You’ve likely attended a few weddings in some capacity before, and now you find yourself in the spotlight planning your own.
Are you scratching your head trying to think about everything that you really didn’t like about this or that one yet?
Well, why not?
In fairness, it’s a great starting point when it comes to planning.
If you can’t put your finger on any, let me give you a few pointers that may jog your memory, things like:
Keeping the guest waiting for the reception to start while all the photography is going on.
Then over 30 minutes of endless speeches, some of which put you to sleep.
Or having the ceremony in the blazing midday sun.
Trust me the list can go on. Wedding planning can be stressful, and sometimes you don’t know where to start.
Suppose you are in management at work or run a team and have good organisational skills. In that case, you can probably cut it down to just a wedding photographer and Videographer, plus a makeup artist/studio for this part of the wedding.
If not, you may also need to consider hiring a wedding planner.
My main advice to you at this stage is:
- Get these lined up well in advance of the wedding day
- Make sure you hire as close to home as you can
Please don’t fall into the trap of hiring someone with an excellent reputation from London when you live in Bath, Somerset.
The amount of times I’ve heard of a wedding photographer getting stuck in traffic is not worth mentioning.
Without further ado, here are my top tips on timeline management on your wedding day.
- Get your timeline nailed down early
- Don’t forget about your videographer
- Look for a package of around 8-9 hours
- Try to have the ceremony around 2 hours before sunset or around one hour before the ‘golden hour’
- Consider a ‘first look’ photography and videography session it will get you to the reception in no time!
- Try to fit a 30 minute relax in before the ceremony.
- Save time and money and do a fake exit
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Get your timeline nailed down early
Look at getting this set-in stone a month before if you can, if you can do it even earlier, well done.
It will take some back and forth with the team you are hiring so the earlier, the better. If you do this, you’ll find it takes a lot of potential anxiety away knowing that everyone is on the same page and your happy and prepared for this part of the day.
Don’t forget about your videographer
Most wedding photographers have a timeframe of around 45-60 minutes for portraits. Naturally, there is a focus on posing, but your videographer will be focused on movement.
Small tip: Make sure you hire your photography and videography as a package as the same team. Hiring separate people is not a good idea.
When they are hired as a team, the industry standard for this is 60 minutes. The wedding photographer will know to get done in 45 minutes, leaving your videographer 15 minutes with you afterwards.
Look for a package of around 8-9 hours
Therefore, nothing is being rushed on the day; this is the ideal timeframe. You’ll get everything that you wanted to be captured, and it will run smoothly.
If you have an intimate wedding, maybe a 6-hour timeframe would be enough. Simply ask the team what they suggest.
On the other hand, if you are having a BIG wedding, then the timeframe could be 10-12 hours as there’s much more to cover of course. This is the beauty of starting early as the photography and videography team can work with you to get it set in stone in advance.
Try to have the ceremony around 2 hours before sunset or around one hour before the ‘golden hour’
On average, a Christian wedding ceremony takes about 30 minutes. Then the family portrait photography will go on for around 30-45 minutes depending on numbers.
The ‘Golden Hour’ is just before sunset. This is where a wedding photographer and the videography come into its own. Also, the other advantage is it’s cooler!
A wedding photographer Bath, Somerset and the Videographer would have a timetable for sunset when your wedding day is booked for – as an example:
In July sunset is approximately 8:45pm.
Naturally 2 hours before is 6:45pm.
Photography and videography are best suited to this following timeline:
- Ceremony @ 6:30pm – 7:00pm
- Family Portrait photos 7:30 – 8:20pm
- Entrance to the reception 8:30pm
This is a typical timeline recommendation, of course, you don’t need to follow this to the minute. However, this is the kind of things that your wedding photographer and videographer, and wedding planner will have in place almost immediately after sitting down and consulting with you. The suggestion above wouldn’t apply for a larger wedding or for longer ceremonies, but everyone works around what they have.
