November 10, 2020
The perfect wedding day timeline not only tells you where you need to be and when, it allows you enough time to enjoy your day, relax and take it all in as well as ensures you are able to get all of the photos which are most important to you and that they are as beautiful as possible.
Now, while every wedding day is unique, with its own locations, different times of year and various traditions which you may include etc. The time it takes to photograph a given period of the day remains pretty constant, which is why, after capturing weddings for hundreds of happy clients, I’m able to give you the blueprint for the perfect wedding day timeline, regardless of your specific plans. Simply take these recommended timings, allowing for travel in between locations, and you’ve got a great starting point for the perfect wedding day timeline!
Let the fun begin! Depending on whether you’re a bride & groom, two grooms or two brides, the amount of time we need to photograph partner one’s preparation may vary a little. For grooms allow an hour, for brides, 1.5 to 2 hours, including bridal details.
PRO TIP 1: Boys, ensure that you’re showered, shaven, hair done etc. before I arrive to ensure that you’re ready for photos.
PRO TIP 2: If your shoes are new, double check that they are laced and that there are no stickers on the soles. Also be sure to have any jacket pockets and tails unpicked and shirts ironed or pressed before I get there so that your hour isn’t spent doing all of the above.
When I first arrive, I’ll say hello to everyone and collect all of your details to photograph. These add to a beautiful and complete narrative of your day, gives everyone a chance to get used to having me there with my cameras and allows a little buffer in case hair & makeup is running over. I like to allow 30-45 mins for details to ensure your photos are as beautiful as possible and that nothing is missed.
Now is a great chance to capture some fun photos of you with your bridal party before getting ready, maybe you have matching nighties or a special bottle champagne to open! It’s also the perfect time to exchange gifts. This time, with getting ready, will typically take around 30 mins.
Once you’re ready, it’s a great time to relax and get some fun and beautiful portraits of you in your dress and with any friends or family who are there with you, or maybe you’d like to do a dress reveal?
PRO TIP 1: Make sure that all hair and makeup (bride and bridesmaids) is finished before I arrive to ensure we don’t miss any photos and that preparation is as relaxed and fun as possible.
PRO TIP 2: Now, before you start to get dressed, is the perfect time to give gifts to your bridesmaids or to open a gift or a letter from your groom, if you haven’t already. That way, your photographer is with you to capture all of the excitement and emotion of the day.
I’ll always try to photograph your ceremony & reception spaces before everyone arrives. When both your ceremony and reception are on the same property, it will typically happen between leaving you at preparation and your ceremony beginning. Then I’ll be there and ready to photograph your guests waiting in anticipation for you to arrive. If your reception is is at another location, we’ll aim to sneak in for 10 minutes before your guests enter.
This is what you’ve been waiting for and why we’re all here, it’s time to get married! Take a deep breath and take it all in, it will go by faster than you realise. Garden ceremonies will often be between 15-30 minutes, church services, 45 mins – 1 hour. Enjoy this time!
PRO TIP: Boys (or girls wearing a suit or trousers), ensure there is nothing in your pockets at all, in particular, your front pockets. Room keys, car keys and mobile phones will all show up in your photos and be a permanent reminder of what mobile device was most popular at the time. Also, remember to take off sunglasses for outdoor ceremonies.
Things get a little crazy in the first few minutes after the two of you are married with your guests, family and friends all vying for your attention, excited and wanting to congratulate you! Once things settle down, this is the perfect time for a large group photo if you’d like one and your family portraits, before people begin to disappear to the bar, car or bathroom. This generally take 20-30 minutes, depending on how many different family combinations we have. Allow 2-3 minutes for each family portrait.
PRO TIP: Organise for someone who knows each side of the family to help get everyone together, so that you don’t have to. I’ll have the list of people you’ll have given me and can pass it on to helpers during this time. This will make your family formal portraits run super smooth and quickly.
The whole gang! Brides, grooms, bridesmaids, groomsmen. This is a chance to have a bit of fun together and capture some beautiful photos of you all. Allow about 20-25 minutes.
After you bridal party portraits, the A team can head back to join your guests for drinks or canapés while we get some fun and romantic photos of the two of you. I’ll find beautiful locations around the venue so that you don’t have to.
PRO TIP 1: Have a bottle of champagne at the ready and open it together for something super fun and celebratory!
PRO TIP 2: Ensure that nobody has anything in their pockets, or else they’ll be visible in photos
It’s time to get the party to started! Take 5 to freshen up after your portraits and then head on in. I’ll typically be with you until the completion of your first dance and capture the first 10 mins or so of your dance floor at its height, before wrapping up. That ensures that all of your formalities are captured and is a nice ending point to your album. Though, if you’re planning bouquet or garter tosses, or maybe a grand exit at the end of the night with sparklers etc. then I can be with you right to the very end. I’ll typically be with you at your reception for anywhere between 2 and 4 hours.
PRO TIP 1: Coordinate with your photographer, the venue, your stylists or florists to ensure there is time through the day to photograph your reception space & cake etc. before everyone gets there. If bridal party photos are happening off site
PRO TIP 2: Want your canapé hour photographed while you’re having bridal party & newlywed portraits captured? Two photographers is the trick! It also means that Partner One doesn’t need to get ready quite as early on the day as their preparation happens at the same time as Partner Two, not before and you get alternate angles and even more expressions captured during your ceremony!
If time permits on the day, I love to sneak all of my couples out for about 15 minutes around sunset for a few portraits with the last and typically most magic light of the day to create something a little bit special.