This past weekend I had the pleasure of photographing Katherine and Brandon's wedding on the North Shore. It was a beautiful spring day, one of those magical wedding days that makes me fall in love with this job over and over again. As the day unfolded I noticed as everyone was incredibly happy! There was no stress, no rushed family, no confusion, just full enjoyment as the day happened. At one point Katherine's Mom asked how the day was going and if I was enjoying myself. My response? "Days like these are what wedding dreams are made of!"
What I believe made Katherine and Brandon's wedding day such a breeze were a few contributing factors. First they had an amazing attitude. They were simply overjoyed to be with each other, their family and their loved ones. They reveled in the experience of getting married and worried less about every detail being absolutely perfect. They were surrounded by joyful and happy people too, who helped to create a relaxed and happy atmosphere throughout the day. That kind of perspective allowed them to simply ENJOY every moment of their day!
But beyond a good attitude Brandon and Katherine had structure, a carefully crafted a wedding day timeline that left lots of room for stress free time together and of course PHOTOS! The couple, their family and their friends were never rushed and the timeline allowed everyone to relax and enjoy the day! So how do you go about creating a wedding day timeline that accounts for all the activities of wedding while creating space to breath and truly enjoy the day? Today I'm sharing my top tips on how to craft the perfect wedding day timeline!
For the Couple
*It's very important that you trust and listen to your photographer as they explain and walk through the timeline. You are working with a professional who will have extensive experience with wedding day timelines and are versed in how the day will unfold. They will provide valuable insight into any unexpected delays and how to plan a timeline that leaves lots of room for fun and joy on the wedding day!
*Know the parts of the day that typically run over time and pad in more time than you think you need. The last thing you want to experience is rushing through a part of the day and then subsequently feeling stressed.
*Communicate to your family and loved ones where they need to be and when on the day of the wedding which help to avoid anyone getting lost or holding up the timeline.
*Remember that artfully crafted images take time. Your photographer needs time to expose, direct, and take the kinds of images that they showcase on their blog and website. Listen to your photographer as they explain the time that they need to take various images throughout the day (for example the Family Portraits) and plan appropriately.
*With all this seriousness, don't forget to have FUN and remember what the day is all about : each other! As the day is unfolding and flying by, don't be afraid to take a moment with each other, to soak it all in and enjoy the moment together!
*Most importantly, stay calm. Wedding days are dynamic events with many moving pieces and it can be very easy to become overwhelmed. As the photographer you can help set the tone of the day through your own attitude while effortlessly adjusting to changes. Your clients are looking to you for a steady and reliable presence which you can do through your attitude and calm demeanor.
*Communicate clearly with your couple and explain exactly how much time you need to photograph their day. If you don't communicate exactly what you need, you can't expect to have it on the day of the wedding. Often times couples won't know exactly how much time photography will take on the wedding day. Help education them BEFORE the big day so you can have the time that you need to create beautiful images.
*Don't be afraid to lead and give direction. If you're not working with a wedding planner, often your role as the photographer is more than just a photographer. You maybe called to lead, direct, plan and wrangle people throughout the day. You'll need confidence to clearly communicate when speaking to the bridal party, when giving clear posing direction to your clients and when directing the family portraits. If you want things to move quickly and smoothly, help LEAD. Your clients will thank you.
*Communicate with any vendors who might be influenced by the wedding day timeline. If you're working with a wedding planner or a DJ for example, communicate with them before the wedding and so that you are all on the same page with regard to the timeline. If you need 30 minutes with the couple following the ceremony, clearly communicate that with the planner or venue.
*Be realistic and conservative with your time. Some wedding days leave LOTS of room for portraits (my FAVE!) but other days the timeline is more full with less time to wander and explore. Be realistic and know when it is appropriate to ask for more time and when it's not. After you've communicated how much time you need for the staple images (Bridal Party, Bride and Groom and Family) seek out opportunities for more portraits throughout the day whether that is sneaking out after dinner is served OR finding organic portraits as the day unfolds (like the couple walking away from the ceremony, traveling to the reception or just enjoying a quiet moment on the dance floor).
I hope that this information is helpful to couples who are planning their wedding day and photographers who are helping to craft wedding day timelines for their couples! If you have any questions about how I organize the photography portion of the wedding day, please feel free to leave a comment below!