When working with a couple to plan their special day, I typically like to sit down with them the week before their wedding and dig into their timeline and make sure the day is going to flow smoothly. We tackle the ‘pre-ceremony’ time and talk about things like, where the rings and flowers will be the morning of, what time the men have to be ready by and what time the bride is putting on her dress. We then tackle the post-ceremony time frame and talk about thing like portraits, cocktail hour, and the reception flow.
There are so many things that need to be planned into a wedding day and there are typically 5 things that every couple forgets to plan into their timeline.
Putting on Your Dress
Your big day is FINALLY here and you are stepping into that gown you searched for with your closest friends. Don’t rush this time. Its not a “slip on the gown” and go kinda time. Schedule in a good amount of time to make this special. Maybe your mom is helping you put it on and you both need that special time together. Don’t rush that. Maybe you are putting it on yourself and surprising your dad or bridesmaids. Don’t rush that. Take your time to put it on. The moments to follow are usually your favorite “getting ready” photos from the day. Take time to put on your jewelry after. Stand in front of a window for some portraits. Get some pictures with your mama and friends.
Post Ceremony Dismissal
The ceremony is finished. Some people are crying, and others cheering and clapping as the recessional begins. You exit the ceremony down the center isle, along with your bridal party and family, following behind. The next few minutes to follow are usually not scheduled into a wedding day. Are you going to dismiss the guests by row? Are you going to just have them all leave and then greet them at the reception? Are you doing a receiving line? Regardless of your preference, don’t forget to account for the number of people and time this will take. If you don’t add this time into your day, you could easily be cutting into that special portrait time for you and your new spouse.
Family Photos – Post Ceremony
The guests are gone and its time to break out that long list of family photos. While I would recommend keeping it simple, So you’ll have more time for portraits later, some may choose to do extended family. Here are a few things to take into consideration for this time of the day that may add time to your timeline.
-Extended family. When you add all your aunts and uncles and cousins to the list, you need to add in time for their disruptive behavior during the photo taking, as well as time for the photos of them. Maybe this is the only time all of your family is together and you really want these photos. That’s great. just schedule it in.
-Missing Family. You have dismissed the guests and your brother, that happens to be a groomsmen, is out eating the cheese and crackers at your cocktail hour. Don’t hesitate to have your pastor make an announcement immediately following the ceremony for family to stay present post ceremony for photos. This will save time trying to find people.
Maybe your ceremony and reception are in separate locations? Maybe you are getting ready somewhere other then where your ceremony is being held. Maybe you are adventurous and want all of your portraits done at separate locations? Just be sure to schedule in driving time. You don’t want to have a 1 hour window for portraits and then have to drive 20 minutes one direction to get where you want to be. That wont leave you much time. So schedule in that driving time! I cant stress this enough!
Its finally that time of the day that you are going to get those pictures with your spouse that will be hung on the wall, and put into albums to remember forever. It may sound silly to suggest that you would forget to time this into your day, that is not what I am suggesting. Most people typically will leave 30 to maybe 45 minutes for the portraits on their wedding day. While that CAN be, and usually works out to be enough time, lets step back for a moment. Remember when we did your engagement photos? How we hung out for 2 hours and shot in different locations? What if you put that same taste and planning into your wedding. Get creative and go to a few super unique and scenic places. If the time flow doesn’t work out to schedule in more then 30 minutes, consider doing a first look and getting portraits before AND after the ceremony. Or, maybe we can even do a portrait session the day after your wedding with you.
As you plan for your wedding day. Enjoy the process. Have fun dreaming with your spouse to be. Don’t forget to add these things to you will have more time to plan in fun for your day.