How to create your own wedding timeline.
It goes without saying that a wedding timeline is crucial to the organization and flow of your special day, but it can also be the cause of a lot of anxiety for some. Some people are lucky enough to have what we call “the rare one”, which is when a wedding flows according to the timeline without any complications. For the rest of us though, there are bound to be a few bumps in the road along the way! No two weddings are the same when you consider cultures and traditions, locations, traveling, vendor setbacks, weather, and spontaneous moments. Keeping up with the video and photo timeline is not always easy and requires a substantial amount of time, but you’ll never feel like it’s dragged out or a bore. We make the experience fun for everyone, which always helps the time fly by. A “Day after session” is encouraged for those who do not have the time during the wedding day for us to capture the necessary couple session.
We understand that some of you may have a wedding planner that will develop the timeline for your day almost entirely on his or her own, however, for those who want to create their own timeline or compliment the one they received from their wedding/event planner and feel they’re unsure about what to expect or plan for, this guide will be sure to help get you organized and answer all of your questions. For those of you that will have your venue wedding coordinator create your timeline, keep in mind that they typically do not plan for anything prior to the reception.
A few key pieces of advice to begin with:
- Understand and be open to things possibly running behind.
- Live in the moment and enjoy it, it’s your special day and even the speed bumps that come your way are a part of this adventure. Remember, some of the best shots we get are the candid ones.
- Allow yourself to have buffer time throughout the day in case of any setbacks.
- We highly recommend having your cinematography and photography team cover 10 hours, but no less than 8 hours in order to tell your wedding story.
Things to consider:
1. How many hours do you have the videography and photography team for?
2. How long does it take to travel to the different destinations?
- Getting ready at home or another location separate from the Ceremony.
- Ceremony in a different location from the reception.
3. Putting aside adequate time for the bride and groom video and photo session.
- Allow 60 minutes for detailed shots: dress, shoes, rings, etc.
- Allow 45 minutes for make up.
- Allow 45 minutes for hair.
- Allow 30 minutes for the bride getting dressed because no two wedding dresses are the same and some take more work to finish putting on due to lacing, zippers, buttons, and other unique styles.
- Allow 30 minutes for the groom and groomsmen to get dressed for the ceremony.
- Allow 15 minutes for a portrait session with the bride involving her bridesmaids.
- Allow 15 minutes for a portrait session with the groom involving his groomsmen.
- Allow 10-20 minutes for the gift exchange between the bride and groom.
- Allow 10-20 minutes for the exchange and reading of the letters between the bride and groom or any personal messages you want captured on video.
- We find it important that your timeline has room prior to the ceremony that will allow yourself 30 to 60 minutes for refreshing of hair and makeup because factors such as the weather can affect these things during the portrait sessions.
- It’s imperative to go over important information during the wedding rehearsal and to have your officiant make an announcement not only before, but also after about the portrait session to the family, bridal party, friends, and anyone else who is schedule to be a part of the portraits before the ceremony begins:
- We will need the family to stay behind after everyone leaves so we could gather them in a timely fashion to meet with the bridal party and us for their portrait session. This allows us an opportunity to stay on course with the timeline or even perhaps catch up on time lost.
4. This is your special day so once the ceremony ends we want you to cherish it and take it all in as much as you possibly can, but keep in mind how long your cocktail hour is because this is the time you have to get in your portrait sessions.
- Allow 30 minutes for the Bride and Groom portrait session.
- Allow 15 minutes for the bridal party portrait session.
- Allow 15 minutes for the immediate family portrait sessions.
- Factor in travel time if applicable.
5. Will you be doing a first look?
- Allow a 30 minutes time frame.
- The first look takes time because we like to setup from multiple vantage points to capture every moment. Then, once it’s captured, most couples would like a few moments to take it all in and cherish the moment after it’s all shot.
- Time willing, we like to capture the first look as unobtrusively as possible to keep it as authentic as possible, then we can fake a few creative shots afterwards.
6. What time is sunset?
- Natural light is very important because it’s naturally the best lighting and also the most flattering.
- We advise our clients to plan for 2 hours prior to sunset for the best source of lighting possible.
7. Will you plan on doing a grand exit?
- If not then consider moving up your usual reception formalities such at speeches, cake cutting, garter retrieval, and bouquet toss to reduce the amount of coverage needed, which will not only save you money in the end, but it will also allow your wedding guests to enjoy the dance sessions with a limited amount of interruptions.
Do you feel like the time needed will clash with the time you actually have available? Having a late sunset ceremony? Have a preference to shoot at multiple locations? Then the ‘day after session’ is ideal.
Other advantages to this include a relaxed environment to shoot in, the couple gets to enjoy their reception more, and there’s less anxiety related to completing things according to the timeline.
Sample timelines available upon request.