I’m starting something new and I’m pretty excited about it! I’ve decided to combine my enjoyment of writing (bet ya didn’t know that!) and love of wedding photography by bringing you posts written by your’s truly regarding wedding planning and day-of questions I’ve received or things I’ve thought about as a photographer to help you – parent, bride or groom – plan and enjoy one of the biggest days of your life.
Here it goes! Hope this is helpful..
During any preliminary meeting with a bride and groom or parent(s), the topic of the wedding day timeline generally comes up – planning through getting ready, times, who will be where and when and how much time each part will take. I love it when a bride and groom comes to me not having really thought about it because then I can help guide them in making sure they give themselves and me enough time for wedding pictures and more importantly portraits of just the bride and groom together.
Being a woman, bride and now a wedding photographer, I can honestly tell you the majority of the wedding pictures that are displayed in our house are of my husband Paul and me. I understand the importance of family and friends and trust me there are several family portraits displayed as well, but on average Aunt Sally and Uncle Bob probably won’t be the first picture you have printed to put in a frame and hang on your wall. If it is, well…
When I talk through a wedding day timeline, one of the first questions I ask the bride and groom is whether they plan on seeing each other before the ceremony. This can be a big decision for some couples and parents AND it should be YOUR decision. Don’t ever let a wedding photographer bully you into one way or another, because often times they are only looking out for themselves and not taking you into consideration. This is your day (stepping off soapbox). This gives me an idea as to whether most of the formal photos will be taken before or after the ceremony (personally I love it when they wait to see each for the first time when the bride is walking down the aisle, the hopeless romantic and traditionalist in me).
If the bride and groom decide not to see each other before the ceremony, it makes things a little tricky, but don’t let that persuade you one way or another. Most couples I’ve met with in the past year have decided to not see each other beforehand. Maybe I attract the more traditional couples or maybe times are changing. When thinking through the wedding day timeline, everyone needs to plan for a little more time on the backend (after the ceremony). Typically you should allot for 30-45 min following the ceremony to get everything in – family portraits, wedding party and bride and groom. A full HOUR is ideal for any photographer, but most photographers realize this is not realistic when you have guests waiting at the reception and knowing the couple and parents have normally paid good money for the celebration.
**A note to Brides and Grooms:
Give your photographer at least 20 minutes with just the two of you after the ceremony and before you head off to your reception. Twenty minutes gives you both time to relax, enjoy the fact that you just got married, look at your rings (and realize how weird they might feel on your fingers) and have time to act yourself in front of the camera.
Most of the wedding day pictures couples display in their homes come from this 20 minutes (No, this isn’t scientifically proven, but let’s be real).
If the bride and groom decide to see each other prior to the wedding, give yourself enough time during the getting ready stage to have a first look. Often times bride and grooms opt to have a first look because it helps them relax before they say “I do” or they just can’t wait to see one another.
No one will judge the bride and groom if this is the case. Seriously. Some of the cutest pictures of the bride and groom come from the first look.
Typically a bride and groom have more time for pictures of just themselves prior to the wedding during a first look because once guests start arriving, the wedding day begins to blur. Can I get an amen? If you plan on a first look, I suggest 30 minutes. Ten minutes more than after the wedding because the bride and groom are always so excited during this time alone before the commotion begins (not like they aren’t excited after, but you know what I mean..).
Recently I photographed my first wedding that the bride and groom excused themselves from their reception to shoot sunset pictures. Genius!! If you know you’ll be at a place with a good view of the sun setting, do it!! No question. Your guests won’t miss you for 10 minutes. They probably won’t even know you are gone in between talking, eating and dancing. Your photographer will love you and you’ll love your photographer because you’ll have even more stunning pictures of you and your spouse to hang in your home!
As you continue to think through your wedding day timeline don’t fail to give you and your photographer enough time to adequately capture great images of just you and your spouse that you’ll treasure for a lifetime to come!
Hope this helps. Happy planning!