Scheduling your Wedding Day can be overwhelming, but don't worry, after many weddings, I have curated some tips and recommendations I would love to share with you!
As you work to create your final schedule, I hope the following information helps you out! The first thing I like to share is the two classic outlines for a wedding timeline.
1) TRADITIONAL TIMELINE
With the Traditional Timeline, you do not see your partner before the ceremony, instead, the grand reveal happens at the start of the ceremony.
Wedding Party Photos
Maybe you have always dreamed of your fiancé seeing you for the first time as you walk down the aisle. That’s totally awesome – the traditional timeline is definitely for you!
Generally, outdoor lighting is nicer as the day nears closer to sunset. The opium lighting is of course Golden Hour (which you may be familiar with from the engagement session!) which is the hour before sunset when the light is soft and warm. Depending on the time of year, the light may be better after the ceremony versus earlier in the day after a first looks. If you want to be sure for you wedding date check out: https://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/canada/hamilton
Depending on your wedding, there may only be enough time for about 1 hour of photos in the time between the ceremony and reception. This means that family formals, wedding party, and your portrait sessions all have to happen in that 1 hour. This is totally doable, but keep in mind there may be less time to get lots of different variations of images.
Wedding Party Photos and Couple Portraits typically take place at the same time as the cocktail hour. This leaves you little time to mingle with guests and enjoy the cocktail hour yourself. If you have a second photographer, they can still capture your guests during this time.
2) First Looks Timeline
'First Looks' is a time set apart earlier in the day to create an intimate moment where you two see each other for the first time. Not only does this allow for some special moments and emotional images but also has many logistical benefits as explained below.
Wedding Party Photos*
*Could also do these after receiving line
Intimate addition to your day:
A First Looks is a great way to spend some quality time with your partner on your big day.
Having a First Looks allows for much more flexibility in the time table to be allotted for photography. This means more time for couple portraits, wedding party portraits, and family photos (if you choose to do them all before the ceremony).
With the photos taken prior to the ceremony, you have all the time after free to actually mingle with your guests during cocktail hour and take in the day!
Since it gets dark out much earlier, it may be too dark to take images after the ceremony. The First Looks is a great solution to this if you prefer outdoor images (I know do!)
First looks usually occur mid-day when the light is quite harsh given it’s a sunny day. But no need to worry, we will stick to the shade! Also, I always recommend taking out 20 minutes or so in the evening to have a little golden hour couple session
Earlier Start to the Day:
Since more time is set aside solely for photography rather than running in parallel with the cocktail hour, everyone will typically have to get ready earlier in the day.
Getting Ready - Bride(S)
Generally, I recommend at least 1-1.5 hours of coverage during Getting Ready. As the wedding photographer, I usually arrive about 30 minutes before the bride is expected to be ready (about 15 minutes before hair and makeup are completed). Hair and makeup always take longer than expected so don't be afraid to start a little earlier. It's always better to have a little downtime for photos after you're ready than to have to rush away!
Getting Ready is a great time for me to get pictures of details including the dress, shoes, the rings, invitations & stationery, and any other significant items. This is also a good opportunity to take some bride only images and some group shots of the bridal party.
Getting Ready - Groom(S)
My second photographer will usually be shooting this part of the day if you opt for bride + groom getting ready coverage (unless of course, you are getting ready together!).
Again, I recommend at least 1-1.5 hours of coverage during Getting Ready.
Similarly to the bride, this is a good time to get images of any significant items from the groom and take those individual and group portraits of the groom and the groomsmen.
As I mentioned earlier, the First looks are great for getting those sweet couple portraits while also giving you time to enjoy cocktail hour. You can also use this time to get wedding party portraits and family photos.
The estimated time required for photos is 30-40 minutes for the First Looks plus couple photos, plus an additional 20-30 minutes for wedding party photos and 20-30 minutes for family photos. If you choose to have all of these images taken during this time, you can be looking at up to 2 hours of time.
Let your family know when/where the family photos take place so they are easy to group together!
Family photos usually take 20-30 minutes depending on the number of photos/combinations you would like. I will ask for the specific combinations you are looking for in advance so we can get all the important images checked off first!
It's often super helpful if you can nominate a friend to help me arrange and corral the people for the above photos. Ideally, someone in the bride/groom's party who knows most of the key people that is happy to shout and organize people! I will also ask you for the ideal candidate later on so keep that in mind!
I highly recommend you set aside time in your wedding itinerary to take additional portraits together for 10-20 minutes in the 30 minutes leading up to sunset. This offers the opportunity for some incredible golden hour wedding pictures!