Planning Your Wedding Photography Timeline
As an Idaho wedding photographer I love to help my future brides plan their wedding timeline! While the topic of wedding timeline is something that my brides and I do together in great detail before their wedding, I would love to scratch the surface and help any bride planning her wedding! Here are my tips for creating a wedding timeline:
- Choose an appropriate ceremony time- Should you get married at 1pm or 6pm? There is so much to consider! First, you should think about how long it will take you to get ready. Per bridesmaid it takes around one hour to get ready with full hair and full makeup. If you have seven bridesmaids, one bride, and one mother of the bride that would be nine hours of getting ready time! Granted, you can hire multiple hair stylists and makeup artists to work together so that two or more women can be getting ready at one time. Still, you will need to plan a good 3-5 hours of hair and makeup time, so if you have your ceremony at 1pm will be looking at starting to get ready at 7am. The next thing to consider is what food you are planning on serving. Are you serving a full dinner? Appetizers? Dessert bar? Whatever food you are planning to serve can be a good help in picking a ceremony time.
- Lighting- Another thing to consider when choosing a ceremony time is the lighting. The best lighting for outdoor photography is 1 hour before sunset and the most harsh, undesired lighting is around noon in the summer. If you are having an outdoor ceremony in June, you might want to steer away from a ceremony at noon because the lighting will be very harsh and have a lot of shadows. My personal suggestion would be to push the ceremony start time back as late as possible. Starting your ceremony at 3pm would allow the sun to begin to drop to one side and have fewer harsh shadows. We will always be able to find good lighting when doing portraits, but for your actual ceremony it is difficult to change the lighting.
- Appropriate time for portraits- Whether you choose to take your bridal party and couples portraits before the ceremony or after, it is important to leave appropriate time so that we can capture your portraits stress free! I am a fairly quick photographer, but it is still nice to have enough time that we are not rushing. On average, plan for 30-45 minutes per group for photos. I.e. groom and groomsman 30 mins, bride and bridesmaids 30 mins, bride and groom first look 30 mins, entire wedding party 45 minutes.
Here is a great sample timeline that I found on A Practical Wedding:
- 10:00am—Hair and Makeup/Getting ready
- 12:00–2:00pm—Most vendors arrive for setup
- 2:00pm—Wedding party and family photos start
- 3:30pm—Doors open/Guests begin to arrive/Pre-ceremony music starts
- 4:00pm—Invite time
- 4:15pm—Ceremony starts
- 4:35pm—Ceremony ends
- 4:40pm—Cocktail hour starts
- 5:45pm—Move guests into dinner
- 6:00pm—Buffet opens/Dinner served
- 6:20pm—All guests have food
- 7:30pm—First dance
- 7:35pm—General dancing music starts
- 8:00pm—Second set of pre-sunset portraits
- 9:45pm—Last call
- 9:55pm—Music off
- 10:00pm—Guests depart
- 11:00pm—Breakdown done, all staff departs