Chances are, you’ve already seen the sample timeline I sent you with your proposal. I always send this early so it gives you a realistic idea of how long things take to shoot on a wedding day. That being said, of all the weddings I’ve shot, the timeline almost always gets behind at some point. This is just the nature of a wedding day. It’s best to go into the day with a solid timeline that has generous time frames, and then roll with the punches if it gets a bit delayed. A tight timeline that you’re trying to make work for whatever reason will always result in more stress.
The time that I arrive at the wedding can be one of the busiest times of the day in terms of photography - I’ll be working on shooting everything you have set up for the ceremony and/or reception space, your details like rings, shoes, dress and grabbing candids of everyone getting ready, as well as popping over to the groomsmen to do the same over there. Depending on whether you’re doing a first look or family portraits before the ceremony, this can take a bit of time. I recommend that I arrive at least three hours before the ceremony in most cases, to capture everything during this time.
This will totally depend on the time of year you’re getting married, but I recommend having the ceremony time set to about 1.5 to 2 hours before sunset, for the best light all evening. I’m all for having a beautiful ceremony during sunset but it will be getting dark by the time we get to family portraits and it will be completely dark for the bride and groom portraits, making our options for those portraits limited.
Family + Group Portraits
Family portraits are another part of the timeline that typically takes longer than you would expect. I will work with you ahead of the wedding to create a list of all the family portrait combinations you want photographed, and to keep things as short and sweet as possible I will use the list to arrange and check off all the shots on the day to make sure you get all the shots you want. I like to allocate 20-30 minutes to get this done, or sometimes more if you have upwards of 12 shots on your list. I try and keep this part of the day as quick as possible, as I know all of your guests are eager to make moves to cocktail hour. Things that slow family portraits down are often family members who have wandered off (if they’ve already gone to the cocktail hour or gone to the bathroom) and just simply everyone wanting to have a chat and a catch up while they wait. For this reason, it helps to have a single family member to enlist as a bit of a coordinator to help organize everyone into groups for each shot - someone who knows a lot of the guests by name is particularly helpful, as I’m still learning who everyone is at this point.