As a wedding photographer one of the most common questions I get asked from couples is ‘how do we get the timings right for our wedding day?’. Today I want to give some of my tips on how to plan your wedding day timings so you can have the most fun and least stress! Here goes…
1. Leave time for you and your new spouse
This may sound obvious but you’d be surprised at the number of couples who tell me their day went by in a flash and they hardly saw each other! Try and enjoy some time out together, even if its just a 10 minute walk after the wedding breakfast. I also always think your portrait time is a perfect opportunity to get some quality time together and step back from the day.
I normally tend to do couple’s portraits during the drinks reception which is a wonderful time as it allows you to have some time alone, letting your nuptials sink in before the party really starts. 20 minutes is normally enough, depending on your location!
2. Set aside plenty of time for group shots if you want them
Ideally I would suggest setting aside half an hour for your group shots. However, this will largely vary on the number of shots you want. Make a list of the groups you want and chat with your photographer beforehand about timings. If you want a photo of the whole wedding party, this sometimes can take 10 minutes just to gather everyone!
I advise minimum group shots because of the time they take and the fact that you’ll get bored. You’ll definitely want to be partying and saying hello to everyone instead!
Provide entertainment for your guests while you are away doing shots, and have your ushers or bridesmaids on hand to round up the troops you need.
3. Revel in your bridal prep
Am I the only one who thinks part of the enjoyment of a big girls night out is getting ready? I think the same applies to your bridal prep! Start early to avoid a mad rush at the end and factor in time for distractions. Inevitably you’ll have people popping in and out to say hello/check on final preparations. Most importantly, make sure you eat as it’s a long time before the wedding breakfast and that bubbly will be in full flow after the ceremony.
4. Make time for hellos & congratulations
Factor in some extra time straight after the ceremony for congratulations/ hellos with your long lost family/ friends you haven’t said hi to yet. I would suggest 10-15 minutes of mingling. If your ceremony is in a different location from the reception, don’t forget to work out how long it will take people to get there. Allow an extra bit of time for the dawdlers or people potentially getting lost. If you don’t factor this in, this period is when your wedding timings may slip.
5. Consider sunset portraits
The standard time for portraits is in between the ceremony and the wedding breakfast. However, photographically this isn’t the best time to do it! Light is harsh in the middle of the day, particularly if it is a completely clear summer afternoon. Light in the evening will be a lot softer and frankly, gorgeous! This is why you should consider doing some sunset portraits. These often fall before your first dance or after, dependant on when in the year your wedding is.
Sunset portraits are my favourite but I always chat with my couples about timings of them first. Sometimes due to the time of the year, sunset can fall right in the middle of speeches, first dance etc so it doesn’t always work out. But, even a quick 5-10 minutes is enough to get some lovely portraits!
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