Celina gomez

weddings

Tips For Your Wedding Day Timeline

So your wedding day is approaching and you are trying to figure out the best way to utilize your time with your photographer. Over the years I’ve found that many times couples don’t know what to expect when it comes to their photography timeline and how much time they really need for pictures. Trying to put together a wedding day timeline can be such a daunting task. If you have a planner, they can definitely help you with this process, but in case you don’t, you can use these tips I put together for you to really take advantage of the time we have together and to get all those beautiful photos you’ve been dreaming of.

The best way to ensure you get the photos you need is to give your photographer ample time for photos.  I can’t stress this enough. The more time that we have for photos, the more time we have for creativity and for giving you a great variety of photos. There are two ways to approach your wedding day timeline. The first way is with the first look.

First Look: What it is and how it benefits you

first-look-blog-postA first look is when the bride and groom are able to see each other privately prior to the ceremony. How it works is, once the both of you are dressed, we find an area away from anyone else and make sure that the groom is facing away from the direction the bride will be approaching. Then, we lead the bride to the area and allow her to walk up to her groom and let him know when it’s ok for him to turn around. Then it’s the big reveal! Here are the benefits to doing a first look:

  1. Without a big crowd around you, you’re free to jump into each other’s arms, cry happy tears, laugh together, and enjoy a moment that’s truly just to yourselves. You’re free to show your emotions however you want.
  2. The beauty of those moments will still be captured, because we’ll be photographing it from a little distance away, to give you your space. One photographer focused on you, and another photographer focused on him. Plus first looks make for great photos! The looks on your faces are always priceless and they’re some of the most special moments of the day.
  3. In my experience,  seeing each other tends to lessen your nerves!
  4. Seeing each other beforehand means you can take the majority (or all) of your formal family portraits before the ceremony too. That means after the ceremony your family is free to greet and mingle with all the wonderful people who came to your wedding and YOU can a.) have more time  to take pretty bride and groom portraits alone  b.) use the time to take a breather with your new husband c.) actually get to enjoy your cocktail hour! d.) enjoy the fact that there’s no more rush and that it’s all party from here on out

There are many reasons why people choose a first look. Some choose it for the reasons mentioned above, and some people choose a first look because their wedding will end after the sun has gone down, and they want to take advantage of getting beautiful pictures during the daytime. If you have dreamed about your husband seeing you for the first time walking down the aisle and a first look doesn’t sounds like it’s for you, don’t worry. We have a timeline for you too.

We arrive to photograph your wedding on average, 2-3 hours before the ceremony, depending on several factors like whether or not you’re doing a first look, where you’re getting ready, and how large the wedding party and family are.  Below I’ll give you a sample timeline with for a wedding that takes place all at one venue, with a ceremony that starts at 6 p.m. and a reception that ends at 11.

Sample Timeline With First Look:

3:00| Photographers arrive. Bridesmaids’ hair and makeup should be complete. Bride’s hair should be complete and makeup is wrapping up. During this time, we’ll photograph details and getting ready photos. All special items such as invitations, rings, jewelry, garter, shoes, perfume, any special gift for the groom should be accessible to the photographer. The gown should be on a pretty hanger. The other photographer will take detail photos and getting ready photos in the groom’s room.

3:30 | Bride gets in her gown. If a special person is helping her, that person should be dressed and camera-ready. Generally this is the bride’s mom, sister, maid of honor or all three.

3:45/4:00 | First Look

4:00 | Wedding Party Pictures

4:15 | Bride and Groom Portraits

4:45 | Formal Family Portraits. This includes all variations of portraits with the bride and groom.

5:15 | Bridal Portraits and extra pictures. With this bit of extra time, we can take some bridal portraits, any fun extra shots or special request photos that you may have been wanting.

5:30 | Photographers get photos of ceremony site

6:00 | Ceremony

6:30 |Any additional formal family portraits that include special guests (if any, if not, bride and groom can rest or go to cocktail hour)

6:45 | Photographers get photos of reception site details

7:00 | Reception (First Dance, Dinner, Toasts, Cake Cutting, Bouquet Toss, Garter Toss, any other special traditions. At this point, your planner or DJ will help figure out the best time for these)

10:50| Guests line up for exit

10:55-11:00 | Exit 

Sample Timeline Without First Look:

Here’s a sample timeline without a first look. With this timeline, extra time is needed to ensure that the bride and groom do not accidentally see each other prior to the ceremony.

3:00| Photographers arrive. Bridesmaids hair and makeup should be complete. Bride’s hair should be complete and makeup is wrapping up. During this time, we’ll photograph details and getting ready photos. All special items such as invitations, rings, jewelry, garter, shoes, perfume, any special gift for the groom should be accessible to the photographer. The gown should be on a pretty hanger. The other photographer will take detail photos and getting ready photos in the groom’s room.

3:30/3:45 | Bride gets in her gown. If a special person is helping her, that person should be dressed and camera-ready. Generally this is the bride’s mom, sister, maid of honor or all three.

3:45/4:00 | Portraits of the Bride with her Bridesmaids

4:15 | Portraits of Bride with her Immediate Family

4:45 | Portrait of Groom with his Groomsmen

5:00 |Portraits of Groom with his Immediate Family

5:30-6:00 | Photographers get photos of ceremony site

6-6:30 | Ceremony

6:30-7:00 | Second photographer leaves to take reception site photos

6:30-7:00 | Lead photographer takes all formal family portraits, wedding party portraits, bride and groom portraits. Keep in mind that family photos generally take an average of 2-3 minutes per combination, so if you have 8 different family groupings, it would take between 15-25 minutes, leaving little time for wedding party portraits and bride and groom portraits.

7:00 | Reception (First Dance, Dinner, Toasts, Cake Cutting, Bouquet Toss, Garter Toss, any other special traditions. At this point, your planner or DJ will help figure out the best time for these)

10:50| Guests line up for exit

10:55-11:00 | Exit

As a photographer, I do see many benefits to a first look. At the same time, I understand that it’s not for every couple. What’s important is that each couple has a clear understanding of how these two different timelines will affect the outcome of their photos. The more time you give us prior to the ceremony, the more variety we can give you. For some couples, having a lot of bride and groom portraits is very important. Others are ok with having 1-2.

All in all, I hope these tips help. As your wedding photographer I’m here to answer any questions you may have and in the end, we’ll go with what you feel is best for you as couple.

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