Ok ok, I know that planning a wedding day can be super confusing so I've broken it down into easy segments for what "most" days are made up of. Your day should reflect the two of your and your values, so take this information and do it your way!
Although I've done this wedding thing a lot more times than most and I've put together these sample schedules, that does not mean that I know all the things that are important for the two of you to consider. Things like if you've got children or grandparents to consider for the family photo timings and you might want these to be earlier. Or if you two want to get the photos done and dusted right after the ceremony instead of later in the day. There are pros and cons to all things, the decisions you two make should be yours, so these are just here to be guides, to help you figure out what is important to the two of you and to help educate how much time certain parts of a day take! And always, always, remember to check the time of your sunset and travel timings!
Below I've popped together a little guide so you can check out what we document during different parts of the day and also how much time is recommended and why!
Depending on your chosen coverage and what you want to be documented on your big day, this is usually when we arrive. The kind of things we capture during this time are the details, the things you've spent time and money on, candid photos of you and your family and friends while you're having the final touches of makeup done, getting into your suit or dress or googling how to tie a bow tie. We will let you know what rooms are best suited to get ready in and prompt you on what to do and when, so you're ready on time but it's candid rather than posed. We are just there to capture what ever you're getting up to, document the details and make your day fun. Whether you've chosen to do a round of golf, have a beautiful lunch or are creating a vibe with your favourite wedding playlist, we are here to document it. For the guys, we ideally want to be there for 45 - 90 minutes, for the girls, 90 - 120 minutes. If you've chosen to have us create a film for you, the longer time frames are much better than the shorter ones but of course it's entirely up to you two!
Often times couples choose to do a first look so that they're not so nervous during the ceremony and other times it's more of a decision based on wanting to have all the photos out of the way before they see their guests. It's entirely up to the two of you whether you want to do a first look! The pros would be that you're photos can then be taken before the wedding ceremony, meaning you can spend more time with your family and friends after the ceremony as you've already done your photos with your wedding party and as a couple. The cons would be that it means the girls have to get up a lot earlier for hair and makeup to start or to have more people doing hair and makeup. Another con might be that the light around the time of many first looks isn't as nice as later in the day. A way to avoid being super squinty in your first look and wedding party and couple photos would be to choose a location in the shade, like a forest or under trees. That way we can diffuse the light a bit and you'll be less shadowy on your faces. We usually only need around 15 minutes for a first look in your schedule.
The ceremony is when we are going to capture the two of you being married! We usually like to be there around 15-30 minutes before your ceremony start time, 30 minutes if we are doing film so that we can set up to record your ceremony. Before the ceremony, we are capturing your ceremony location, the guests arriving and greeting one another, meeting your celebrant and making sure we know what's going to happen when. The longer your ceremony is, the more time we have to create images from various angles for you two. Documenting the formal things like the actual ceremony, the first kiss, the ring exchange, signing the papers but also the moments in between, like your guests wiping their tears or laughing along at the story of the two of you. Your parents or grandparents reactions to your vows. Your own reactions. The wedding party standing up there supporting the two of you. After you walk back up the aisle, our favourite thing is to allow you two to have time with your family and friends, to have a drink and maybe even eat a canape and be congratulations before anything else happens! This is when all the candid photos of your friends taking photos in front of your archway, the congratulatory handshakes and hugs or gasping at the rings is going to happen. Imagine having 120 guests, if you only gave them 30 second of your time to say hello, that's still a good hour. That's way we recommend allowing a decent break here before anything else happens to just be present with your people. The formal photos can wait, and, usually the light is going to be better later anyway, we want you to to enjoy your day with your family and friends, and not feel like you need to rush your photos to get back to your guests!
This is usually referred to as the time when you feed your guests some canapés or a grazing table, and the couple and their wedding party disappear for wedding party and couple photos. BUT, if you want, you know you can be here for this too right? You get to do your day how ever you want. Some couples work with their venues to allow them time to be present with their family and friends rather than rushing from formal event to formal event. So, if that is want you want to do, have that buffer time to be with your people! This could be the cocktail hour, it could be a more relaxed dinning experience like a food truck rather than formal dinner. It could be time allowed after the ceremony to be congratulated or even having a first look and getting your photos out of the way before the ceremony so you can be present for this time instead of heading off for photos! What ever you guys want to do. Some couples also choose to slot in the family and formal group photos while the guests are being served drinks and canapés, before anyone who has to leave early has to head off.
These are those line up, have a photo with the bride and groom photos. Most couples choose to start with a big group photo, then while we have everyones attention, we announce that we are about to do the family and group photos and for those that are required to either come with us or listen for their names. It's a great idea to have your MC or a helper to organise the groups to come up as needed. Sometimes couples even decide to just say, if anyone wants a photo with the bride and groom get in a line! You can do this how ever you want and I've popped together some handy tips and a sample list here for you guys. There are a couple of places most couples pop these, either after the ceremony and congratulations, before you go away for your wedding party & couple photos or, my personal favourite, the last half an hour before the reception starts, while your guests are getting themselves ready to sit down for the reception. This is a great time as once a group has had their photo, they can go get a drink, use the bathroom and find their seat so we aren't interrupting the flow of the day too much. Usually you need to allow 3-5 minutes per group of people, and around 5-10 or so minutes for the big group photo to be organised. If you're doing a formal list, I recommend putting your 'must have' groups at the top and your 'it doesn't matter if we skip these' at the bottom, so that if you get tired of it you can stop without missing out on something like a photo with your mum or grandparents!
This is the time when you head off somewhere with your wedding party and have photos with them and as a couple! Many couples choose to make this a bit fun by bringing along a speaker and their favourite playlist or a hamper of food and drinks. During this time we usually capture you and your wedding party having some fun as well as the more traditional wedding party photos as a group and as bridesmaids and groomsmen. Sometimes if you're schedule allowed for it, we might even have time to photograph everyone individually which is perfect for the wedding album. I usually recommend allowing 90 minutes for this and only choosing one or two locations. The more buffer time you allow here, the more fun this can be and less rushed to capture all the variations. Remember to allow time to move from location to location, even if it's only a 5 minute drive, time is still taken up by getting everyone into the cars, doing lippy touch ups or waiting for someone to get back from the bathroom before we can head off. About half of this time is spent with the wedding party, with the second half of the time spend with just the two of you. That way we can capture some beautiful images of the two of you without your friends watching the whole time! If you'd like more locations or you have a really large wedding party you might want to allow more time and if you only want one location and have a really small wedding party (like 4-6 including the two of you) you might only need 60 minutes.