Be Realistic With Your Schedule.
Fancy some top tips for planning a stress-free wedding? On your wedding day, everything will take longer than you think and mishaps can happen. Zippers can go, flowers may need a glue gun, people may be late, cars can break down, the list goes on. Let people around you help and don’t panic. Create a timeline that allows for this, so you don’t feel rushed.
The earlier you have your ceremony the better, especially in winter. Why? Light! In winter, it can get very dull by 4 pm consider this when booking a winter wedding ceremony. You definitely don't want to capture your portraits in the dark. In December even 3.30 can get very dim. I recommend having a winter mass at 12 pm.
Here are a few of my, 'Top Tips for planning a Wedding'.
Brace your selves for a lot of info! :)
Hair & Makeup.
Your hair and makeup artists are professionals and know the schedule of a wedding morning. As you’re fleshing out your wedding-day schedule, ask your hair/makeup artist for an estimated time on how long this process will take. They’ll give you a timescale as to how long everything takes with each person. So be sure to give them a list of who wants what done on the day, then they aren’t delayed with last-minute requests. Be sure to book in a bridal trial also.
Think about what order you'll have your hair and makeup done. The last thing you want is to be answering the door and getting photographs and video taken with no makeup. Discuss this with your hair/makeup artists. Although you don't want to be first in line so as to keep it fresh, definitely arrange to be somewhere in the early middle. This way your makeup artist can give you a touch up at the end allowing your photographer to capture some nice photographs.
Some stylists will stay around to put on the veil, be sure to check this out if it's a concern.
If you're having it all done at a salon, remember to factor in travel times and traffic back to the house.
Your photographer will usually arrive at the house for about an hour to an hour and a half before the ceremony. This gives plenty of time to capture your dress and accessories as well as all the interactions in the house. At a typical wedding, I usually arrive at the bride's around 11.30 with the ceremony starting at 1 pm. If the groom is close by I'm usually at his for 10.30. If not I usually push things back a half hour and arrive at the church earlier. This will, of course, need to be discussed with the hair/makeup artists.
Your photographer will want at least 10 minutes with you on your own before you leave the house to capture some beautiful portraits. Make sure this isn’t rushed.
Leave yourself enough time to keep relaxed and enjoy this moment. Your photographer wants to capture some beautiful shots around this time.
If you want shots with parents before you leave for the church, schedule this in also. Remember you will be doubling up on these later though.
And it's off to the ceremony....
Consider traffic and how long it will take you to get there. It's typical for a bride to be 5-10 minutes late. Keep it at that, remember it's your day and you want to get it started. Delays early on mean delays later.
An ideal civil/ humanist ceremony length is around 30 minutes. With religious ceremonies, it can be a lot more. Anything for 45 minutes - 1h 30. Check with your priest if so and don't forget to factor in readings and music and the kids if any.
The receiving line.
Depending on how many guests you have this can take anywhere from 15 to around 35 minutes. Your photographer will guide you through where to stand and get it set up. If you're having a winter wedding consider moving this part of the day to the venue for the entrance. You can let your hotel know in advance to arrange for guests to be at the entrance. This way you'll have more light for your photos.
The family photos.
I recommend doing immediate family photos only right after the ceremony (parents, siblings, grandparents, wedding party). If you have bigger groups, do them at the reception. This should take approx 3-5 minutes per group. If you want them at your venue then get a good plan together and organise a time and place beforehand. Let everyone know to be there and task a groomsman or bridesmaid with the job of getting them all together. This can delay things a lot so it's usually not recommended.
A good photographer knows the standard groups required. Some photographers like a shot list of names and some prefer to call the standard groupings ie. Bride & Groom with each side of the family, with siblings, grandparents etc. If you want specifics, by all means, discuss this with your photographer. It's your day after all. Just keep it small and don't let it eat into your day.
Creative shots of the bride, groom & bridal party.
One of the most important parts of your wedding day is taking the time to make creative and romantic shots of the two of you. Make sure to carve out 30-45 minutes for this.
Choose locations that are close by and maximise the time you spend at your wedding.
The Reception -Time to relax!!
Aim to be at your drinks reception an hour before dinner call which is usually 5.30 pm at most hotels and everyone sitting at 5.45-6 pm
After your entrance to the venue, your photographer will usually go and check out your reception room. The venue will want you to see it before the meal, so this is a great opportunity to get a nice shot of you both in the room as well as a cake cutting shot. Your guests will then be able to take their cake shot without your photographer in front of them later on after the meal.The meal usually takes 2-2hrs 30minutes
Avoid splitting up the speeches between courses.
Speeches tend to be long after the meal and shorter beforehand. I recommend scheduling them at the start or even after the starter if this is okay with your venue.
Keep them about 5 minutes per person, anything longer and guests get hungry, bored or head off for a quick cig.
Lengthy speeches can also delay the kitchen and the rest of the night for your band to start.
The First Dance.
It's party time! The first dance is usually between 9.30 and 10.30 depending on if your band has to set up and tables need to be cleared. There can be a break of up to an hour here in that case, so it might be nice to organise something for the guests. Maybe a sparkler shot, photo booth or head out for some night shots together. Hope my top tips for planning a stress-free wedding help, don't forget to check out the sample timeline below. :)
Top tips for planning a wedding
10:00 - Photographer arrives at grooms if nearby.
11:00 - Arrive at brides
12:00 - Bride is dressed
12:30 / 12.45 - Photographer heads to church
1:00 - 1.15 - Ceremony starts
2:15 - Receiving line
2:45 /3:10 - Family photos
3:30 - Couple shots & bridal party close by
4:30 Reception Entrance, view room, cut cake with the photographer.
5:30 - Dinner call
5:45 /6 - Bride & Groom entrance
6:30 - Speeches
8:30 - Cake cutting for guests
9:30 /10:30 - First DanceCheck out some real wedding here on FoKiss photography's Blog. Keep up to date with FoKiss Photography every day on Instagram.