7 Tips to planning your wedding day schedule.
Planning your wedding day schedule can be a daunting task. Chances are this is the first time you’ve ever done this, or it has been many years since you last planned a wedding. Discuss your schedule with your photographer. Even if you have a wedding planner, go over the schedule with your photographer as they will be able to point out any changes needed from their part of the day. They have done this several times, and they know the flow of a wedding day. Trust their judgement on how long things take.
There are several factors to consider in your timeline.
1. If you plan to have your photographer document your entire day, that typically starts with the finishing touches of your hair and makeup. Ask your stylists how long they anticipate their part to be, and have your photographer arrive 30 minutes or so before they finish. While you are being glamourized, they can photograph your dress, your shoes, your jewelry and other details of the day. As the finishing touches are being applied, your makeup can be photographed.
2. Let your photographer know how your dress does up. A zipper does up much faster than a lace-up gown. And, in my experience, a lace-up gown often takes longer to get just right than you expect. Plan extra time for getting ready into your schedule around the style of your dress.
3. Allow for travel time for your photographer to your ceremony venue. We generally like to arrive before you do to be sure we are set and ready for your arrival, so plan to be ready at least 30 minutes before your ceremony begins plus travel time.
4. The length of a ceremony varies from 10 minutes to as long as an hour (yes, I’ve been to weddings that long) depending on traditions, readings, musical numbers, candle lightings and so on that you choose to include. As well, after the ceremony, whether you plan for it or not, a receiving line tends to form as your guests want to congratulate and hug you. On average, I would anticipate the ceremony portion of your day to be 30 minutes.
5. Your formal portraits tend to happen between your ceremony and reception. I find it easiest to take the family
portraits first, then take the bridal party portraits. Plan on at least two minutes for each family group you want photographed. If there are 30 groupings you wish to have, you need to plan for one hour for your family portraits. The most important portraits are, of course, are the bride and groom, so plan a good portion of your formal portrait session dedicated to you. As well, if you plan on shooting to more than one location, remember to include travel time to each destination into your plans.
6. Let your photographer know what time your reception starts. I find most couples like a break between their portraits and reception just to freshen up and to relax a little. It’s the first time all day they have a chance to just be themselves. I recommend ending your formal portraits 15-30 before you wish to arrive at your reception to allow you this time to recharge. As well, this gives your photographer an opportunity to photograph the details of your reception – how the room looks, the centerpieces, your table settings, your cake, etc. Your photographer will keep an eye on the time to keep you on track.
7. Plan out when dinner will be served, what time you will cut the cake, give time limits to those you ask to give speeches, and decide when you will have your first dance. If you have a special exit planned, decide when you want to leave your reception as well. Give all of these times to your photographer so that she can anticipate the important moments of the evening while capturing those great candid moments of your celebration.
Discuss these with your photographer well in advance of your wedding day. He or she will be able to guide you on any conflicts or challenges they anticipate. The better prepared you both are, the more worry-free your wedding day will be.