Your wedding is the start of a whole new life adventure and we want you to enjoy your day as much as possible.
We spend most of the day quietly capturing all the amazing moments as they unfold. Everything mentioned in this guide is about making your day stress free, maximizing your time with your guests and making sure we can capture lots of beautiful photos of your day.
Not everything mentioned in this guide might apply to your day so feel free to skip to the parts that do.
Your timeline is a huge part of planning process and is one of the main foundations of the day. There are so many aspects to a wedding timeline therefore there is no exact template to suit everybody's day.
There is however tips in this guide to help you with your timeline making that will make your photos the best they can possibly be.
As your photographer I want to be able to help tailor your timeline to your venue and your exact date so i'm always here to check in with as you create your day's timeline.
Here is a few draft timelines you can use as a base or get ideas from.
I suggest having us arrive an hour and a half before it's time to leave for the ceremony or first look. We want time to capture the details, the end of the makeup and hair, putting on the dress and you and your bridesmaids hanging out.
If we are planning a first look with your dad/ mum/ cat etc or any other extra activity during getting ready we will add extra time for that.
Your hair and makeup artist should help you work out what time they will start depending on the amount of bridesmaids and other people getting done. I do however strongly suggest that hair and makeup is set to wrap up at least half an hour before leaving time. This means if they are running behind time or your dress takes a while to get on, you still have more then enough time to relax and take your time with the dress etc. If you have extra plans after hair and makeup then take that into consideration and add extra time for that.
We don't usually spend as much time with the groom capturing the getting ready portion of the day, however this is totally dependent on grooms preference and plans.
Some grooms decide not to have photos done during getting ready, if this is you then you can skip this part! While some grooms have lots planned and want us there to capture it all.
We roughly average around 40 minutes for grooms coverage, this is usually to capture the details, the boys hanging out and then putting suits on. However we will discuss with you what you have planned as some decide to do an activity and want that captured too.
What time you decide for your ceremony is what everything else is centered around. The time of year your wedding is and where you're having your ceremony will change the ideal time. For example some venues will lose the sun faster then others and a Summer wedding will start getting dark at 8 pm while a Winter wedding will get dark around 5 pm.
I always suggest staying away from the midday sun, therefore a later ceremony is ideal.
If you decide on a first look it is best to have an much later ceremony since you will have your bridal and couple photos already out of the way and so you don't do your first look during midday either.
This is dependent on the amount of group shots you want and how big each groups is.
We will chat about this and how much time I think your family photos need.
Most timelines have 30-40 minutes set out for family photos.
I always suggest to add a 10 minute buffer to either side of each planned part of your day. It means if anything goes wrong you always have a bit of extra time.
Bridal party photos
Bridal party photos tend to take half an hour but can take longer depending on if you want multiple locations and how far they are from each other. I always try to have at least two different areas for bridal party photos but these could be seconds apart (for example two different areas of a garden.)
Here it is, the final part of your day! Most couples have us there to capture the entrance, cake cutting, speeches and the first dance. Usually that means we will stay for dinner and capture the dancing before we leave. If you are wanting to do an exit (sparklers, flower confetti etc) it is best not to leave it to late as we still want some light so you can see your gorgeous venue and all your lovely guests!
A first look generally doesn't take more then fifteen minutes, however make sure you factor in travel if you need too. Try to avoid doing your first look between twelve and one pm as this is the harshest light of the day.
Couple photos tend to take half an hour to an hour depending on if you want multiple locations and how far they are from each other.
If you are unsure how long you would like we can discuss this in detail as it really depends on your ceremony/reception venue and areas around it.
I suggest adding a space between the ceremony and family photos (If you are doing family photos) for hugs, greetings, congrats etc. This is really up to you how much time you put for this but you are better with extra time then not enough.
I would say this usually averages at about 15 minutes.
Choosing your MC
Your MC has a huge role in running your day so it's super important to make sure you choose the right person for the job. Why am I mentioning this as your photographer you may ask?
Number one is because I love you guys and want you to have the best person running your day so you don't have to stress! Number two is because they are the first point of contact for vendors on the day if we have a question or problem. The third reason is because they have a large part in organizing the group/family photos.