Note: The 2 hours before, does it have to be exact?
Not necessarily but a Bath wedding photographer and videographer would undoubtedly recommend staying as close to that time as possible.
- Try to plan for 60-90 minutes for post-ceremony photography.
The usual timeframe for family portraits for an average-sized wedding is around 30 mins once the ceremony has finished. For the couple’s portraits and videography
Around 45 minutes see above for recommended timeline.
Big Tip: We know that not everyone will be going to the reception party. Making a list of exactly who you want to be captured in the family photos and informing who’s doing the photography and videography before the day ensures the photo session will run SMOOTHLY!
The list should include their names and relationship. Try to get the grandparents, aunties and uncles in sooner rather than later, so they do not wait around. Start with the whole family, then people can break off the next set.
Another tip: Make sure the family are also informed before the wedding. Otherwise, it’s easy for people to slide away home or to the reception venue and no-one would be any the wiser they’ve gone.
Consider a ‘first look’ photography and videography session it will get you to the reception in no time!
First looks capture a whole different photo and video to traditional ceremony shots. Also, they cut your timeline down considerably by not having to do the portrait session before the ceremony. All you’ll have left is then the family photo’s so there’s more of the day to play with. All that left if you want to is a quick 20 mins of post-ceremony shooting to do and show off your rings!
First looks are the new trend that I do not see slowing in 2021 at all.
Many couples now are even staging their first looks for the most dramatic in the moment photography and videography.
You are actually giving your videographer something to break the ice with at the reception. It is an opportunity to showcase a small 10-minute montage of the morning session and the reception’s first look.
And guess what, it works out you spend more time together on the special day – double bonus!
I know for people who love traditional weddings you will be a little sceptical about this. You’ll be worried about taking away from the groom’s emotion when you are walking down the aisle. Trust me, this method has not stopped them from breaking down in tears, at first sight, it can be more dramatic.
Try to fit a 30 minute relax in before the ceremony.
This gives the videographer and your wedding photographer time to set everything up, ensure all angles and vantage points are spot on. And hey let’s not forget about you. Take a breather, you are about to have one of the most monumental moments of your life. Relax and let others around you set the scene.
Tip: This is an ideal time to double-check if you have a wedding coordinator or whoever is involved in setting up dinnerware, rentals, florists etc. Are done with the reception room. We as a wedding photographer and Videographer have to get a quick shoot in before we get swamped by the guests. Even if it’s an intimate wedding, everything needs to be ready. This is a good time just to double-check we are good to go, and we’ll beat everyone to it.
Save time and money and do a fake exit
You must be thinking to do what? Yes, you heard me a fake exit. A ‘Mock’or ‘Faux’ exit. It’s still the same exit as you would have had planned but do it before the night ends. Let me explain.
When the party starts a good wedding photographer or Videographer will get the material needed within the first 30 minutes. If you are paying for their service by the hour, there’s no point having them hang around until the party ends paying them more to wait for you to finish is there?
If they are driving, they won’t be drinking either!
So, what they can do is grab you for a few minutes and your party guests, do the exit get the footage and job done. That way you can get back to the partying, and the photography and videography are done, and you can go back to the party.
Remember once the bouquet has been tossed, the speeches are complete, the cake has been cut, and the first dance is out of the way, what’s left? Just the exit. So, you’ll have a wedding photographer and Videographer sitting around for 3 hours getting paid to effectively do nothing. It’s something to ponder.
There we go – My tips for timeline management to make your wedding day run as smooth as possible.
All these suggestions are purely to try and streamline your day. Try to get organised in advance, emphasising keeping the wedding photography and photography and videography scheduled. Especially with the portraits, 45-60 minutes will ensure everything else can be enjoyed.
Good luck on your wedding day!
Michael Gane is a professional Bath wedding photographer, Somerset, UK with over 30 years of experience. He has worked with leading brands such as Disney, HELLO Magazine, Sky Sports, and Sky.