The Wedding Guide
So this whole wedding thing is new to you and you're freaking out a little. We know that planning a wedding is stressful beyond belief and wanted to help you out a bit. Over the past ten years we've photographed hundreds of weddings and we've learned a lot. We know what works and what doesn't and wanted to share that with you so you can have a stress free and more fun wedding day experience. This guide will cover everything from the getting ready portion of the day to the reception. We'll go over timelines, formal photo lists, what to have ready and what to not worry about. We hope this guide helps a little in your wedding planning process and allows you to actually enjoy your wedding day.
Every wedding needs a solid timeline to succeed. It's truly what we'll keep you from losing your mind so we wanted to start things off with a quick timeline overview. Seeing a what all goes into a wedding day from this perspective will help you understand each section of the day. Each wedding is different but below are a couple timeline options based on 9 and 7 hours of photography coverage. One with a first look and one without. Your times may shift depending on your venue and ceremony but these are good starting points to creating a timeline of your own.
9 hours of coverage with First Look
12:30 - Photographers Arrive
12:30-2:00 - Getting Ready & Detail Photos
2:00-3:00 - First Look / Bride & Groom Portraits
2:30-3:30 - Wedding Party Photos
3:30-4:00 - Formal Family Photos
4:30-5:00 - Photos of Ceremony Details & Guests Arriving
5:00-5:30 - Ceremony
5:30-6:30 - Cocktail Hour
6:30-9:30 - Reception
9:30 - Photographers Depart
7 hours of coverage with No First Look
1:00 - Photographers Arrive
1:00-2:30 - Getting Ready & Detail Photos
2:30-3:00 - Wedding Party Photos (Each Side Photographed Separately)
3:00-3:30 - Photos of Ceremony Details & Guests Arriving
3:30-4:00 - Ceremony
4:00-4:15 - Formal Family Photos
4:15-4:30 - Wedding Party Photos
4:30-5:00 - Bride & Groom Portraits
5:00 - Reception Starts
8:00 - Photographers Depart
The number one thing with the getting ready portion of your photography coverage is to be ready. I don't mean to be completely dressed and ready to go but have things ready for when your photographer shows up. First, make sure you have a space with good natural light and that is cleared of any clutter. A clean and well lit room will go a long way when it comes to photos. Second, have your details ready. That includes, wedding rings, invitation suite, shoes, dress, jewelry, watches, and anything that has meaning to you and your story. Detail photos are typically how coverage starts and allows us to ease our way into the rest of getting ready photos. Third, be calm. At this point in the day nerves are building up and not just for the bride and groom but for everyone in the wedding party. Things start to get a little more real so keep reminding yourself to have fun and relax. If you're tense and stressed you'll see it in your photos and there is no photoshop to fix that.
First Look & Portraits
The biggest question for couples is usually wether they want to do a first look or not and honestly it's totally up to you! There is no right or wrong answer with this one but I will list a few advantages of going through with it. First and most of all you get to have an amazing moment seeing each other for the first time in a more private setting. This allows you to just let your feelings and love for each other just happen. It's simple and it's great! Second, it allows you to do most if not all of your photos before the ceremony. Getting the portraits, wedding party photos, and formal family photos out of the way before the ceremony means that after the ceremony everyone can simply get to the cocktail hour and start having fun. Finally, a first look allows you to do your portrait session while you are still looking and feeling your best. As the day goes on and your moving around your hair, make up, dress, tux all just start to not be the same and if you look and feel good in your portrait session you'll enjoy your photos so much more.
Wedding Party Photos
Wedding party photos are a perfect way to get you favorite family and friends included into your wedding day story and they are usually so excited to be a part of you celebration. However, when it comes to the big group photos trust me when I say less is more. These wedding party photos are fun don't get me wrong but they are usually the last thing your friends and family want to do when there is partying right around the corner so keeping this part of the day quick is key.
Just like the wedding party photos keeping the formal family photos quick and easy will go a long way. The number one thing is letting your family know that they will be in a photo during this time of the day. Also, having a list of photo combinations for your photographer will be super helpful as they will be able to go right down the list and not miss any important family member. To keep you and your photographer from going crazy try to keep your photo combinations of your immediate family only. Remember you can always snatch your aunt and uncle for a photo during the reception. Here is a sample list of photo combinations. Remember to right out names on the list so your photographer can simply call the person over.
Bride + Groom + Bride's Parents + Groom's Parents
Bride + Groom + Bride's Parents + Groom's Parents + All Siblings
Bride + Groom + Bride's Parents
Bride + Groom + Bride's Parents + Bride's Siblings
Bride + Bride's Parents
Bride + Bride's Mom
Bride + Bride's Dad
Bride + Groom + Groom's Parents
Bride + Groom + Groom's Parents + Bride's Siblings
Groom + Groom's Parents
Groom + Groom's Mom
Groom + Groom's Dad