The biggest worry brides & grooms-to-be usually express is that they don't want to be separated from their guests for too long. In addition to this, some reception venues tell couples that the world will end if they're 20 minutes late to the reception! So to help you plan your day, here are five simple, but effective steps to help you plan a ‘photo-friendly’ wedding day timeline.
1. Create a timeline
You should think of your day as divided into eight key segments:
1. Getting ready
2. Travelling to the ceremony venue
3. The ceremony
4. Meet and greet after the ceremony
5. Group and family photos
6. Bridal party / Main photography shoot
7. Travelling to the reception venue
8. The reception
Grab a sheet of paper and write down the amount of time you think you’ll need for each segment. When you have your first meeting with your photographer, take your timeline & go over each part of the day with them. Having been to hundreds of weddings, a professional wedding photographer will be able to tell you exactly what will work & what won’t.
2. Allow plenty of time for the unexpected.
As Monty Python once said, "No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!" Likewise, no one expects Nana's car to break down on the way to the ceremony. Yes, that happened to us (Paul & Catherine) on our own wedding day!
Add a half hour buffer between the bridal party shoot and the reception. This way you won’t end up compressing your time for photos in order to get to the reception on time. Chances are you won't need it and you’ll be able to spend the extra time relaxing in a green field in the country sipping champagne with the lambs licking your toes! What a nice way to spend your first married hours together. But if the lambs aren't your cup of tea - you could head back to the reception earlier than expected and partake in the pre-dinner cocktails with your guests.
3. Delegate, delegate, delegate!
This is the golden rule for maintaining your sanity. Usually tasks such as timekeeping and directing the guests around for the group photos are given to the MC. But if the MC was just chosen for their looks & funny jokes but can’t organise their own sock drawer, pick another responsible person and give them a written set of tasks.
The most relaxed brides we come across are the ones who have delegated various tasks to other people and have clearly communicated prior to the wedding who is going to do what & when. Once the wheels are in motion, you should be able to just relax and enjoy your big day.
4. Keep everyone on the same page
Do you want a first look or your bridal party shoot before the ceremony? Make sure your makeup & hair artist knows when to have you ready by. If you have more than the average 2 or 3 bridesmaids, ensure that you're up before the first bird is catching its worm. Makeup and hair takes a surprisingly long time. You may even want to consider hiring more than one artist.
And if you do make any last minute changes – such as choosing a new location to shoot your photos, keep your MC in the loop so they can coordinate with the staff at your reception venue.
5. Be flexible on the day
We understand however, that your wedding day is not a photo-shoot with a wedding thrown in for fun. But it’s always worth waiting those extra few minutes to capture stunning shots, for example - the sun setting behind you at the beach. Remember – these are images that are going to last you a lifetime! And really, who's going to notice that you’re a couple of minutes late to the reception?
Delegation, Organisation & Flexibility. Taking heed of all these factors will make for a relaxed, happy couple who enjoy their wedding day and get the stunning photos they’ve always dreamed of!