HOW TO PLAN
So, I used to think all my clients should follow these "rules" and now I think you should do whatever you want and just get married.
YOU + YOUR PARTNER
HOW TO GET MARRIED
LOVE + PROMISING = MARRIAGE
Okay, so the entire reason you are having your wedding is because you are choosing to marry someone for the rest of your life; remember? I say that because a lot of couples get caught up with wedding planning and forget about the ceremony, which is the reason!
So, with that being said,
the entire timeline of your wedding day needs to start with your ceremony.
In order to create the best timeline, figure out what time your ceremony is going to begin. Most likely when you booked your wedding venue the first thing discussed was the time of your ceremony and length of your reception. Therefore, you have the main parts of your entire wedding day already figured out. From that you need to then decide whether or not you want to have a first look, if yes, then you should make sure that your fist look is over by at least 45 minutes before your ceremony begins (this is because your wedding guests will arrive around 30 minutes prior to the ceremony and following your first look you want to be away and unseen). Before the first look or beginning of your ceremony (whichever route you want to go) you need to then consult with your hair/makeup on when they will arrive.
Blah blah blah, I can go on and on and this doesn't help you for me to just write it out, here is a better way to visually see what I'm talking about.
1. Where will you be getting ready?
2. If at a separate location, how long does it take to travel to the other locations?
3. Who will drive you?
Build in EXTRA time for traveling. Traffic is a thing, a really shitty thing. Make sure you aren't stuck in it.
hair / makeup
1. How many people (including yourself) are having hair + makeup done?
> Always consult with your hair stylist or makeup artist about how long it will take for the hair and makeup to be completed prior to getting dressed.
Typically it takes between 45m to 1h for hair or makeup per person. Again, this always depends on the hair/makeup so always consult with them before planning this time out but also leave extra time in case something was to come up during that time. I can not tell you the amount of times that I've had hair/makeup go longer than it was supposed to and things have been delayed during the entire wedding day because of it. So always give yourself extra time!
While the makeup artist is doing makeup the hair stylist will be doing hair so each person getting makeup/hair I would allot 1 hour for.
> Consult your hair/makeup and trust their judgement on times.
1. What time will the ceremony start?
2. Do you have a rain plan?
*allot extra time in the event of rain because things turn bad really fast if you don't have a plan
3. How long is the ceremony?
Have an email chain going with everyone who is included in the ceremony so they are well aware of times and locations day of.
1. What time is the cocktail hour?
*cocktail hours are typically one hour, duh, and before the reception.
2. What time is the official reception beginning? Once you figure this out, determine what time the catering has dinner to be served. The best reception outline *in my opinion* looks like this:
1. introductions (bridal party + bride/groom)
2. First Dance (bride/groom)
3. Blessing or Welcome speech
4. Dinner is served
5. When last table is served/sits from the buffet start Best Man/Maid of Honor Speeches
6. Parent Dances
7. Dance Floor Opens
9. Bouquet Garter (immediately following cake)
10. Dance floor reopens for the night
The reception time is when your DJ takes over the timeline of events. Be flexible, things happen and depending on the flow your DJ will make adjustments as needed. TRUST THEM!
Trust the people you are hiring for your incredibly important wedding day and if you don't trust them, or feel like you still have to micro-manage, I highly suggest looking for someone else.
> CREATE MASS EMAIL WITH ALL YOUR WEDDING TEAM TO OPEN UP COMMUNICATION SO EVERYONE KNOWS WHAT TO EXPECT
> DISCUSS EXPECTATIONS OPENLY THROUGH PHONE CONVERSATIONS, IN PERSON MEETINGS, AND THROUGH EMAIL
> CREATE A MORE PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR PLANNER / DJ / PHOTOGRAPHER / CATERER / HAIR+MAKEUP / LEGIT EVERYONE, THIS IS A PERSONAL EVENT AND A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE, MAKE SURE YOU WORK WITH THE RIGHT PERSON WHO CARES JUST AS MUCH AS YOU DO.
During your wedding day there are so many times for photos, most of them, about 80% are candid, unposed images that you will receive.
But traditionally during the cocktail hour is when I will get the photos of your bridal party, your families, and just the two of you.
So, you get an hour of portrait time. In that time you need to get photos of your family, bridal party, and then photos of the both of you. I like to split up the time into 25, 25, 50 portions. I want to spend a quarter of the time (about 15 minutes) with your family portraits, another 15 minutes on your bridal party portraits, and the remaining half hour with you both. I am a firm believer that it is MORE important to capture the bride and groom then anyone else during the wedding day so I really try to shift my gears when I'm doing the family and bridal party portraits.
Portrait Hour Timeline
The family is ALWAYS photographed first during that portait hour (cocktail hour). The reason being is that within your family there are varying generations and grandparents may not be able to stay for a while. Also, I want to reduce the amount of iPhone photos that get taken during this time because it causes a problem with keeping everyone focused. Make sure that you send me all the names of the family members that are going to be included during the family portraits. There is a specific area for this in the google form Wedding Day Itinerary that I send you.
**WHEN I PHOTOGRAPH THE FAMILIES WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT THAT I AM GOING TO DO IS FIRST START WITH EVERYONE IN THE FAMILY FIRST. THEN I WILL TAKE AWAY PEOPLE AND ADD THEM BACK. DURING THIS TIME I WANT TO MAKE SURE THINGS TRANSITION SMOOTHLY AND THEREFORE I WILL DIRECT EVERYONE TO THEIR PLACES AND ASK PEOPLE TO LISTEN TO ME. NOT IN A MEAN WAY, BUT IN A DIRECT WAY TO KEEP IT MOVING. YAY! **
The second part of the portrait hour is the bridal party portraits. During this time we'll take a few different shots of your entire bridal party and then everyone gets individual shots with the COUPLE. I have a way of getting through these photos quickly but some of the problems that come up include:
> drunk bridal party not paying attention
> people complaining about getting their dress dirty in the grass and their shoes (if it's an outdoor wedding)
> controlling friends/family dictating what photos to do
> when people start to talk... alot. your face moves when you talk and as a result, the photo looks like you are screaming.
The last part of the portrait hour is the photos of the couple.
Now, obviously if you took your photos during the first look this will be a little bit different. One of the only things I feel like I need to say in this section... is to relax. So many times the couple is so stressed out and either don't want to take photos or tend to look upset in them because of everything going on.
HOW TO MAKE THE DAY GO SMOOTH
> Like I discussed previously, you need to create an itinerary and keep to it.
> Additionally, you need to share that itinerary with your bridal party and family members that are participating in the portraits.
> Create a list of all the family members you want in the portraits. Preferably keep this list to grandparents, parents, and siblings only. Once we get into Aunts and Uncles it takes up so much time.
>The second way, to get some bridal portraits done early. If you are doing a first look, this takes care of most of that, but if not, no worries there is no stress to do a first look. We can always photograph your bride/bridesmaid and groom/groomsmen photos before the ceremony.
> TRUST me. There is a meaning to everything that I do on your wedding day. I've been to well over 150+ weddings as a photographer and I want to make sure that everything is captured and everything is done in a timely manner. Just trust me. You hired me for a reason, and that main reason is so you can enjoy your wedding day and trust that I will capture it.