Photo Friendly Wedding Tips - Preparation, Delegation, and Timelines
This is the first part in a series we hope will provide couples with insight on all the things that will not only help us (your photographers), but will also put your mind at ease, and say "My wedding pro's have this!"
We've shot hundreds of weddings and feel that we have a pretty darn good understanding of many different situations and scenarios that could arise on your wedding day. This is in no way a guide on how to plan your wedding all-together, but covers many tips that will help you plan a wedding that is photo-friendly.
We're going to start off this series with one of the most important tips for planning your photo-friendly wedding, and it's a big one... "Preparation, Delegation, and Timelines". We'll continue on with other posts in the coming weeks explaining more detailed tips for: getting ready, first look, ceremony, family photos, reception, and more.
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As photographers, we want our couples to be happy, and enjoy their day to the fullest. So, first things first... one of the most important tips we can't emphasize enough... "Let it go!"
We can hope for the perfect sun-drenched afternoon, but it can't be planned, the same way you can't ensure that your best man won't break his ankle on the way to portraits (yes, we've seen it all!) All of these things are beyond anyone's control. We hope that all of our couples can go into their day knowing that most likely things won't turn out exactly how they've planned. What's important is that you're getting married and having fun!
So "let it go," and rely on the planning you've done, and the professionals that you've hired. We hope for all of our couples that at the end of the whirlwind of a day they can say "That was the best day ever!"
Hire A Day Of Coordinator Or Delegate Responsibilites
We hate it when we notice our couples worrying about things that can be delegated to others... Say, a shuttle with guests is late and the groom is on the phone to the driver giving him directions... That SHOULDN'T happen!
It might seem easy to be able to take on the responsibilities of everything and might even seem manageable, until crunch time, and then 'BAM', everybody starts asking you every question under the sun... We ask that you take a step back and either hire a day-of coordinator, or assign your closest family and friends to take care of the things that you might be worried about on your wedding day.
Hiring A Day-Of Coordinator
You most likely will be hiring wedding pros to take care of the big responsibilities like photography, flowers, music, catering, etc. Hiring a day-of coordinator, is like hiring a personal assistant for your day. They'll take care of scheduling, making sure your wedding party and guests are where they need to be and will fix any hiccups that may arise, so you can focus on getting married and having fun.
Assign friends and family with jobs on your wedding day. They'll be happy to have a specific duty... And it makes them feel useful and special!
For example, assign a family member or two to worry about rounding up people for the family photos. Give them a copy of the formal photo list the night before and tell them that that's their only job! Assign your best friend, to worry about your shoes, dress, etc. Another friend might have the job of making sure the getting ready room is tidy... Is it going to be really hot on your wedding day? Assign a groomsmen to be the "waterboy!" and emphasize the importance:) HAVE FUN WITH IT! With every task, ask yourself, "can someone else take care of this for us?"
When you're going through all the tips in this series you'll start to know which tasks to delegate out, and who's the best to take care of that task. We promise it will be SO nice to let everything go and not worry about anything except getting married and having fun!
A wedding is whirlwind of events. The timeline is one of the most important things you can plan for before the wedding day. If you are looking to effectively plan out your wedding day with us, or your wedding coordinator, here's a look at a basic photography specific timeline from our point of view.
We are here to help assist our couples in planning out their day, so that they don't miss a beat. We've done 6 hour weddings, and we've done full-day weddings... every wedding is unique, however we have found that the majority of weddings we have shot, 7-9 hours is all that we need to tell the story of your day.
Why we recommend a first look
We are VERY flexible in whether you want a first look or not, and we completely understand if you prefer to see each other walking down the aisle. But if you're still deciding whether or not to do one, we recommend doing a first look...
A First Look is a great way to make sure you enjoy your cocktail hour (and all those yummy hors d'oeuvres!) with your friends and family. You will feel much less rushed and things will feel less hectic if the formal portraits are out of the way before the ceremony. With a first look you'll have more time the day of to "take it all in" and on top off all that, we'll have a bit more time to be able to capture more creative portraits.
Portrait Timing & Light
The best time for wedding portraits is later in the day or early evening. However we understand that most of the time we don't have the luxury of shooting portraits in the beautiful end-of-the-day light or "magic hour." So it's important that we have a good plan of portrait locations prior to portrait time in order to ensure we have some beautiful light.
We highly recommend dedicating 2 hours to get all portraits done.
It might seem like a huge chunk of time, but this is how we typically break it down:
- 30-45min - Couple portraits
- 10min - Wedding party
- 20min - Bridesmaids/Groomsmen
- 30min - Family portraits
This is a total of 90 - 105 minutes of shooting time. This does not account for: time taken to get from one location to another, late arrivers or missing people, getting makeup touched up, running for flowers, or any other unknown variable.
Think about taking a 10-15 minute break during your reception to jump out and take a few more portraits right before sunset. The light is usually amazing then, so add that in your timeline so you'll be sure not to forget it. PLUS you get a little alone time with your new partner in crime;)
To Sum It Up
We want you to enjoy your wedding to the fullest! Not only do we want to get you the best photos possible, but we want you to have an amazing experience at the same time. I'm sure if you follow these tips, and the others that we'll be posting in the coming weeks, that you'll be able to enjoy one of the best days of your lives to the fullest! :)
For more tips on wedding timelines, the blog A Practical Wedding has put together a helpful article that you can see HERE if you’re interested.