How to manage your timings to get the most from your wedding photographs.
Ok so there is one simple rule for this. You never have as much time as you think on your wedding day. That is a fact, take it as gospel. This is just a little guide on how to manage that fast pace to get the most from your photographs.
When it comes to your wedding photographs timing to a point is important. Of course you want the natural as its happening shots (they really are the best) however there are aspects that need timing to be a consideration. In the morning you will have your hair and makeup artist there and in my own personal experience the bride should be done either first or second, never last. I always try to arrive around the time of the make up artist as although the first stage of getting ready isn't the most flattering it allows me the time to get your dress, details and a little of the chaos before the later stage of your hair and make up when I get the final touch ups which do look lovely. My second suggestion is to make sure you give yourself an additional half an hour after getting into your dress before I need to leave for the church/registry. This just leaves room for things running late and means that I definitely have time to get those shots and of course the amazing moment your Dad sees you for the first time! And make sure your bridesmaids are dressed before you for when they help you get ready!
Personally I always like to arrive at the ceremony venue 15mins before the bride. It means I can some shots of the boys and guests arriving and it means I can be waiting outside ready for the arrival of the bridal party. Getting the excitement as it naturally unfolds while still including the details. The ceremony is usually completely out of my control (its a good job I have been to few) as this the show of whoever you have conducting your ceremony. However don't rush down the aisle, enjoy it, smile and take it all in. Oh and also the first kiss please give me a little more than a quick peck obviously don't go full on french style in front of your nearest and dearest though ;) Again on your way back down the aisle as husband and wife (YAY) don't rush, its such an awesome moment and you won't get to do it again so go at an easy pace, smile, laugh and enjoy!!
So now your outside the church/registry and married!!! Feeling absolutely amazing but at the same time wondering where the time has gone. Of course if you are having your ceremony at the reception venue that makes timings a lot easier. This is the part of the day couples seem to totally misjudge how much time they have. From when you walk out as a newly married couple to sitting down for your wedding breakfast you have a lot to fit in. You don't want to be rushed! As soon as the ceremony and confetti is done I would suggest getting stuck into those family formals, its a lot quicker and more organised to get through them at this point because your guests aren't distracted by the bar :) Realistically it takes around 30mins to get through 10 formal group set ups longer if you have distracted guests and honestly us photographers don't want to keep you hanging around for ages until your cheeks hurt from smiling. We want you too have those important images AND then have time to have fun with your guests. So give yourself at least 2hrs between ceremony and breakfast. Remember you also want us to get the details of your room set up and natural images of you and your guests enjoying themselves. Then of course the couple photos!
So for your couple photos the best time to start is about 15mins before the call for everyone to be sat down for the breakfast. This gives you a good half an hour before you go in for your entrance to relax and reflect on the day so far while getting some lovely and intimate couple portraits. I personally like to direct rather than pose so the portraits are a real reflection of you as a couple. Its definitely good to grab a glass of champagne beforehand :) Also don't be surprised if your photographer comes and grabs you during the meal, if there is an epic sunset outside then its so worth heading back out for 10mins.
Once you have sat down for your meal that is the point of relaxation! You can enjoy a drink and eat that awesome food without to much else to worry about unless you are a groom who gets nervous about doing a speech. With the speeches there are a variety of ways I have seen them done. Before the meal, a speech between each course and of course after. I have also seen magicians between courses, triva games etc the only thing you need to be aware of here is giving yourself enough time to enjoy the meal, not feel rushed for the speeches and make sure you are ready for when your evening guests arrive. And of course there should never be a schedule for a party :) with the cake cutting and the first dance a good half an after the arrival of your evening guests is a good time and be sure to get everyone up on the dance floor so you can get those amazing party shots before your photographer finishes!
Of course this is just a guide, a rough idea based on a traditional wedding. At the end of the day the most important thing is to be relaxed and enjoying the most amazing day of your lives :) and as long as you do that you will have gorgeous photographic memories!