Today’s blog post is full of information that I could talk about ALL DAY LONG.
Even as a creative entrepreneur, I am definitely Type A. Making a detailed wedding photography timeline is something that I start 3-4 months before every wedding. The best way to ensure that you will have a calm wedding day is to have a schedule that your vendors can go by! Today I’m sharing FIVE tips for a perfect wedding photography timeline.
Makeup + Hair
One of the biggest things that can throw off a photography timeline is hair + makeup running a little behind schedule. Hair stylists + makeup artists always know how long it will take for them to get you glam, so you should make sure that you listen when they tell you how much time they will need! Makeup artists + hair stylists are seriously wizards, and they need plenty of time to work their magic! If your entire wedding party is having makeup + hair done the day of the wedding, it is so important to make sure that you start that process early in case you want the artist to make changes. If I am photographing an 8-10 hour wedding, I typically arrive when the bride is getting the finishing touches to her hair and makeup. The best scenario is for all of the bridesmaids + mothers to already be ready at this point so that when the bride is glammed up, we are ready to go!
A First Look
The next tip is completely optional. If you aren’t wanting to do a first look, then tip #3 will be for you! I recommend a first look to every bride + groom that is open to it, although I totally understand that it isn’t for everyone. If your dream is to not see each other until you walk down the aisle, then we won’t do a first look! But if you are considering a first look, here are a few reasons why it may be perfect for you.
You have SO much more time with your spouse on your wedding day.
Jordan and I decided to have a first look right away. We knew that we wanted to spend as much time as possible together on our wedding day because it was about us, first and foremost. We chose to have a first look a few hours before our ceremony so that we could spend a lot of extra time together, and it was the BEST decision. We didn’t care about keeping all of the wedding day traditions. We just wanted to have time to be together, slow down, and enjoy the day as a couple.
You can get as many portraits done before the ceremony as you want.
Because we had a first look, we chose to do EVERYTHING before the ceremony, including the photos of our entire wedding party and all of our family portraits! This meant that we were able to be completely relaxed between the ceremony and reception. If you do as many portraits as possible before the ceremony, there will be SO much less to worry about after the fact. And you can still absolutely do sunset portraits, even if you had a ton of photos made before the ceremony.
Doing Half of Your Portraits Before the Ceremony
(Timeline Without a First Look)
If you don’t have a first look, we can still do around 50% of your portraits before the ceremony begins! If my couples choose to not have a first look, I try to include the following in their pre-ceremony timeline:
- Bridal portraits
- Groom portraits
- Bride + bridesmaids
- Groom + groomsmen
- Bride + bride’s family
- Groom + groom’s family
If I leave anything until after the ceremony, it is the family photos, especially since it isn’t always possible to get family members to the wedding venue so long before the ceremony.
If we have done all of this before the ceremony, all we’ll have left are family portraits with the two of you, the entire wedding party, and bride + groom portraits!
Getting All Vendors on the Same Timeline
When I am working weddings where there is a wedding planner, she (or he!) and I usually discuss my photography timeline compared to her timeline via email a couple of months before the wedding so that everyone is aware of when I will need the bride + groom for certain photos. If there are things that need to be adjusted in my timeline based on when other vendors are arriving (example: photographing the reception details a little later because the cake won’t be delivered as early), then we are able to change that and get all timelines on the same page! It is SO important for vendors to be on the same page so that everyone knows what they need to be doing when. For example, if we are planning to do your bridal portraits at 3:00 but your bouquet won’t be delivered until 4:00, that is something that your wedding planner and I can work out!
Giving Copies of Your Timeline to the Wedding Party + Family
This is one of the most important tips I’m sharing. I could give a few examples where members of the wedding party have not known when to be ready, what time they will be photographed, etc. This can absolutely throw the entire day off schedule! I always recommend giving a copy of your final timeline to the groom, bridesmaids, groomsmen, and any family members that will be spending the entire day with us. It’s also important to let anyone that will be in family photos know what time they need to be ready, whether that is before the ceremony or after! Sometimes extended family members don’t realize they will be in photos directly after the ceremony and end up leaving to go to the reception. (I can’t blame them – they just want some of that food!)
That’s it! The bottom line, trust your wedding vendors. Your wedding planner, photographer, glam team, etc. know how much time they need to get things done, so always ask them for help in planning their part of your wedding day schedule! If you have a great timeline, it will help keep your day stress-free!
I’m a wedding and lifestyle photographer based in Knoxville, Tennessee but available anywhere. If you have questions about booking me for a session or wedding, click here! To follow me on social media, check out my Facebook and Instagram.