Here are a collection of tips and best practices!
Room to Breathe: Plan your whole day, then add an additional 10-15 minutes MORE between each major event. Weddings where everything is crammed together and things are happening back-to-back all day long are ALWAYS stressful for the couple and their family. It also makes things run behind schedule. Give yourself the freedom to feel more relaxed on your special day!
Sunset time is out of your control: When planning your timeline, start with planning around the
Sunset Photos (see section at end of this document) and plan backward from there. If you want Sunset Photos, this is the one section of the wedding day that we don’t have control over when it happens!
Photo lists hamper creativity: Using a photo-list or shot-list can seem logical, but it can also be a photographer's nightmare and hampers their creativity. Lists can assist your photographer to do their jobs in very few circumstances, but mainly they hinder a photographer’s ability to capture organic moments throughout the day. It can cause a moment happening right in front of the photographer to be missed because they have a list in front of them that they are trying to get through. Exception: Family photos after the ceremony definitely require a list. We don't want to miss any specific family combinations!
Bonus! Here is a sample wedding day schedule:
Sample Wedding Day Schedule
used by many couples, tried and true!
Remember to start with the official sunset time on your day and backwards-plan from there!
3:30 Getting ready photos begin - Photographer starts with Bride to capture dress, rings, flowers, shoes, other details
4:00 Photographer leaves to get photos of the guys getting ready (bride should put dress on during this time)
4:30 Bridal portraits
5:00 Couple’s First look/Pre-ceremony prayer/similar activities
5:20 Photographer leaves to set up at Ceremony area. Use this time to decompress and check final details
5:30 ‘Official’ Ceremony start time, but actually start 5 minutes after for any late arriving guests
-Note: most ceremonies are about 25 minutes, give or take. Add more time if your ceremony will be more than 25 minutes (i.e. Catholic Mass)-
6:00 short meet and greet with family after ceremony
6:15 Family Photos Begin (groups are dismissed to cocktail hour), Cocktail hour should begin 6:30pm or 15 min. after family photos begin
7:00 Sign Wedding Certificate (photographer will leave right after to the sunset location to set up lighting. Couple leaves at time indicated below)
7:15 Leave for sunset photos (adjust for travel time from your venue to our sunset location)
7:30 Begin Sunset photos
7:56pm ‘Official’ Sunset time listed on Google
8:15 Head back to Venue (adjust for travel time)
8:30 Grand Entrance/Dinner Begins - Couple should actually eat here and go say hi to guests after, otherwise you likely won’t find time to eat at all!
9:15 Toasts (add more time if you anticipate more than 2 toasts)
9:30 First Dances (couple, father/daughter, mother/son)
9:45 cake cutting
10:00pm Open Dance
10:25 Garter/Boquet toss - Doing this in the middle of open dancing works well as there are already people out on the dance floor, making it less difficult to get people back up out of their chairs for this
10:35pm Open Dance continues
(add time if doing Dollar Dance/La Marcha, at least 20 minutes each)
11:15 Sparkler/Lantern/Bubble exit
11:30 Photographer finishes