How do I schedule my wedding day?

How do I schedule my wedding day?

This would have to be one of my most frequently asked questions, and for good reason. Come the day of your wedding, there are so many important events that need to run on time and in order, for the day to be successful. For example; flowers have to arrive, make-up has to be done, transport is needed, the photographer has to be on time and catering has to be ready – just to name a few.

The easiest way to work out your wedding day schedule is to start with the time your ceremony begins. Once you know this time, all of the other times can be easily worked out – both forwards and backwards of the ceremony start time.

Let me try to help with an example.

Let’s say your ceremony is scheduled to start at 3:30pm. Depending on what we have organised, I may have started photographing the boys first (usually this takes about 30 minutes), before heading over to you and the bridesmaids. Portraits, details and preparation of the girls often takes about an hour. So depending on travel times to the ceremony location, this would mean that everyone is fully dressed and ready to go by at least 2:45.

Like most brides I’ve photographed, you’re fashionably late by ten minutes (there isn’t anything wrong with this – I personally like a little anticipation, just plan for it in your schedule) so a 3:40pm start time for the ceremony is more realistic.

The majority of ceremonies I have covered have not run longer than 20 minutes. So let’s estimate a 4pm finish time. With the ceremony complete, the bridal party usually walk back down the aisle to be greeted and congratulated by your eagerly awaiting guests.

The amount of time it takes to meet and greet everyone varies greatly, and is ultimately dependant on the number of guests you have. For example if you have between 60-80 guests, saying hello to everyone can take as much as 30 minutes or more. Add more time to this if you have more guests!

As you can see, the day is starting to move quickly – already we are at 4:30pm on our schedule.

After congratulations, most couples opt to have a few ‘formal’ family photos with Mum and Dad and other close family members. I like to be as quick as possible with these shots, so a pre-organised list to work from is really important. This way we know who is in each group photo. A list also means that we don’t miss anyone important. With a list in hand, and a little help rounding up family members – I can usually get through 8-10 group shots within 15-20 minutes.

Bridal photos are next – definitely the most fun session – and our timeline now reads 4:50pm. I like to think there is little art to a successful bridal party shoot. Getting the right balance between efficiency (taking all of the photos you want and expect) and fun (not pushing you too hard for all the photos you want and expect) is the key.

I work quickly (efficiently, not erratically), so I like to allow my couples a little time to take a breath, and to share together and reflect on what they have just achieved, without me interfering too much. During this time I often take candid photos and images of the bridesmaids and groomsmen.

Most bridal party photos take between 1 and 1.5 hours. Of course I can definitely work quicker, especially if there is no travel between different locations for photos. But if we are heading of to the beach, a dirt road with some Karri trees, or some other fantastic location, travel time needs to be taken into account.

With the bridal photos complete, it’s important that we get back to your reception on time. Your guests are waiting on you, as is the catering service. So if, like in this example timeline, we have taken the full 1.5 hours for photos, then your MC. will be ready to announce you to your guests at approximately 6:30pm.

It’s really important to note, that all weddings are different. This example is perhaps the most common format that I encounter. There are of course, many variations on this example.

I’m always more than happy to sit down with my couple to go over their wedding day schedule. Over a cup of coffee, we get to see and plan what works best for them.

In the meantime, I hope this example has helped you get started scheduling your day.

Happy planning 🙂

Lee.

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