Creating Your Wedding Day Timeline
All of the time suggestions below are ideal for me, but I also understand that sometimes you won't be able to fit the suggested time into your schedule. Do the best you can and I will be able to make it work. The parts of the day I ask you do allow time for are group portraits and couple portraits.
Getting Ready (2 Hours)
1. My second shooter and I will shoot details first. If there are any detail shots you would like to get while not wearing them, have them ready for me upon arrival.
dress (don't forget a pretty hanger!)
something old, new, borrowed, blue
2. Try to avoid clutter. With bags, makeup, champagne glasses, dresses, etc. getting ready rooms can get VERY cluttered. Try to keep as much as possible in a different room or in the closet hidden away. I usually do a quick sweep before I start shooting, but please keep in mind that if it looks messy in real life, it will look messy in photos.
3. Because I will be shooting indoors, keep in mind that plenty of window lighting will be best for both me and the HMUA. I will usually turn off all indoor lights so both yellow indoor lights and window light are not contrasting in the photo.
4. I will catch the tail end of your getting ready. Most times, the photos of putting mascara on and doing last minute touch ups to your hair are staged.
5. When I arrive to photograph guys getting ready, both the groom and groomsmen MUST be showered and in their pants and shirt. I will get them putting their shoes, jackets and accessories on.
6. Aim to be completely ready at least 20 minutes before you are set to leave for your first look or ceremony.
Picking a location: When choosing a getting ready location, please keep lighting in mind. I suggest choosing a place with plenty of natural lighting and a really beautiful or simple aesthetic. Airbnbs or a family home are always great options.
First Look (20 Minutes)
A first look is when the bride and groom see each other for the first time before the ceremony in a private moment. I'm sure you have seen the photos where the bride is walking up behind the groom, taps him on the shoulder, and he turns around and they share a beautiful moment together. Although it is not the traditional thing to do, I recommend doing a first look for the following reasons:
1. It will calm your nerves. Nothing will help you relax more than finally seeing each other before the events begin. Having the moment just to yourselves before all of the craziness with family and friends can be a really great thing.
2. You will have more time to enjoy your first interaction with each other. When you see each other walking down the aisle, you usually don't have the time to hug each other, say "you look amazing in that dress!", or share that "I can't believe we're getting married today" moment.
3. It helps with the wedding day timeline. If you do a first look, we will be able to get bridal party portraits and family portraits before the ceremony leaving you time to enjoy the rest of your day! Also, if you are wanting a sunset ceremony, a first look is a MUST. My style of photography is very much focused on natural lighting and if you want the photos you have seen on my Instagram or website, we must shoot mostly during the daytime.
Group Portraits (40 Minutes)
This time includes both bridal party portraits and family portraits.
The best time to do family/bridal party portraits is before the ceremony. Everyone is usually ready to go for pictures and is not wanting to just get to the cocktail party. It is usually easier to manage everyone and takes less time when portraits are done beforehand, but this would also require doing a first look.
If family portraits are being done after the ceremony, please let everyone taking portraits know to stick around after the ceremony ahead of time. In my experience, most people just want to get to the party after the ceremony and don't think to stick around for portraits. If anyone is missing during the family portrait time, it is VERY time consuming to send a search party out for them and we will likely just move on without them.
The questionnaire asks you to list every family portrait grouping so that we can run though them as quickly as possible. The reason I try to get this part done in a timely manner is because it gets very tiring, especially for the bride and groom. Please remember that the greater number of groupings means less time for bride/groom portraits and less time enjoying your day, so please be very intentional when picking groupings; I suggest choosing a maximum of 15 separate groupings for family portraits. On wedding day, there are always family members that request groupings that have not been listed in the questionnaire. I am very strict about sticking to the lists that you will provide and if a family member suggests a grouping not on the list, I will likely ask them to find me at the reception because we might be fighting daylight for bride/groom portraits and are on a schedule.
Couple Portraits (30-60 Minutes)
This is usually one of my favorite times during the wedding day when you will get the most creative and beautiful photos.
I recommend two time slots for bride/groom portraits. 20-30 minutes after your ceremony and sneaking away for another 20-30 minutes during your reception for sunset. If your timeline won't allow for two separate slots, a 30 minute session will do.
Taking portraits right after your ceremony will allow for the most genuine and joyful photos. Taking portraits during sunset will allow for the best golden lighting. If you are doing a first look, we will still do bride/groom portraits after the ceremony
Don't forget to consider the time it takes to travel between all of the wedding day locations. Please be generous with this time and consider the regular traffic that might occur during these times.
Also consider that when traveling from location to location, I will need to leave 10 minutes before you do so that I can set all of my gear up and be ready to go for each part of your day.
Other Tips for Your Day
Receiving Lines: Receiving lines after your ceremony can be very time consuming and can sometimes take away from the excitement after you just get married. It usually takes a lot of coordinating and at least 20 minutes to get everyone organized. Instead of having your entire guest list greet you with receiving lines, I suggest having your immediate family and bridal party greet you right after you walk down the aisle as husband and wife. The energy is always really great at this time and I love candidly capturing the hugs and excitement right after the ceremony.
Unplugged: A lot of photographers suggest "unplugging" the ceremony for a number of reasons, but I am fine with your family and friends wanting to take photos at any point throughout the day. If you don't mind your friends and family taking photos either, I just ask you have them take photos from their seats at the ceremony.
Dinner: I usually take my dinner break while the guests are eating because this is when the least amount of photograhable moments happen (most people don't want photos of themselves eating!) A lot of times, caterers will want to serve vendors last, but being served first and eating while the guests are eating/being served will help me to not miss any exciting moments.
Table Shots: As you may have seen on my Instagram or Website, I am a very documentary style shooter. Please let me know if getting posed photos of everyone at each table is important to you. I typically capture a lot of candids during cocktail hour and reception, so I don't typically do table shots, but I'd be happy to do them for you if you want those photos. Please take into account that I will break for dinner during another time if you want to get these photos in.
Reception Lighting: It is so important to me to capture the mood of your wedding. I love embracing the romantic ambient lighting of reception, so I wont typically use flash unless I absolutely need to or I am on the dance floor. Candles, market lights, and amber uplighting can make great lighting for photos.