I am constantly asked for a schedule or a timeline from brides. This comes easy to some brides and more difficult for others. I've decided to put together an example of a timeline and tips .
This schedule is about a 10 hour block of time.
The Details: 30 minutes
The Details, are so important. I posted these first, because these are some of the first pictures we will take. These include invitations, rings, wedding dress, bridesmaids dresses, special pearls, earrings, shoes, grandmas hanky. Something borrowed, something blue, something old and something new. I recommend having all of these items ready for your photographer as soon as we arrive. We will begin the day with photographing these items.
This usually takes about 30 minutes to photograph all your detail items. Sometimes we take the dress to a fun area to photograph, which requires a few extra minutes.
Bride Prep: 30 mins
Photographer arrival: 1 hour prior to the bride being done with hair and make up. We spend 10 mins getting set up, 30 mins photographing the Details talked about above and 30 mins photographing the bride getting her final touches done, hair and makeup. When the bride is closer to being finished, makes for more flattering photos.
*if you're traveling to a salon, the photographer normally doesn't go to the salon for hair. Final touch ups for makeup at the ceremony site is where we would start.
*This is a big one and more times than not you're running behind on your wedding day! Allow time to travel from the salon to the ceremony site. This is often over looked and we all know that we are not as punctual as we would like to be on our wedding day! We might have to stop by Starbucks for the extra shot of caffeine!
Groom Prep: 30 mins
photographer: Ellen Peek Photography
Lets not forget about the Groom. This is going on at the same time as the brides and bridesmaids. This includes them too and this is why we have 2 photographers for your day. 1 stays with the bride and the other with the groom.
It will not take them as long to get dressed as it does the bride and bridesmaids. Usually 30 mins is top and you do not want them to sit around in their tuxes either! They can opt to get dressed at the ceremony site or come dressed and ready. If they come to the site dressed and ready, we focus on them hanging out together and pining flowers on.
The Dress and veil: 30 minutes
This normally doesn't take a whole 30 minutes. I love giving enough time to take it slowly. It can be overwhelming getting into your dress, putting shoes on, spending a few last moments looking into the mirror, marveling with your bridesmaids, hugging your mom, we all know she's behind it all!
Individual Portraits: 20 minutes (bride and groom separately)
These are individual pictures of just the bride and groom. Usually, we split up and 1 photographer takes the bride and 1 photographer takes the groom. This assures us that you will not see each other! This takes about 20 minutes total.
Individual Bridal party: 30-45 minutes
If you opt out of a first look, these are done right after getting dressed. If you decide to do a first look, we recommend doing them after the first look. We do the entire bridal party together after the first look. If you decide not to do a first look, we photograph the entire bridal party after the ceremony.
We also get individual bride with bridesmaids and groom with groomsmen at this time. Any additional family, immediate family, is also recommended, mother of the bride, mother of the groom, father of the bride, father of the groom, and siblings.
First Look: 25 minutes
A lot of couples opt for a first look or "let me hold your hand, back to back first look" where they exchange gifts or get some jitters out!
The first time a couple sees each other on their wedding day can be an emotional moment and many couples choose to have that moment prior to the ceremony, without the eyes of all their guests on them. This can be a wonderful time to breath in the moment, shut out all of stress of guests and timelines, and just be together. This is also a perfect opportunity to get some photos of just the two of you in case things run late as the day progresses as well as photos of the wedding party. Many couples choose to do a first look in order to get all of their group and family photos finished before the ceremony, especially those who would rather be at their cocktail hour than using that time for photography.
If you choose not to see each other before hand, all of the above is done after the ceremony, as stated in the Individual Bridal party section.
Downtime: 30 - 1 hour
I highly recommend giving yourself downtime. This is a time to relax, gather your thoughts, drink something and allow your guests to arrive with out seeing you. This also gives your photographer time to grab any more shots from the ceremony site.
Family Portraits: 30 mins
These are taken immediately following the ceremony. They include, parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins and special people. The more organized this is the quicker it goes. Make sure these people know that they need to stay at the ceremony right after, so we're not having to hunt down family members. This is also a great time to have a list of family members, so we can literally call out the family. It makes for an easy and smooth time so you can get to the reception.
Bridal Party: 30 mins
These type of bridal party portraits are done, if the bride and groom choose not to see each other before the wedding ceremony. This includes the bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girls, ring bearers, honor attendees, junior bridesmaids and junior groomsmen. Anyone that you would consider "bridal party."
These could be done at the ceremony site, or the reception site. Make sure you give yourself adequate time to get from the ceremony to the reception if traveling and taking them at the reception.
Just the two of you: 30 mins
This is the most important time on your schedule! We are completely aware of y'all wanting to party hard and enjoy your guests, but these are the most important photos of your day! These are done around sunset or depending upon the time of your reception. Do not skip on this time, or you will regret it in the end!! We love taking the couple out to a special spot, or place and capturing your love for each other.
Reception: average 3-4 hours
The average reception lasts about 3- 4 hours. Thats from beginning to exit. I've posted a link from Theknot.com they have a great basic reception timeline.
This includes a full meal, cake cutting, dancing, first dances, flower toss, toast and exit. Most guest will leave after the cake cutting, so I always suggest to brides to either do a "fake exit" or end their reception shortly after. Most people will leave and you'll want as many people waving the sparklers, streamers, blowing bubbles and cheering y'all out to the dream car as you can have. The more the merrier! You can always warn guests that this is just a fake exit and y'all are coming back to party into the night. After y'all exit, the photographers normally exit as well. If time allows we will get some after party shots, if time is up then we leave.