Timeline & Schedule
Because no one likes to be rushed...
How the heck do I plan my wedding?!
It's a super common question I get asked on a weekly, sometimes daily bases... So I thought I would take the time to put together this post so that you can see from my experience how a timeline would look for a fairly standard day from when I as a photographer would normally start and even why I recommend this timeline. Also I will go into more detail about how I approach the day and how you can get the best photos possible!
But please remember, before I even start that this day your day, and it's super important for you guys to do it however you wish! The most important thing is you want to take it all in and you don't want to feel rushed!!
Let's dive into this & not muck around...
Groom Prep - 30-45 minutes
I find groom prep always fun, I think that we get to see the boys having a couple of beers, hanging out and starting to get nervous. Usually once that suit is on, it's all starting to get pretty real for them! As the majority of the time I shoot weddings solo it does mean that the groom and groomsmen do get a little "stitched up". They usually have to get ready a little early then they would like but lets be honest throwing a suit on last minute and putting a little something in the hair is a lot easier than having to get up at 5am to start the hair and make up process. So us boys will just have to suck it up!
Matt's Top Tip: It's also important in your full timeline to remember that if you are getting ready in different locations to allow travel time for myself to get from Groom to Bridal prep!
Bridal Prep 1-1.5 Hours
From the second that I walk in the door at the bridal prep I feel like the bride always starts to get that nervous feeling like "today is my wedding day". Its always an exciting time, to get capture the raw emotions of brides before they walk down the aisle, the first look for the brides father, or maybe the bridesmaids. I am there to shoot all the details, the reactions and most of all you the bride preparing to say I do. I'm also there to help you! To help fix any last minute issues, to give you a pump up of excitement or maybe even just to let you know that everything is going to be okay, to calm you down if you're feeling worried & most of all give you some horrible jokes.
Ceremony - 20 - 40 minutes
Woohoo, we are here!!
This part is my absolute favourite!! From the nervous vibes of the groom hanging to see his bride walk down the aisle, hearing your vows, to being pronounced Husband & Wife and have that good old smooch.
Leaving the ceremony watching the joy and excitement on your faces with maybe some flower petals or confetti is always a highlight of my day!
Take into consideration what time sunset is, and what is happening after your ceremony so that you can make the most of the natural light.
Matt's Top Tip: To work out what time you should have your ceremony. I would normally work backwards from sunset. Allowing time for all the necessary parts of your day and making sure you aren't trying to cram too much in a small time. If you are still confused, let's chat! Its important to get this start time right because everything else with flow from this.
Post Ceremony mingling & Family Photos: 30-45mins
Your married, you did it!
Now this is such an exciting time, everyone is pumped, full of excitement and happiness after just watching you guys get married. I think its sooo important to enjoy this time if your schedule allows it take some time to chat with your family and friends. Jump up and down, celebrate with them. By doing this it also takes some of the pressure off your reception & having to rush around seeing everyone because you have already said your hello's to a stack of people! Then you can flow into your Family Photos.
Matt's Top Tip: If you can get one or two people from each side of the family or a bridal party member to be in charge of getting those most important to you ready for the family photos it's always a good idea! Writing a list of those important people isn't a bad idea either!
Post Ceremony Portraits: 1-1.5 hours
Sometimes this part can be daunting but honestly it's where we have the most fun (besides the dance floor of course!). I want you guys to be yourselves, to act however you normally do. I want you to move, I want you to dance, I want you to snuggle on into each other and maybe most importantly don't over think it just go with the flow. But all of this isn't possible if we don't leave enough time for this to happen! It takes time to feel comfortable being in front of a camera and everyone wants those beautiful images. No one wants to feel rushed, ever looked at yourself in the mirror when you are stressed, flustered or upset about something? We can avoid this and hopefully with this post you will feel more of top of your timeline so that we have the time and space to create some magic.
This is where I will throw in a disclaimer about you feeling bad that your guests will be waiting a long time for you between ceremony and reception... Your guests will expect and want you to go off to have all the photos. These photos are important and I promise you I have never heard a guest complain about having to wait for you to return while they are getting all the alcohol and delicious food!
