WEDDING PLANNING GUIDE

June 26, 2021

YOU ARE NOT ALONE – I’M HERE TO HELP!!

THIS GUIDE IS A STARTING POINT BUT I’M HERE FOR YOU PERSONALLY WHENEVER YOU NEED HELP.

Whether you need help on deciding number of hours, how much time you need for family photos or just want general tips and advice you might not have thought of, this is the guide for you!
Of course these are only my personal recommendations based on experiences.  I understand that every wedding is unique and I will ensure I work with you to make sure I understand exactly what you need.

HOW MANY HOURS DO YOU NEED?

This is one of the most common topics and not the easiest to estimate especially when you are just starting the planning process. So I’ve split this part into sections to make it easier for you to decide how many hours of photography coverage you might need, based on what it is you want captured. Of course if your schedule changes, you do have the option to upgrade to additional hours at a later date. Remember that this is just a guideline only and every wedding is different, so feel free to reach out to me so I can help, before you make any decisions on hours.

GETTING READY PHOTOS

Timing: 1 hour – 1.5 hours depending on what you want captured
Details: Outfits hanging up, details of shoes and accessories, putting on outfits, last makeup touches. More time is needed for photos such as ‘flat lays’, wedding party photos in robes, family and wedding party portraits.
Notes: Generally speaking, I will not need to be there right from the start. Typically I arrive when hair and makeup is almost done and will capture the last minute touches (such as blush or lipstick). If both of you are getting ready in locations close to each other or same location, myself or my second shooter (if you want one) will be with one of you. If it is just me, we would have to allot for that!
Tips: To save on travel and to reduce time eating into your photography hours, consider getting ready in locations close to each other as well as close to the next location (first look photos or ceremony location).  If you live far away, consider renting an Airbnb or hotel with natural light for your getting ready photos.

FIRST LOOK & COUPLES PORTRAITS

Timing: 1.5 hours shooting time
Details: One of the most important sessions, of the day so make sure enough time is allocated to the Couple’s session (session with just the two of you).  If you are doing a first look, allocate 15minutes to this and take into account potential getting ready delays and travel.  Any buffer time that you are able to give around this portion of the day will make sure you don’t feel rushed or stressed. If you do this session after the ceremony, take into account delays with the ceremony, and guests wanting to congratulate you after the ceremony (I recommend you schedule in 15minutes for guests congratulating you or you rush off immediately to do photos).
Tips: Weather and light permitting, I recommend you make some time for ‘golden hour’ photos just before sunset. Either schedule in 10-15minutes during the reception for this or we can come and get you in between speeches and sneak you outside for a few photos.

FAMILY & WEDDING PARTY

Timing for Wedding Party Portraits: 20 minutes + for Wedding Party Portraits
Timing for Family Portraits: approximately 2 minutes per combination. For example if you have 10 combinations, estimate 20minutes
Notes: The more people you have in a photo, the longer it potentially takes to take that photo. For example a group photo of 20 people will take longer to set up than a photo with 4 people. These photos can either be done prior to the ceremony, after the ceremony or split.
Tips: Make sure you have a family shot list prior to the wedding. Allocate someone to wrangle people for group photos and ensure that family members know where they are supposed to be and at what time (pro tip – tell them where they are meant to be 15minutes before they are due to start).

THE CEREMONY

Timing: Depends on the ceremony
Details: These can include civil ceremonies, tea ceremonies, religious ceremonies, etc.
Tips: Take into account timing if outfit changes are needed or travel time to and from a ceremony location. Schedule in 15minutes after your ceremony to take into account people coming up to you and your family if you need to do photos after.

RECEPTION

Timing: Assuming that everything runs on time, I usually leave up to an hour after the dance floor opens up so I can capture a minimum of 30 minutes dancing.
Details: Includes, but not limited to Reception details (decorations, cake, food) First Dance, Speeches, Cake cutting, Bouquet throw, Garter throw, guests dancing, games.
Tips: Make sure everything you want captured is scheduled in before I am due to leave. You can also move events around to make sure they occur before I leave. For example first dances after entrances and before dinner, cake cutting in between dinner and speeches. Make sure there are buffers in case of delays and hire an outside coordinator to increase the chance that everything will run on time (we frequently experience weddings that run on time because of good coordinators).

EXAMPLE WEDDING PHOTO SCHEDULES

EXAMPLE 8 HOUR WEDDING
1.30PM – 2.30PM GETTING READY PHOTOS
2.30PM – 2.45PM BUFFER READY FOR FIRST LOOK
2.45PM – 4.15PM – FIRST LOOK & COUPLE’S PORTRAITS
4.15PM – 4.30PM – WEDDING PARTY PHOTOS
4.30PM – 4.50PM – FAMILY PHOTOS
4.50PM – 5.15PM – BREAK/BUFFER
5.15PM – 5.45PM – CEREMONY
5.45PM – 6.45PM – COCKTAIL HOUR
6.45PM – RECEPTION START STRAIGHT INTO FIRST DANCE
7.00PM – 9.00PM – DINNER, SPEECHES
9.00PM – 9.30PM – DANCE FLOOR OPENS UP
EXAMPLE 10 HOUR WEDDING
12.00PM – 1.30PM – GETTING READY PHOTOS
1.30PM – 2.00PM – TRAVEL TO CEREMONY LOCATION
2.00PM – 3.00PM – CEREMONY
3.00PM – 3.15PM – SCHEDULED TIME TO SPEAK TO GUESTS BEFORE PHOTOS
3.15PM – 3.45PM – TRAVEL TO PHOTO LOCATION (SATURDAY TRAFFIC)
3.45PM – 4.15PM – FAMILY PHOTOS
4.15 – 4.45PM – WEDDING PARTY PHOTOS
4.45PM – 6.15PM – COUPLES PHOTOS
6.15PM – 6.45PM – TRAVEL TO RECEPTION VENUE
6.45PM – 7.00PM – COUPLE HAS A BREAK
7.00PM – RECEPTION START
7.00PM – 9.00PM – DINNER
9.00PM – 10.00PM – CAKE CUTTING, FIRST DANCE, DANCE FLOOR OPENS

WEATHER & LIGHTING

LIGHTING

The best outdoor lighting is at golden hour (1 hour before sunset) but on your wedding day, your schedule won’t likely allow that which is why I recommend taking some time during the reception to take photos, even if it’s just for 15 minutes or so.

WEATHER

I’ve done multiple weddings in the heat, the cold, and the rain. I’ve done enough to give you tips and advice on how to handle each situation. For example clear umbrellas during the rain, wearing snow boots in the snow and when it’s cold making sure you stay warm in your coats that can put over you in between shots. Of course it’s always good to have a backup indoor location in case it rains heavily.

FINAL TIPS

Please hire a coordinator (this is very different to an outdoor coordinator). Ask me more to find out why I feel like this is so important. Not all coordinators are the same, so feel free to reach out to us for recommendations based on what suits you and your wedding.
Look through our galleries and let me know which ones you are drawn to so we get more of an idea of what you are looking for.
Take into account traffic at certain times of the day and the year. Google maps can give you an estimate based on previous years at similar times.

ENGAGEMENT SESSIONS

If you are planning on booking an engagement session or you’re still deciding, check out my Engagement session guide below.

HERE

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