Planning a wedding is a gargantuan task.. no wonder the rich-and-famous employ dedicated wedding planners to do it all for them!!.. For the rest of us mere mortals it generally falls to the couple (or, let’s be honest, ..the bride!) to plan the schedule for the day. This can be difficult if you don’t have the experience of having attended a lot of weddings to see how it all works. Wedding days are fantastic, joyous, exciting ..and hectic! There is a lot to fit into a wedding day and certainly for photographers, capturing all those beautiful ‘must-get’ shots in the available time, can sometimes be quite challenging.
Here are some tips from us for planning the schedule for your wedding day, which will help your photographer to get all of those important key wedding-day photos and help to ensure you don’t feel rushed on the day.
Plan your bridal preparation
If you are using a hair and makeup artist, they will advise you on the time that they will need for their work, but don’t forget other things such as, how long it might take to put on your dress. Some bride and bridesmaid dresses can have quite a complicated construction, so make sure you can remember how to get them on! Lacing or buttoning up a dress can also take longer than you think, especially with nervous fingers – often a good 15 minutes! Try to give yourself 10 mins once you are ready to just breath and gather yourself. Also, don’t forget that for civil services the bride will be called to attend an interview about 15 mins before the ceremony.
If you are having your bridal preparation photographed, try to also allow 15/20 mins once you are ready for some of those beautiful, posed bridal portraits. ..it’s the perfect time when your hair and makeup has just been done and you are looking utterly gorgeous!
Group Photos Take Time
Group photos are usually taken during the drinks reception, between the ceremony and wedding breakfast. Most people tend to under-estimate just how long it takes to get the group photos done at a wedding. It’s not taking the photos that takes time but finding the right people, coaxing them away from their drinks and conversations and getting them into position for the photo! Most professional wedding photographers will take between 5 and 10 minutes per group photo. This means between 6 and 10 photos can be done in an hour. When you are planning how long your drinks reception should be, you should consider how many group photos you want and how long it is going to take. Your photographer will advise you on the time needed for your group photos.
When planning the time needed for your drinks reception, it’s also worth considering…
- Group photos rarely start the instant after the ceremony ends.. the first thing everyone will want to do is congratulate the newly-weds, so plan a bit of time in for this.
- Depending on the size of the wedding, a group photo of all wedding guests can take a while to organise. We ask for 10 minutes to do a group shot of everyone.
- If you are having a receiving line it will take about 20 mins out of your drinks reception time
- Even if you are not having a receiving line, guests will be asked to take their seats about 15 mins before the official start of the wedding breakfast
We would recommend restricting your group photos to the wedding party and immediate family and keeping the list of group photos as short as you can. This will allow you to get the group photos done and still have a bit of time to socialise with your guests!
Don’t forget changing venues takes time!
If your wedding involves a change of location e.g. from a church to a hotel for the reception, make sure you factor in enough time for everyone to comfortably get from one location to the other without it eating into your drinks reception (and therefore group photo) time. Consider the time of day as well – that transfer could take longer in the rush hour!
Make sure you plan time for portraits!
Portraits of just the two of you together make a great memento of your wedding day so it’s worth specifically planning time for this. It can also be quite nice for just the two of you to escape the wedding madness for a short time to have some portraits done. Bride and Groom portraits are often done with the group photos during the drinks reception, but alternatively, using the time between the wedding breakfast and evening reception can take the pressure off a bit and you can get some fantastic light later in the day.. but do think about the timings.. if it is dark by this time the photographer will need to use artificial light or these photos will have to be done indoors.
Recruit a ‘Time Keeper’
Some venues will provide a Master of Ceremonies (MC) or will have a senior member of staff who will ensure everything is being kept to time, but if not we strongly recommend making sure that there is someone (e.g. a best man or usher) who is responsible for monitoring all the events of the day and making sure everything is kept on schedule.
Plan a bit of contingency into your schedule
Having a bit of breathing space in your wedding schedule will help to ensure that if anything does get delayed, it won’t have a massive impact on the rest of the day.
Don’t get stressed
It’s Going to Be AMAZING !
Finally, with the best will in the world, wedding days are complicated affairs and things will occasionally happen which will cause delays.. we have seen everything from the wedding car arriving late or even breaking down, to traffic jams between the ceremony and reception venues, the mother-of-the-bride disappearing just before the group photos start and a hail storm in the middle of the bride-and-groom portraits.. No matter what happens, don’t get stressed! Experienced wedding suppliers have worked at lots of weddings and will know how to cope with the usual wedding-day bumps and hiccups. Try to relax and enjoy your day.. it’s going to be AMAZING!