How to optimize your wedding photography

with your wedding timeline

So you booked the photographer you have been dying to get! Now what? I am a big believer that when you are paying for something, that you should always get your money’s worth. You can do that by creating the perfect wedding timeline.

For those of you who know me, you know how much I appreciate quality and how I am a huge believer in getting your money’s worth when paying for a service. For example, the times we went to Disney, we open and close the parks, soaking up every minute of time there. When we go on other vacations, I love touring the property and using all the amenities that my family or I would enjoy. I eat leftovers because I don’t like to waste money and use what I have paid for. Your wedding should be the same way. Creating a timeline is the best way to optimize your day and your wedding day experience. If you want your wedding day to be truly documented then you must allow adequate time for those photos.

Most couples invest a lot of money and time in the following services and items for their wedding: a photographer, flowers, cake, reception details and decorations, a wedding gown, hair and makeup, a venue, etc. Wouldn’t it make sense to allow your photographer the time he or she needs to capture all those details you worked so hard on so when you look back at those photos you’ll remember all the details of your day perfectly?

Ok Brides, this is for you…. you will never feel as beautiful in your entire life as you do on your wedding day. The day you have dreamed of your entire life is finally here. It’s just a feeling that cannot be described. You will cherish portraits with your groom so much and those images will be a legacy for years to come. So, if you only take one thing away from this blog post, please make sure you allow plenty of time for just you and your spouse for portraits. Many times couples add this in with family formals or bridal party portraits and if you don’t stick to your timeline, then adequate time with your new spouse for portraits may never happen.

A first look with the bride and groom is a great way to accomplish this and is insurance that you will have the portraits you have dreamed of. I realize that not everyone is open to this idea, mainly because of tradition of not seeing the bride before the wedding. I do understand that, however, there are many benefits for couples who choose to do a first look ,but that’s a blog post of its own! I may be writing one of those soon.

Tips to Maximize your Wedding Day Photography:

  • book your photographer with adequate coverage time
  • hire a wedding planner or if that is not in your budget, perhaps you could recruit a family friend to be your coordinator to help keep things on track and running smoothly
  • Determining the time of day the ceremony should be and how much coverage you will have? If you are getting married in the summer, you may not want your ceremony in the harsh sun or perhaps you would like your portraits at golden hour. (that’s one hour before sunset). You would want to plan your timeline accordingly. But, if you are getting married in the winter, then perhaps you need a 3:00 ceremony in order to get your portraits and family formals done before the sun goes down.
  • Consider doing a first look with your spouse. Couples who do a first look generally have 50%-75% more portrait images with their new spouse. If you choose not to do a first look, then I recommend to plan at least 30 minutes or more to your family formal time and take your portraits while guests are dining at the reception or enjoying a cocktail hour.
  • Do you plan on having a long reception that you want photographed the entire time. Talk to your photographer about extending your photography coverage.

These are all things to consider and discuss with your photographer so they know what is important to you and can plan ahead for success!

Sample Timeline Including a First Look:

I would recommend the following timeline to a bride that has a 5pm wedding during spring/summer during daylight savings time. (This timeline covers 8 hours of photography coverage)

12:00 Bride getting ready (bridesmaids in robes, before bride gets dressed)

12:30 Detail shots (rings, invitation suite, dress)

1:00 Bride getting dressed (shots with mother and sisters and/or brothers)

1:30 Bride getting ready with bridesmaids (dressed)

2:00 Brides First look with Father (optional)

2:15 Groom getting ready (with his groomsmen)

2:45 First look with Bride & Groom (this is completely intimate with no spectators) A first look is like insurance that you will have plenty of portrait time with your groom. If things don’t go as planned or you have afternoon thunderstorms, this is just another opportunity to keep the day flowing and you still get your portrait time with your husband.

3:30 Bridal Party Portraits

4:00 Reception details

5:00 Ceremony Begins

5:30 Family Formals & a few Portraits of Bride and Groom

6:00 Reception Begins /Introductions

6:30 Toasts/ Cake

7:00 Party dancing

7:45 Controlled Exit

Sample Timeline Without a First Look

I would recommend the following timeline to a bride that has a 5pm wedding during spring/summer during daylight savings time. (This timeline covers 8 hours of photography coverage)

1:00 Bride getting ready (bridesmaids in robes, before bride gets dressed)

1:30 Detail shots (rings, invitation suite, dress)

2:00 Bride getting dressed (shots with mother and sisters and/or brothers)

2:30 Bride getting ready with bridesmaids (dressed)

3:00 Brides First look with Father (optional)

3:15 Groom getting ready (with his groomsmen)

4:00 Reception details

5:00 Ceremony Begins

5:30 Family Formals

6:00 Bridal Party Portraits

6:30 Portraits of Bride and Groom

7:00 Reception Begins /Introductions

7:30 Toasts/ Cake

8:00 Party dancing

8:45 Controlled Exit

Please remember, these are just my suggestions and recommendations. Timelines can always be altered to suit your individual needs. Thank for reading!

All the Best!

Laura

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