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A good timeline can make the day go much smoother, and ensure that you get the coverage you want for all those important moments.  As wedding photographers, we are often asked to help a couple develop their timeline and we're always willing to help!  We've created these guidelines to help get you started.  Below are suggestions for each part of the day:

When should the photographer(s) arrive?

I usually suggest approximately 90 minutes before the bride gets dressed. This gives us time to photograph details like the dress, jewelry, shoes, bouquets, boutonnieres, cufflinks, etc. and the finishing touches on hair and makeup. Sometimes a hotel room or bridal suite may be too small or unappealing, and it's best to take the dress to other areas (like a lobby or outside) and that adds time. In addition, if hair and makeup details are important to you, extra time is usually required (verify with your hair/makeup artist to be sure).

GETTING DRESSED

Recommended amount of time – 30-60 minutes
Recommended location – bridal suite or hotel room

We LOVE the getting ready shots.  This is where we capture those candid moments just prior to the ceremony as the bride and groom spend those last few moments with their closest friends and family. Often we find that these are some of the most emotional and special parts of the day.  We'll focus on makeup, hair, details, the bride putting on her dress, and the groom touching up the final details.  Typically Kate will be with the bride during this time, and Mike will be with the groom.

INDIVIDUAL PORTRAITS/separate group portraits

Recommended amount of time – 30 minutes
Recommended location – hotel lobby, nearby park, or venue exterior

If time allows, it can be helpful to capture individual and/or small group portraits prior to the ceremony (separately).  This is a great time to do it because makeup and hair are fresh.  The more we can get done prior the ceremony, the less rushed we'll be between the ceremony and reception.  Keep in mind - if the couple does not want to see eachother prior to the ceremony there can be a lot of coordination involved. However, we can still shoot the girls and guys separately, and allow for a little extra room during cocktail hour. Plan ahead to make sure the bride and groom are in separate areas and are able to come out for portraits at different times.

FIRST LOOK (OPTIONAL)

Recommended amount of time – 20 minutes
Recommended location – private garden, nearby park, or venue exterior

We are never going to try to talk you into to something you don't want to do, but there are many advantages to a first look. It takes a lot of pressure out of the cocktail hour portraits, and we can accomplish a lot before the wedding. 

During a first look, we typically get the groom in place first, and allow the bride to come up from behind and approach the groom.  We stand back and allow this moment to be private, capturing the first few minutes from afar.  Following the first look, we'll start with some basic portraits of the bride and groom and finish out with the wedding party photos.

WEDDING PARTY PHOTOS

Recommended amount of time – 20 minutes (immediately following the first look or during cocktail hour)
Recommended location – private garden, nearby park, offsite location, or venue exterior

If you've chosen to do a first look, it's very beneficial to follow immediately with full wedding party photos.  Again, everyone's hair and makeup are fresh and everyone's clothes are put together.  We like to start with the couple, then work our way into the full wedding party, and then end with a few more of the couple alone.  This is a great time to include other loved ones or family pets if you can arrange to have them dropped off for a few minutes.

If you've chosen to wait until the ceremony, the recommended order is a little different.  IMMEDIATELY following the ceremony we prefer to start with the family (see below), and then work our way to the wedding party photos.  We'll start with the formal poses, and move onto the fun and candid shots.

CEREMONY DETAILS

Recommended amount of time – 20 minutes
Recommended location – Ceremony Site

We know you've worked incredibly hard to bring all of those details together into one beautiful ceremony - the programs, aisle decorations, etc.  That's why we want to capture everything prior to your guests being seated if at all possible.  Please allow for 20 minutes of photos prior to the ceremony's start.  This way we can get the details and be in place for when the processional begins.

FAMILY PORTRAITS (FORMALS)

Recommended amount of time – 20-30 minutes
Recommended Location – Ceremony Site

The best advice we can give couples is to plan ahead for the family portraits.  Let everyone know ahead of time that we will be doing the family portraits immediately following the ceremony.  Unless the couple has a specific vision, we always recommend starting big (both sides together) and working our way to smaller groups - brides family, groom's family, parents, grandparents, siblings, etc.).  This way we can slowly dismiss family members as we complete the shots.

It's helpful to assign a family member from each side to help round everyone up and keep them nearby following the ceremony.  Always allow for extra time if your family is large.

the newlyweds

Recommended amount of time – 20 minutes
Recommended location – nearby park, garden, off-site or venue exterior

This is the time to allow for natural portraits of the bride and groom only.  The best locations for couple portraits include remote areas of the venue, natural window lighting, fields or grassy areas, parks, and downtown rustic textures.  If at all possible, plan for these portraits to occur 30 minutes prior to sunset for the best lighting.  If you plan to go off-site, allow for plenty of travel time.  

RECEPTION DETAIL AND VENUE

Recommended amount of time – 30 minutes
Recommended location – Reception Site

Just like your ceremony, we know you've put alot of work into your reception setup as well.  Please allow us to capture those details prior to your guests seating.  This can occur during your cocktail hour, or prior to the ceremony.  If there just isn't time - don't worry, we'll work around your guests.

SNEAK AWAY (OPTIONAL)

Recommended amount of time – 10-20 minutes
Recommended location – areas with dramatic lighting, water, city scapes, landscapes

We love sneak away photos!  If your venue has a rooftop terrace, or illuminated garden, or any other interesting feature, let's capture that later in the night.  The best time for this is right when open dancing starts and your guests are busy enjoying themselves.  We really only need a few minutes and the results can be powerful.  This can also serve as a time for the bride and groom to take a moment away from the action and spend a little time together before rejoining their friends and family.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

Transportation – If you know you want to go off site for photos, always build in travel time.  Some couples choose to provide transportation which helps streamline travel time, especially for larger wedding parties.

Table Shots – Some couples like photos as they make their rounds during the reception.  If you want formal poses at each table, this can be very time consuming and you should plan for extra time.  We recommend a more candid approach or a combination of the two - for instance, only capture formal shots with your closest family.

Cocktail hour – If you want to spend your cocktail hour mingling with guests, we recommend choosing to do a first look and capturing the majority of your wedding party and couple photos prior to the ceremony.  This allows for only a quick family portrait session after the ceremony, saving much time.  If you do not want to see eachother before the ceremony, it's imperative that you allow a minimum of one hour of photography time between the ceremony and reception to capture the family photos, wedding party photos, and couple photos.

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