We ask that your MC introduces themselves so we know who to come to if we need to ask anything important (we don't want to have to bug you on your day!)
When it comes to group photos they should have the list of all the groups you want photos of so they can then herd the right people to the right place.
The better at wrangling people they are the less stressful and faster group photos are.
Tips, Tips and more Tips
For couple photos I prefer to separate these from the bridal party photos so we have more of an intimate setting where you can be away from everyone for a small while (other than us)
if your photos are after the ceremony your bridal party can go back to cocktail hour after your group photos to gibvve you some private moments. In a first look situation we can do couple photos straight after the first look before going back to the bridal party or after bridal party photos when you send them back to freshen up for the ceremony.
I definitely recommend having an unplugged ceremony. It's a good idea to not only have a sign but get your officiant or MC to mention it before the ceremony starts. It makes my job harder if I have people leaning into the aisle blocking my shots of important moments. This is especially important in small ceremony areas where I have limited options of where to shoot from.
Remember that there are no Rules!!
Have an early morning first look, have pizza for dinner, have a friend perform the ceremony and sign the papers later, wear a red dress and a crown and a cape, get tattoos, read your favorite book quote for your vows, play rock paper scissors for who gets to pick the first dance song.
There are endless option and all that matters is you celebrate it the way you want too.
Depending on your venue, the weather and the time your reception is, we might get a pretty sunset!
If you have a feeling there will be one, feel free to set aside some time during your reception to pop out for some photos.
If you don't set aside time no fear! If we do get a gorgeous sunset i'll give you a poke and ask if you want to pop out for some photos. Then you can decide then if you want to or not!
During Family photos my second shooter will be wandering around capturing guests mingling, make sure that your guests know they can ask him for a couple/group photo if they want one!
During cocktail hour and congratulations we are both wandering so grab our attention if you or guests want a specific photo with someone!
On the Day
I love photographing every part of a wedding day, But I must say getting ready is one of my favourite parts. This is the time where you still have all those butterfly’s. You’re nervous, excited and spending time with the people that you're closest too before you walk down the aisle.
I ask that the bride has all their details ready before I arrive so I can spend less time gathering items and more time capturing you getting ready. You can add anything else special or meaningful that you want included in the details, also if you have a themed wedding it’s a great idea to grab something that represents your theme.
Keep all 3 rings with your details until after getting ready where you can hand them off for safe keeping, this way I can get the great ring shots in the morning with the rest of your beautiful details.
Please have your dress hung up along with your bridesmaid’s dress’s so they are all ready for me to get photos of! I recommend using nice coat hangers as they look much better in pictures then old plastic ones.
(I promise I will take great care of your dress!)
For the groom I ask that all your details are ready with you when I arrive, Just like the bride, make sure you add anything that’s meaningful to you or represents your day. This may be something you gave to all your groomsmen, something passed down to you or something that represents your theme.
What you need ready for me
What you can do to make you getting ready photos the best they can be?
Make sure you don’t have any unnecessary mess or rubbish laying around, a nice clean room in ideal!
Window light is my favorite light. If possible, get ready in a room with lots of window light, where we won’t need to use lamps or artificial light. Having an orange tungsten light mixed in with the window is not ideal for color. So I always prefer to turn all lights off and rely only on window light.
For the brides.
I suggest doing hair/ makeup next to a window, it’s much better for photos and gives your h/mu artist lots of light to work with!
I suggest you get the bridesmaids to get into their dresses before you, this means when I photograph first reactions to dress, or helping you with your dress they are already in their dresses for those photos.
I recommend putting jewelry on after you put on your dress, I love shooting all those final steps once in your gown!
This is the moment you’ve been waiting for and for a lot of people, the moment they’ve been dreaming of since they were a little kid. Remind yourself to breathe, forget about all the other little details and remember that your about to marry the love of your life.
Make sure when you plan your day you give yourself more time then you think you need! you would rather extra time to relax then be running late and stressing!
Make sure that your wedding party walks at a slow enough pace with enough distance between each couple so that I can get photos of all of them coming down the aisle.
There you have it!
I hope my wedding guide can help you with your planning and I'm always here if you have any questions or need to bounce ideas off someone!
I am so excited to photograph you and your love on your wedding day!