How to: Craft the Perfect Wedding Day Schedule
Ideal Wedding Day Timeline
The pace of your schedule can make or break your wedding day. If you pack things too closely, everything can feel rushed and stressed out. If you spread out the day too much, then people can get bored and lose momentum (stressed again).
From hundreds of weddings that we have photographed, we have come up with the perfect wedding day schedule! We will talk you through some timeline tips for the day and what you can expect from your photographers.
getting ready: girls: 2-3 hours, guys: 20 minutes
I know, it is not fair. Girls typically take two to three hours to get hair and makeup on. Of course, this depends on your stylist and how many girls that you have. You want to make sure that you tell your stylist that everyone needs to be completely ready one hour before you need to leave for your first look or for the ceremony.
We have found that the ladies typically don’t want cameras in their faces before their makeup is on, so we tend to come part way through the getting ready process. Usually I come in and take care of the girls while Brian gets the detail shots.
Make sure that you have your details ready! This includes:
-Rings: Make sure all the rings have been cleaned. You are going to hate me for saying this, but it is usually better if you don’t wear them after they are cleaned
-Dress: If it needs to be ironed/steamed, do that the night before if possible!
After a while, we will head over to the guys, depending on whether they are getting ready on location or somewhere different. As unfair as it is, the guys usually only need 15-20 minutes to get ready. We like to get the guys getting ready, as well as any shots of them goofing off!
Once all of hair and makeup are ready with the girls, we will get the images of you putting on your dress. There are usually some great emotional moments with loved ones here as you are putting on your dress, getting it laced up, putting on jewelry, putting on shoes, and maybe putting on a veil. It always starts to feel like it is really happening when you put on your dress!
first look and formal portraits: 1-2.5 hours + travel time
After getting ready you get to see your soon-to-be spouse!
We highly recommend that couples have a first look! A first look is an intimate moment when the bride and groom get to see each other and experience the emotions of the wedding day as a couple.
The first look usually takes 15 minutes and then we get into formal portraits.
Formal Portraits last a minimum of 45 minutes, but we like to 90 minutes to 2 hours to really craft epic photos for you guys. We want the time to take advantage of beautiful situations and beautiful light.
Some couples forget to factor in travel time to their formal portraits! The timing guides are for time spent taking pictures - travel time has to be added to that.
ceremony: 15-90 minutes + arrival 30 minute beforehand
We highly recommend that our couples show up at their ceremony site at least half an hour before the ceremony starts. We don’t want people to feel rushed in getting to the ceremony.
We have found that guests in our area tend to show up 30 minutes before the ceremony starts, so it is best if the bride is tucked away at that point and the groom and groomsmen are out mingling with guests as they arrive.
receiving line: usually 45 minutes
You might choose to have a receiving line after the ceremony. We recommend caution with a receiving line, as it tends to eat into portrait times. We recommend that you talk to all of you guests table by table during dinner.
family portraits: 8-12 minutes after family is assembled
The longest part of family portraits is assembling everyone! The secret for having everyone show up for family portraits right after the ceremony is telling them at least three times before the ceremony. This makes it less stressful for everyone!
bridal party portraits: 15-30 minutes + travel time
After the ceremony, there is the opportunity for some spectacular bridal party portraits! We like to craft at least one epic picture for you guys!
If you don’t do a first look, formal portraits would happen right after the bridal party portraits.
Now it’s time for the reception!
You still should consider your timing for your reception. Grandma might have an 8pm bedtime and miss out on some of the events.
We recommend that you do your cake cutting and toasts on the front end of the ceremony, immediately after being announced by the DJ. If you cake cutting and toasts right at the beginning, then people aren’t at the bathroom or the bar, have a higher energy, and are really engaged.
Then comes dinner, first dances, and an awesome party!
During the reception, we might ask to pull you out for a couple of night shots! We love to steal you away for 15 minutes to get a sunset shot if the sky is colorful! This is also a nice minute to catch your breath, relax, and cool down before diving right back into the party!
Also, depending on timing and location, we like to grab couples for 5 minutes once it is dark for a night shot. For these, we have everything set up so that you just slip out of your party and back in again!
turnaround with image
After your wedding day, we come back to our studio and edit your photos! Our turnaround time is within two months, but we typically get images back to our couples before then!