We’ve been shooting weddings for 10 years now, and in those 10 years we’ve shot many, many weddings, been guests at a bunch of weddings, played music at a handful of weddings, officiated a few, and even had our own.
To say that we’ve been to our more than our fair share of weddings is an understatement.
But we’ve yet to grow tired of them. In fact, we love them! Each wedding and each couple have their own feel and vibe. It’s an honor and a privilege to walk through, help create, and document some of the most amazing and tender moments in a couple’s life.
In our years of wedding photography, we’ve learned a few things about what makes planning great wedding day photography timelines.
Creating Your Wedding Timeline is a Collaborative Process
As you plan your wedding timeline, you don’t need to do it alone. Ask for help, particularly from your photographer and your wedding coordinator or planner. They have experience that you can draw on and learn from.
They also have preferences for how they work best. If you allow them to be a part of your process, you’ll be able to create something that works best for everyone.
As wedding photographers, we sit down with our couples (in person or on skype) to talk through details of their day and to plan together when and where to slot photography time. If they have a wedding planner, we’ll work with her or him as well to create a stress free schedule.
Plan Extra Time for Your Photography
More often than not, something unexpected will derail your day. A zipper breaks, a groomsman forgot his tie, a traffic jam slows everyone down, a bride’s hair takes a few minutes longer than anticipated.
These things happen. And when they do, it’s often the photography that suffers. Why? Because it’s the easiest thing to cut back on your wedding day.
Unfortunately, photography is also one of the most important parts of your wedding day. When you cut into photography time, you cut back on the images and memories you’ll have to savor the day.
The best way to have a stress free day is to plan for them. Plan more than enough time for your photography.
Communicate Your Schedule to Everyone Involved
This includes family, bridal party, hair and makeup professionals, officiants, musicians, chauffeurs, coordinators, and even guests. In order for the day to flow smoothly, everyone has to know where to be and when. Unfortunately, not everyone wants to be concerned with the timeline.
As photographers, we do our best to keep you on schedule, communicate with the important parties, and make amazing images, but our time is often limited by other people.
If the family arrives for photos 20 minutes late, we can try to make use of that time, but mostly it’s a wasted 20 minutes.
If the get-away vehicle isn’t in place after the ceremony, we can’t leave to go do portraits.
You get the idea.
Hand Off Responsibilities to Capable People
One of the factors that can often derail a wedding is when the couple leaves too many things for them to do on their day. This is where wedding planners really shine: they make sure you don’t have to worry about anything.
If you don’t have a professional wedding planner, then make sure you have someone that you’ve explicitly asked to take care of all the details on the day of.
You’ll have enough to process without worrying about finishing the decorations or writing the last seat assignments.
Roll with the Punches on Your Wedding Day
Your wedding day should be fun. It’s a big day with a lot of emotions and things to think about. The last thing that you want is to be stressed about hiccups in the plan.
If you have ample time built in and everyone knows where to be when, your day is going to go just fine. Roll with the punches. Sometimes the unplanned and unexpected surprises create the best moments.