Hey brides! After choosing your photographer, you will most likely work alongside them to create the best timeline for photos on your big day. This is really important because it will help the photographer to get an idea of where to be, what time the major events are happening through out the day, and carve out the best time for the portraits of you and your love! It also helps us photographers with knowing where the light will be and how we have to adjust in case we need to take photos in bright noon sunlight or during sunset at the beach.
I'm going to outline some of the more important photography moments that should be worked into your timeline. However, take note that it all depends on how long you contracted your photographer for, where you are getting married, and other factors.
Ah, the getting ready shots! These are my favorite to start the day with. If they can be worked in, I highly recommend it! If you're pressed for time, shave off an hour of the reception coverage for these, trust me, you will not regret it! It's a quiet time when you and your girls or perhaps just you are getting ready and can really soak in the day. At this time, I usually take advantage of photographing the dress, shoes, jewelry, and any other important detail the bride has chosen for her day.
I also love to get candid shots of the bride with her family and friends and allow things to flow and just happen. Sometimes we get the best emotional photos out of these moments.
This time also allows me to get photos of just the bride alone right after she's done getting ready. It's such a special time to just breath and take a look in the mirror and get excited! I love being with brides during this time.
Oh, sometimes we get shots of the grooms getting ready too ;)
Bride & Groom Portraits / First Look
I love to do have the bride and groom do a first look after the Getting Ready shots. It makes for a more impactful surprise and during this time there are guests around which makes it truly special for the couple. They are alone, together, for the first time the entire day. After the portraits, the couple is surrounded by people the rest of the day. So, I love it when we carve out enough time to take the portraits. If your timeline allows you to do this before your ceremony, I recommend it! You'll also look fresh and excited.
However, sometimes the bride and groom opt to see each other after the wedding ceremony, which is totally ok too! Just make sure you have enough time and a location away from your guests and bridal party so that you can have that time alone!
This one is obvious! You must and should have at least 15 - 20 minutes buffer before your ceremony to relax, touch up make up, and allow your photographer to get the ceremony location with out anyone in it.
All of the decor has to be photographed because it was chosen by you! And that makes it extra special.
Bridal Party / Family Formals
These are great to get done right after the ceremony when everyone is present and no one has disappeared to the cocktail hour yet. Also, I like to do these at the same time or one right before the other. The reason being is because most of the time, the bridal party is made up of family! So rather than have two separate times, we do it all together. You might not like the idea of having family wait for formals or vice versa, but it takes all about 30 minutes to get these out of the way.
These are also when I take a more formal approach to the photos and allow different combinations to occur. It all depends on how big or small your bridal party and families are!
Sunset Photos / Cocktail Hour
These can be done at the same time or scheduled so that you can enjoy the cocktail hour and then slip away for a bit for beautiful sunset photos. These photos really offer beautiful golden light during one of the most sought after times for photography!
If your photographer has an assistant photographer, they usually will have them taking candid photos of the cocktail hour and your guests. This way you don't miss out on capturing some great moments of your guests :).
Party / Reception
This part of the day is usually more relaxed for us photographers. I like to make sure I get to the reception venue a little early to get all the details of the decor, just like the ceremony. Depending on how many hours you have your photographer for, make sure they get your grand entrance, if nothing else.
I don't really have a set a timeline as most of the major events are announced by the DJ. I do try and work with the DJ so that we're on the same page and he knows who I am and we'll check in with each other during the reception so we're both ready and don't miss anything important.
The main events during the reception include: Grand Entrance, First Dance, Mother / Son and Father / Daughter dances, cake cutting, toasts, garter and bouquet toss, and lots of dancing!
If you have a Grand Exit in mind make sure you speak to your photographer about the time and if you have anything special planned! We'll need to be set up and ready to go before you actually exit and make sure we're in a good position so that people don't crowd us or we don't miss where you're going to be walking through. And if there are sparklers, we love sparklers, we'll need to set up for that too!