfere with your romantic portraits and you will not keep your guests waiting at the reception. Please make note of these shots on your questionnaire under the "family or friend photos during the reception" question. Also, please inform me of any family members that may not get along and/or may not want to be grouped with a certain other family members so that we can avoid and awkward interactions during family formals. This is also another fill in the blank on the questionnaire for you to fill out.
I hope this helps in the process of creating your timeline and knowing what I might need in terms of time to capture the day as BEST I can! As usual, PLEASE feel free to let me know if you have any questions and HOW I can help!