Building Your Wedding Day Timeline
In my opinion, one of the best tools you can have for your wedding day is a detailed, well thought-out timeline. If you're already working with KLEM Studios, then have no fear, I draft your timeline for you! If you're struggling to remember all the important moments and make everything flow, here are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Details, Details, Details
This applies to the fun details like your stunning wedding dress, your jewelry and shoes, all the way down to the gifts you and your groom exchange. You'll want to set these important items aside and all in one place so your photographer can easily access them and capture them for you before the ceremony. These details will tell the complete story of your wedding day and will round out your wedding album!
2. First Look
There is a growing trend among couples to see each other before the ceremony to have a few quiet moments together. As a photographer, I absolutely LOVE a first look before the ceremony for a few reasons. A first look alleviates some of the time crunch after the ceremony and allows the photographer to get stunning photos of the groom's (and bride's) reaction to seeing his sweetheart for the first time. Saving the first look for the walk down the aisle can present a challenge due to the fact that other people will be in that space with you and may not be as conscious of your photographer trying to capture the moment. I've seen plenty of ceremony first look shots where someone stepped in front of the camera just as the groom saw his bride, or everyone was leaning in and blocked a lot of the shot. The first look is intimate, and it can also double as portrait photography time if your schedule after the ceremony is jam-packed.
3. Family Portraits
Your wedding day provides a chance for families to get together and catch up; some of these relatives may not have been able to visit for quite some time! Family portraits are often done at the conclusion of the ceremony, and I strongly suggest that you have a shot list drawn up and given to your photographer before the wedding day. Designate someone to be a "people wrangler" and have everyone where they need to be so the portrait session goes as smoothly as possible. Set aside at least twenty minutes for immediate family photos and twenty-thirty minutes for extended family photos, depending on the size of your family.
If your ceremony and reception are being held at two different places, be sure to build in time for travel. If you are shuttling your bridal party from ceremony to reception and are looking to stop someplace for bridal party portraits, I recommend building in at least half an hour at one location for these shots. If your guests have more than half an hour between ceremony and reception site, providing transportation for them is a nice gesture.
5. Bridal Portrait Photos
As a photographer, I'm biased about how you should spend your time, but experience has taught me how important it is to set aside time for just the bride and groom to be photographed. After the ceremony, I recommend setting aside at least forty minutes to work with your photographer and relax with your new hubby! Those forty minutes may be the only time you get to be alone with your groom until the reception is done, and they should be cherished. Grab an appetizer and a drink and let your photographer do the work of photographing the two of you so incredibly in love. I have yet to have a bride and groom complain that they spent too much alone time with their photographer after the ceremony.
6. Cocktail Hour/Reception/Cake Cutting Timing
Traditionally, a cocktail hour is offered after the wedding ceremony. If you are paying for an open bar, it may make sense for you to limit the cocktail hour to exactly an hour. If you are able to play with the time a bit more, cocktail hour can last up to two hours before guests get hungry and have imbibed too much. The cocktail hour is a great time for the bridal party to steal away and get their photos taken without the guests missing them too much. The length of the dinner will depend on the number of guests attending and the dinner style being served. Family style usually takes the least amount of time, while plated dinners show elegance and sophistication. At a minimum, budget for an hour and fifteen minutes for dinner. There should be a very minimal lull between the end of dinner and the start of the dancing. Couples often choose to cut the cake during this time, providing a smooth transition into the evening party.
Your wedding day is one of the greatest days of your life, but the planning part can be extremely stressful. If you're feeling overwhelmed even after reading these tips, please don't hesitate to reach out to me. Even if we don't get the opportunity to work together, it would be my pleasure to help organize your day. Let's grab coffee and get together!