As Couples plan their special day, creating the ideal timeline is the hardest thing you’ll have to plan other than writing some tear-jerking vows for your significant other 🙂 So, we here at The I Do Photography a Los Angeles, California based Wedding Photography company with over 500+ weddings under our belts wanted to give some sage advice from our perspective. It is hard to put together an exact Wedding Photography timeline template given the diverse cultural backgrounds we work with, however there are ideal time frames you should consider when planning your day.
We know some of these seem long on paper but you’ll want to keep in mind that your day will fly by, most weddings do run a bit behind and we always make our photo sessions super fun, so they won’t drag on. Also keep in mind that this the ideal perfect photographers dream timeline and day, often times we do have to adjust this for the hours we are booked for, but that is why you have us.
Rings, Dress, Shoes, and other Details
Our advice, having at least 30 minutes for details will ensure we have plenty of time for that perfect photo of the dress, rings, shoes, bouquets and any other details you’ll want to show off. Often times the hotel room might be too crowded; so we have to take the dress and other details down to another location. It can take some extra time but it is well worth it in the end.
Getting Ready Photos
If getting ready photos are a must have for you have for our biggest advice is getting ready at the same location as your ceremony if possible, if not as close-by as you can.
During this time, we are getting makeup and hair details as well as, the candid moments, bridesmaids and groomsmen getting ready for the day. These are often emotional and fun photos and we suggest we don’t cut this time short if possible.
The lead shooter will be with the bride while the second shooter will be with the groom. It doesn’t usually take the guys too long to get dressed but there are tons of great moments to capture between the groom and his friends or family.
First Look and Daytime Couples Session
During the First Look, the bride and groom will see each other for the first time on the wedding day. The actual event may only take 5-10 minutes but we will recreate the first look a few times in different locations throughout the venue or nearby and the rest of the time is spent on portraits of the couple.
We save the bulk of the couple photos for later during the couple session, if we have time for one. If we don’t we recommend adding another 45 minutes, again if possible to this time so we have enough photo of just the two of you. If this time is tight we recommend a sneak-out (see section below).
Wedding Party Photos
The time we need for Wedding Party Photos will depend on how many people you have in your party and the locations available to us. After we get classic group photos we will move onto fun and creative shots. We can get individual shots of bridal party and of the couple with the bridal party members if possible for your day.
Plan on around 3-4 minutes per group of people on average. For example, if you have 10 groups of people you want photos with you’ll need to allot a 30 to 40-minute time slot.
Family is an important part of your wedding and your life so we want to make sure we have enough pictures with them as well as time.
Ceremony Detail and Venue
Please allow 30 minutes for the Photographer to take pictures of the ceremony site, completely set-up with no guests or vendors in the area.
It is important that we can capture this area before there are guests seated in order to tell the story of your special day.
Our Advice the Couple session should be around 1 hour and should take place ideally 30-45 minutes before the sunsets. The lighting at this time of day is ideal for an intimate couples shoot.
It will allow us to take scenic shots with colorful skies and lighting. If your venue has a spectacular view this is an essential time for us to take advantage of these features.
Reception Detail and Venue
Similar to the ceremony details, this is the only opportunity we have to capture the beauty of the reception area prior to guest’s arrival after Cocktail Hour.
At the Reception we’ll capture the following moments that usually happen:
We love this optional Couples Photo Session:
Couple Session – Sneak Out
If you can manage this time in your night this is a wonderful time for us to get some more couples photos, especially if there is an interesting location nearby your venue or at your venue. We try and plan this right after you’ve grabbed a bite to eat or during the open floor dancing.
I hope this guide has helped you think about your Wedding from a Photographers perspective and has given you some insight into planning your timeline for your Wedding Day.