The timeline. The timeline!
You have to have a schedule even for your wedding day? You mean the stuff doesn't just happen?
I have been to HUNDREDS of weddings and trust me, wedding days don't just happen... It's not as intense as it seems especially if you can just accept that a timeline is a guide to get you to that first dance during the big party you have been planning for FOR-EVER.
The timeline is not going to be set in stone and it's not going to stay on track. So what! But, It's important to work your timeline properly, so even if it doesn't stay on track that there is still time for photography. And more than likely if you aren't working with a wedding planner/coordinator there is a good chance you probably weren't even thinking about a timeline and how long it takes everything to happen on a wedding day and how all these wedding activities fall into place.
THAT'S OK! I can help!
I LOVE when my couples ask for my opinion on their timeline because they did hire me to photograph this amazing special day and photography is an important factor of said day and it is crucial to make time for the photographs you want. Alright maybe that was a bit dramatic, but against popular belief these amazing wonderful heartfelt beautiful timeless images don't just appear. We have to make time for them to happen.
So how do you make the time? Well, I have created a template timeline for an 8 hour wedding day which you can use a guide to make your own amazing awesome timeline!
Wedding Day Timeline (8 hour coverage)
1:00 PM PHOTOGRAPHERS ARRIVE (photography coverage starts)
This is the time where I will collect your shoes, dress, rings, paper suite, flowers and any other details you might want photographed. All this will be happening WHILE you are getting your hair and makeup done and yes, I will be photographing that too!
2:00 PM BRIDE GETS DRESSED
By this time everyone else who plans to be around while YOU, the bride, gets dressed should be already dressed. So, that means bridesmaids, Mother of the Bride, ANYONE who plans to be in the shots NEEDS to be ready. You probably don't want a bridesmaid in her pj's helping you into your wedding dress, or maybe you do! Its your wedding, but yea.
3:00 PM GROOM FINISHING TOUCHES
Once you are dressed, I will then check on the other awesome person- the Groom. His getting ready session is much faster and usually involves him fixing his tie, putting on his jacket and making sure he is ready to go!
3:30 PM THE FIRST LOOK
This will happen at the place you have already picked out and if you don't have a specific spot set- NO WORRIES! I will find the best spot in your chosen location. This time will be for only you both. No one else needs to be involved or even around for this portion.
4:00 PM WEDDING PARTY PHOTOS
Yep, it only takes a half hour for the first look and your portrait session. This is when we will bring the whole wedding party into play and photograph everyone together!
4:30 PM HIDE!
This is exactly what it means, go hide. Once we have photographed you and your whole wedding party you should go to your hiding place to get ready for the ceremony. This will allow you to cool off, collect yourself and have a drink!
5:00 PM CEREMONY
5:30 PM COCKTAIL HOUR
THIS is where the family formals happen! Make sure the family members you want in these photos knows where to be and at what time. THEY MUST BE THERE, there is a limited amount of time to get through them and I can run through the list quickly IF THEY ARE THERE. Let the cocktail hour be for your guests, lets run through these images and get to the reception!
6:00 PM Photographer photographs the reception space (cake, table setup, favors, flowers) and everything else you spent tons and tons of money on while NO guests are present and haven't made a mess yet.
6:30 PM RECEPTION!
This is when your guests will start to make their way to their seats and you get ready for your entrance.
6:45 PM RECEPTION ENTRANCE
Wedding party is introduced and wedding couple is announce. Wedding couple go into the first dance followed by Mother/Son and Father/Daughter dance.
7:15 PM DINNER IS SERVED!
Your photography will be eating at this time (quickly, but yea).
7:45 PM TOASTS! SPEECHES!!
8:00 PM DANCE FLOOR IS OPENED
8:15 PM CUT THE CAKE OR PIE OR DOUGHNUT!
8:30 PM TOSS THE BOUQUET/GARTER
9:00 PM GRAND EXIT (Photography coverage ends)
See! That wasn't too crazy? But, you can see how quickly time gets filled up and why it is important to make the time for photography. I photograph quick, but you don't want to feel rushed through it and I don't want to push you from scene to scene- I mean, I will if I have to and have done it before... You get the idea.
If some of these don't apply to you (like the bouquet toss) that is OK- take it out, just add some extra time for your portrait session and wedding party photos or any other photos! Just don't skimp on the photography portions. I mean, right?!
Have any other questions about the timeline?
Atlanta Wedding Photographer Krisandra Evans