For non-daylight savings weddings, its an awesome opportunity to take photos at that perfect golden hour time of the day. So make sure your ceremony start time is planned for this!
For daylight savings weddings it's also always a good opportunity to take advantage of the beautiful golden hour sunset and take 15 minutes or so out of your reception, just the two of you as Husband & Wife to get these shots. It's not only about the photos for me though, it's also an opportunity for you guys to have a break just the two of you, to have a chat and remember the day.
Matt's Top Tip: 100% my favourite time of day to shoot is around sunset (golden hour) or just after (blue hour). As i mentioned above depending what time of year you get married this will look differently for you, but it's definitely a perfect idea to plan some time in your day to take advantage of this time of day! You won't regret it.
Did someone say dance floor?!
Starting off the reception the right way always sets the vibes for the night. If the Bridal party comes in way having the best time, dancing like no one is watching, maybe making a fool of themselves a little it makes all your guests feel comfortable. Get creative make that entrance memorable!
When it comes to the formalities for the night there are no real "rules" but I think its definitely worth splitting up your speeches into two parts especially if you have 4 or more speeches. Cake cutting into first dance into dance floor is always a good progression to keep the good times rolling!
Matt's Top Tip: There is also an opportunity to do some nighttime portraits if that is something that you would want to do, this normally only takes between 5-10mins.
Fake Exits: 10-20 Minutes
I feel like whenever chatting with couples about this part of the night before their wedding. I'm always super surprised at how many couples want to do something fun to exit but feel like they don’t want to do it due to the fact that maybe the photographer & videographer won’t be there...
Which is maybe true, we don’t normally hang around until you are ready to leave but “fake exits” are 100% a thing in the wedding world!!
Yes it may sound strange to do a fake exit but it’s all for the “gram” right?? I personally think it’s definitely worth it!
Matt's Top Tip: If you are doing sparklers, lots of sparklers and lighters to light them all never is a bad thing! It's also not necessary to have everyone, you could just get your families and bridal party involved or you could just get some of your friends.
Examples of Timelines
This timeline is a guide for you, it will give you an idea of how much time you need to allocate for each section of your day and for how long I would generally need to capture all the parts properly. Of course this is just a guideline and it could end up taking as long as you wish for it to take! This doesn't include any travel between locations so please take this into consideration when you are organising your day.
Groom Prep: 30-45mins
Bride Prep: 1-1.5 hours
Mingle with guests: 15-20mins
Family photos: 15-20mins
Post ceremony portraits: 1-1.5hours
Sunset shots (if able): 10-20mins
Fake Exits: 15mins appox. (depending how well your guests are listening!)
Night Time Magic: 10-15mins
Outside of these timing the rest just falls into place around your food service and also how long you have booked me as the photographer for!
Well if you made it this far in my rather long post about the timeline of your day and you got through all my thoughts on different parts of the day you deserve to give yourself a hi-5! I hope you read all of this and it might help get you thinking about your day.
Please remember, I want you to do your day however you wish! There is no pressure at all for you to follow what I have said on this post, but I hope that it will give you some clarity, some direction and some confidence when it comes to planning your day.
There is no right or wrong way to do your day. There is only your way! It is important to leave space for the important parts and to not feel rushed!
If you have more questions, or are confused about anything feel free to drop me a message or give me a buzz. I ultimately want to help you guys through this process. Its my hope that I make it easier and not more stressful. If you have any problems I am your go to guy to help you with these problems. After all at your wedding, we will spend a lot of time together, we will be best friends by the end of this experience and I am so excited to be apart of your day!
Matt's Pro Tip: Remember that timeline's can change throughout the day, things can happen that are out of your control. Don't stress yourselves out on the timeline, we are there to help make things happen. Your guest's don't know your timeline either, so if some things don't go to plan it's not the end of the world. It will all happen and we can make it work! This your day. I want to make sure you enjoy yourselves and have THE best day possible!
I hope this all makes sense! I hope it helps you in your planning process and gives you some clarity towards what your day could look like!
Don't be a stranger, reach out to me if you need some help! Let's Chat
Remember... your story is worth telling & I can't wait to be apart of your day.