5 Things to Consider When Deciding Your Wedding Photographer's Timeline

Hello hello! I received a question from a bride yesterday about how to gauge how long they should have their wedding coverage for. I have photographed numerous amounts of weddings over the years, and I found there are 5 things you should think about when it comes to wedding photography. There aren't right or wrong brackets or timelines, it is all your preference on the things you want images of. So let's get to it!

1. Detail Photographs:

What does this exactly mean? Is it the decorations at the ceremony

or reception- well, no. Those will be captured at another time. This would actually pertain to the images created usually when the bride/ groom are not dressed yet. It would be photographs of the wedding gown, suits, shoes, rings, bouquets, boutineers, jewelry, invitations, perfume, cologne. etc. Basically anything and everything the couple will be wearing on their wedding day.

If you want to capture those beautiful details on their own and give your photographer the proper time to photograph them properly, then yes. You need coverage before any events happen. A minimum amount of time you'll need for these photos is an hour and a half (time to get into your items included).

2. First Look:

A first look can be with your parents, your fiance, your bridal party, with anyone really! It takes a bit of time to coordinate the day-of to make sure no accidental looks happen. Here's what is beneficial about the first look- it gives you way more time to do the bridal party photos without being rushed. We are able to take our time to ensure all your "must-have" pictures are taken.

I highly suggest having a first look. I find a lot of couples are more relaxed and prepared for the ceremony after seeing their fiance during a first look. Again, no right or wrong answer, but if the time between your ceremony ending and your reception beginning is limited (1 hour or less) then consider it. Otherwise things may feel rushed, and the shortest day of your life goes by even quicker by rushing through photos.

Plus! If you get your photos done beforehand, you can actually ENJOY your cocktail hour, and have a receiving line (if you really want one).

3. Family Photos:

Some couples think having family portraits done of just their immediate family is fine- which is totally gravy with us, however- you might see your aunt or uncle hanging around waiting for their turn- again, totally fine but if we are trying to keep close to a schedule, it might be pushed for later.

We always suggest making a written list of people by first name you want in formal family photos. My second shooter will call out the person's name for the image, rearrange everyone, we get the shot and move on to the next formation.

If you're not sure who you want for your photos, or how much time you'll need- start by

making that list. Think of everyone and anyone- this can also be work friends, or family friends. This is not your bridesmaids/groomsmen. You'll get plenty of those later.

Typically the family photos fit in nicely between ceremony and reception while other guests make their way to the cocktail hour, or finding their seats for the reception. The list also keeps things running smooth instead of trying to call people off the top of your head. An alternative, some couples like to get the formal family photos done before the ceremony- whatever is clever!

If you do have a family that typically runs behind/is late, stick the formals after the ceremony. They will already be there, and they will have to stay put before grabbing their drink.

4. Cake cutting and speeches:

We have been noticing a trend of couples cutting their cakes right after they are introduced into the reception area, and we LOVE it. In the past, the cake cutting is reserved for after dinner, which is fine as well, but there's something so fluid about moving straight to the cake

cut after your grand entrance. Guests are seated, the attention is on you, and cake can immediately be served after dinner without waiting for the cut.

Speeaches-- Okay, this one I am not even giving a choice- it should be mandatory- they come before dinner! Trying to wrangle people after eating to do their speech and keeping the guests quiet while the speech is being delivered is NEAR IMPOSSIBLE! Plus- at this point of the night (after eating)- your guests and bridal party want to have fun. Odds are drinks have been drank, and the speech may be a little slurred. Trust me on this- do your speeches BEFORE dinner.

5. Nighttime Portraits:

The nighttime series usually happen after the first dances, and once the dance floor is open. This is where we can get creative and make magic. When you think of nighttime photos, think of the silhouettes with glow around the edges, maybe stars above,

sparklers or even colored smoke bombs engulfing the form. They can be very whimsy and romantic, and a

personal fave! It's not necessary, however we love them not only because we get some killer shots, but also it gives you time to step away from the party, soak in the moments from your wedding day and take some time with just your fiance before tearing up the dance floor.

Regardless of what you choose, be sure to have a clear conversation with your photographer about your expectations and the images you absolutely need! Your photographer, like myself, is a PRO and has their own preference on things, and these 5 things will matter on running a smooth wedding day. Every wedding and each timeline is going to be different, but thinking about what matters most is the first step on an organized day.

BONUS: Some extra photos I just adore <3 <3 <3

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