I have one regret from my own wedding day. For months, I had been dreaming about the gorgeous photos my photographer would get of my new husband and I in the quaint 50’s style small town we got married in. I had visions of photos under the marquee of the one screen movie theater. I had visions of photos of us by the lake in the center of town. I had visions of photos of us underneath the Spanish Moss covered trees in the park. The one thing I forgot to plan for? Sunset. My ceremony was scheduled to start at 5:00 pm, which meant it actually started at 5:20 pm. In November. By the time our ceremony had finished and we had taken all of the wedding party and family portraits, the sun had set, and gone were the images I had been counting on for months. Why do I tell you this? So you know that you have to take things like the time of sunset into consideration when planning your timeline.
1) Will You be Doing a First Look?
A first look is when you let your groom see you before the ceremony. Often, the bride reveals herself to the groom in all her wedding dress glory in a private moment (captured by the photographer) before the wedding. Then, the bride and groom portraits are taken before the ceremony. If you choose to do a first look, you will need to make sure that you are completely done with hair and makeup in time, so your ceremony might start later. If you will not be doing a first look, you will need to schedule your ceremony earlier and leave enough time for family, wedding party, and bride and groom portraits (one to one and a half hours) between the end of the ceremony and the start of the reception. Don’t forget about travel time between venues!
2) Are Your Ceremony and Reception at the Same Venue?
In a dream world, most photographers would like one hour for portraits, 30 minutes for family and wedding party portraits and 30 minutes for bride and groom portraits. If your reception is 20 minutes away from your ceremony site, you might want to consider doing a First Look so that you can get some of the portraits done before the ceremony. Guests can get very hungry, or even hangry, if the cocktail “hour” goes on for more than an hour, especially if your ceremony will be a longer one. Make sure to schedule enough time for all portraits and travel time.
3) You Have to Eat!
A lot of brides, myself included, have so much scheduled the morning of (hair, makeup, nails) that it’s easy to forget to eat breakfast and lunch. Make sure to allow yourself enough time to eat something. You don’t want to faint on your wedding day! If you get to the ceremony and you haven’t eaten all day, there’s a good chance that you will be lightheaded and wobbly when it comes time to walk down the aisle.
4) How Many Hours of Photography are Covered in Your Wedding Package?
If you only booked your photographer for 6 hours, will they be there to capture things that happen toward the end of the night, such as the bouquet toss or the grand exit? If not, you might consider doing your grand exit from the ceremony instead of the reception. You may also consider cutting the cake earlier in the evening. Keep in mind that most photographers allow you to purchase an additional hour of coverage a la carte.
5) Everything Will Take Longer than you Think
Make sure to schedule in buffers between every activity for the day. If you think your hair appointment will end at 11:00 am, and it’s a 20-minute drive to the ceremony site, where you will be meeting your makeup artist, don’t schedule your makeup artist to be there at 11:20! Schedule the makeup artist to meet you at 11:40. Give yourself a little bit of extra time for everything. Trust me, you’ll be much less stressed.
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