Your wedding day will probably not run entirely to plan (they seldom do!), especially if you have a very tight time schedule. Today’s guest post from our lovely sponsor Carla of Carla Thomas Photography will help you to plan your day realistically, including all important time for photographs…!
If you speak to any bride, she will tell you how very little of her day she remembers, how it flew past before she could take a breath. There are ways you can stop this from happening, but that is for another post!
You have organised things to happen at certain times throughout your day, so to help things run according to your plans, it is best to have a timeline for your wedding. Make copies and share it with your on-the-day support, so they can help you keep your day running to time and to avoid stress.
When you are putting your timeline together, you need to bear in mind what images you want from your day. If the day is not running to time, time spent with your photographer is usually the first thing cut in order to keep you on track.
To help you put your timeline together for a fantastic and stress free day, here is a look at how long some elements of your day could take.
Bridal Preparation: 60 minutes
Your hair and make-up will often take longer than you anticipated. For this reason, you should allow 50% more time than originally anticipated to help keep your time line on track.
For bridal preparation/getting ready images, allow at least 60 minutes for your photographer to photograph the your dress, shoes, accessories etc. as well as capture moments between you and your bridal party.
Ceremony: 5-60 minutes
Ceremonies vary in length depending on the type of service you are having with church wedding typically being longer than civil ones.
Work with your officiator to find out roughly how long each part of your service will take and add five minutes to avoid running late if it runs longer than planned.
Receiving Line: 30-60 Minutes
If you have 150 wedding guests, your receiving line could take about 30 minutes. For each additional 100 guests, add 15 minutes.
If you have limited time on your day for photographs for whatever reason, then it is probably best not to have one.
Formal Group Portraits: 20 + minutes
For each grouping of people, allow 2-3 minutes per photo. For groups larger than 12 people, allow 5-10 minutes to get everyone in place. It takes roughly 20 minutes to take 10-12 group photos. It is probably best to have your formal group shots as soon as possible after your ceremony or upon arriving at your reception venue. Your guests can then mingle and relax while you are having your couple portraits taken.
Couple Portraits: 30-120 minutes
There are very few times during your wedding your day for you to be alone, and this is one of them. My relaxed, natural photography style will give you some time to enjoy the fact you are husband and wife. Most portraits can be done within 30 minutes, however, if your schedule allows for more time and you want a greater variety of images of you both, then do it. Just think, more photos and more time alone together!
Once the above have taken place, the rest of the day, the wedding breakfast, the speeches etc. can just flow as everyone is now together and where they need to be.
I have a wedding questionnaire that I ask my couples to complete and return to me at least a week before the wedding. It not only helps me understand some of the finer details of your day, but it gives you a chance to see your day planned out in black and white so you can see where your time line may need to be tweaked to ensure a stress free and memorable day.
If like me you prefer things visually, here is an example timeline up from bridal preparation to the wedding breakfast. Please note that this is intended as a general starting point. There are so many factors that make each wedding unique that you may want to tweak this for your day.
Sample Timeline For a 2pm Church Wedding Up To The First Dance
09:00 – Wake up, though chances are you will already be up. Make sure you have breakfast as it will be a long time before you have the chance to eat again.
10:00 – Hair and make-up begins. As the bride, your hair should be done first to make sure your style is perfected and not rushed.
10:30–11:00 – Photographer arrives.
12:00–12:30 – time to get into your dress.
13:15 – Groom, best man and ushers arrive at wedding ceremony location to greet guests.
13:50 – Bridesmaids arrive at the ceremony, just ahead of the bride.
14:00 – Wedding ceremony begins
15:00 – Time for confetti and any post ceremony images to be taken at the venue. Everyone then travels to the reception venue
15:45 – Formal wedding photographs are taken while your guests enjoy the drinks reception.
16:15 – Head off with your photographer for your couple shots.
17:00 – Wedding breakfast begins. Allow 90 minutes if having a 3 course meal.
18:45 – Speeches
19:15 – Cutting of the cake. You can then take some time to mingle with your guests and freshen up before the first dance.
20:00 – First dance.
All images are by Carla, why not see some more of her gorgeous images on her website – http://www.carlathomasphoto.com/