Okay let’s talk about lighting conditions and weather on your wedding day. We know that you cannot control the weather, but you can prepare for the best results. What do I mean? lighting is very important. How can you make sure that you have optimal lighting it starts with your timeline.
I will describe to you the ideal timeline for a wedding. In my experience the earlier you start the day the better. Last thing you want is to run out of time and be rushing around. Trust me I have seen it all. Brides sometimes plan plan plan and do not consult their vendors. Then wedding day comes and things do not go as she planned. Remember although its up to when things happen you want to consult with the vendors and be sure everyone is on the same page but also that you are getting their feedback.
Let’s go over a time line that runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. this is with two photographers multiple locations and everything gets beautifully photographed in 8 hours.
11am- It starts with the lead photographer arriving at 11 a.m. at the place where the bride is getting ready. At the same time the second shooter is arriving at the place where the groom is getting ready.
Let’s say that the bride is getting ready at the same location the reception is going to be. This is actually a very common scenario. In this situation it allows the photographer to be able to photograph the bride while she’s getting ready and details such as the wedding gown, the wedding shoes, the jewelry, the invitations, the bouquet and special momentos. During this time the photographer will be capturing those final hair and makeup touch-ups, those special moments between the mom and the bride, and the bride and her bridesmaids having moments of joy. During this time individual portraits of the the bride are done and photos of the bridesmaids with the bride.
Meanwhile at the same time the second shooter is working with the groom doing getting ready photos. Those fun shots that are candid with the groomsmen. We also Photograph the wedding details that will remind you of your wedding day from the groom’s perspective such as the shoes, the watch, the tie, the cufflinks, the cologne, and the boutonnieres. All these little things matter to each of you and tell the story of your wedding day in full. During this time the second shooter will also be able to capture group shots with the groomsmen and solo shots of the groom.
12:30 noon- Once the getting ready part of your wedding day is done we move on to a first look if you choose to do a first look. You can read more about the first look and what it is in my blog about first looks and what all the options are. If you choose to do a first look you can do it with your groom, you can do it with your grandparents or you can do it with your parents. During this time both photographers will be present at the first look. In your timeline this would be around 12:30 noon. By both photographers being present you can get different angles capturing different reactions from both the bride and the groom or the person that is present.
Following the first look which usually takes about 30 minutes, we can head to the ceremony site. Depending on the location of the ceremony site, travel must be considered (30min max), you should have a 30min break to be with yourself and be able to relax before the ceremony starts. This would bring us to 2 p.m.
2pm- most ceremonies are approximately 20 minutes depending on your religion or your preference this could range up to an hour or more.
Cocktail Hour & Formals
Following the ceremony your guest would head to cocktail hour while you are doing your family portraits with the groom and both of your families. This could be from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. which is also good lighting hour which is what you want for those amazing family portraits and your first pictures as husband and wife.
In New England the sunsets at these times (these are popular wedding months)
8:13pm in May
8:24pm in June
8:04pm in July
7:19pm in August
6:27pm in September
5:38pm in October
Reception & Speeches
This brings us to 4 p.m. where the reception begins. This is the time for the grand entrance the first dance as husband and wife and the welcome toast. Speaking of toast you want to have a conversation with your bridal party and make sure that their speeches are no longer than five minutes. Five minutes might seem like just a little bit of time, but when you’re listening to somebody speak it can actually be a very long time. You also want to make sure that they have a speech planned or an idea of what they’re going to be talking about so that they’re not just rambling. Another suggestion is You may want to keep the speeches to a healthy amount of two. Ideally this would be the maid of honor and the best man making the speeches.
4:30pm- Following the speeches dinner would begin around 4:30. This is an ideal time for dinner because this is also the normal time that most people have dinner. Furthermore, you as a bride probably have not had the chance to sit down and have a meal all day so by this point you’ll definitely be starving….and we definitely don’t want a hangry bride. Make sure that you eat when dinner is served. it is very easy for people to keep coming up to you and for distractions to keep occurring. I have seen this so many times where the time will fly by and the bride will forget to eat. That’s not good.
During the dinner while people are sitting down eating this is the time that cake cutting also happens. Cake cutting usually takes about 10 minutes depending on how much fun you want to have with it and yes you are allowed to gently spread some frosting on your groom’s face.
This brings us to the end of dinner which would be 5:30pm. At this time you have a father daughter dance and/or a mother son dance. After the dances this would be the time where the photographers would do table group photos so that you know who all the guests were that were present on your wedding day and celebrated with you and you have those memories. During this time you can either go around each table with the photographer and take photos with your guests or you can just have the photographer do the photos without you. Honestly either way is perfectly fine I have seen it done both ways.
6pm- During this time is also when the Dance Floor opens. It usually takes people a little bit of time to warm up to slowly, start trickling on to the dance floor and getting ready to dance the night away. Ideally this would happen around 6 p.m. this would give the photographers the last hour of your wedding capturing candid shots of your guests, of you having fun on the Dance Floor partying it up, and dancing with your groom.
7pm- this is when the photographers would be done for the day. You want the best parts of your day highlighted and any messy stuff left out (insert cough…after a few drinks things get a little crazy sometimes on the dance floor). Which is why 7 p.m. is a great time to wrap it up with a photography. The truth is one to two hours of dancing photos is more than enough. Genuine fun moments get captured and that completes the story of your wedding day.
I hope this blog was very helpful to you and gives you insight into the best way to plan out your wedding day. Remember I am here anytime you need to talk just shoot me an email or give me a call and I will be happy to guide you through this process. Having a great timeline will give you the best chances at a smooth and stress-free wedding day.