“Fresh photos with the bomb lighting” – okay snow that I got my Lizzo out – let’s talk timeline!! The first thing you need to decide is what time your ceremony is going to be. Everyone wants the glowing sunset photos. Two things need to happen to get sunset images. There needs to be a sunset (sorry, we cannot control the weather) and we need to be taking photos during sunset (we can make this happen!).
You have two options. First option, Is you plan your ceremony to end 1 hour before sunset time. So let’s say the sun sets at 6:30 (a simple google search for “sunset time – your wedding date” will give you this answer). You will want a 5:00 Ceremony so that 5:30 to 6:30 will be your cocktail hour and you are taking your portraits during sunset! This works well IF you do a first look. If you do not do a first look, we recommend planing your ceremony for 3 hours before sunset. So, for a 6:30 sunset you’ll want a 3:30 Ceremony. Cocktail hour/formals from 4:00-5:00 then we can sneak back out of the reception around 6:00 for a few sunset photos! This give you enough reception time to finish first dances and eat before we sneak out!
Check back tomorrow for your next timeline tip! I’m going to do a little mini-series talking about each portion of your day!
Okay so really before you can complete step 1 (deciding your ceremony time) you should probably determine whether or not you want to do a first look. First looks are amazing, but do not feel like you have to do one!! I am going to tell you all of the benefits of a first look but know that for years they weren’t a thing… We are confident in helping you create a timeline that will allow for the best photos at the best times even if you don’t do a first look! We love them but we do not push you to do one!
Why we love the first look:
Now, all of those are reason why you should do a first look. I have one reason why you shouldn’t… If you don’t want to! Do I love a first look? YES but this day isn’t about me, it’s about YOU and you should do whatever YOU want because this is YOUR wedding day! Every year more and more choose to do a first look but we still have about 30-40% of our couples that choose not to! You can still have a perfectly beautiful photo-filled day. We just suggest that you choose option 2 when planning your ceremony time!
So now that you have you’re ceremony time decided, I personally like to work backwards. Let’s say for the sake of this blog post, you have chosen to do a first look and the sun sets at 6:30 so you are having a 5:00 Ceremony. You will want to be done with your pre-ceremony photos NO LATER THAN 4:30. Generally guest start arriving around that time, and you will want a little down time before you get married. During this time, I will go to your reception space (if it’s in the same location) and get reception detail and Cory will head to the ceremony site and get the ceremony details. This time is not only important for you to get a little R&R before you say your I do’s but you want too have photos of all the details you worked SO HARD on to decorate for this day!
So here is what we have so far:
4:30 Relax /Jackie to get Reception Details/Cory to get Ceremony details
So let’s back it up again to schedule our pre-ceremony portrait time. If you are doing a first look, there’s a little more time here. for the sake of this blog post and since a larger percentage of our couples do a first look, we are going to continue with that assumption. There are 3 sets of portraits that need to be done in this time. Bride & Groom Portraits, Full bridal party portraits, and Bridesmaids & Groomsmen portraits. These are going to happen right after your first look. We will go straight into bride and groom portraits and spend about 45 minutes on them, we will then spend about 30 minutes on bridesmaids/groomsmen portraits. I will do the girls while Cory does the guys. We will then want to allot about 15 minutes to full bridal party portraits. So if I’m adding these to the timeline it’s going to look like this:
Spoiler alert: I DO NOT really need all of this time for portraits, BUT the last thing I want for you on your wedding day is for you to feel rushed or stressed about the timeline, so there’s a little bit of buffer time in there 🙂
We normally allot about 15 minutes for the first look. So in this scenario, the first look would happen at about 2:45. So this is a little over 2 hours before your ceremony. If you’re not at the point in your wedding planning where you are ready to create a timeline, still take note that first look happens between 2 and 2.5 hours before your ceremony time. This will be helpful to know when planning other things!