ADVICE:
Wedding day scheduling tips.

TAKEAWAYS.

    • Scheduling cushion time is critical.  Padding the schedule (a lot) will help you feel less rushed and make the day more enjoyable.
    • Group photos take time. Estimate about 3mins for small groups, 5mins for groups of 10-15, 10mins for giant groups.
    • It’s best to do all group photos in one scheduled block of time, in one set location, and far away from other guests.
    • Please consider scheduling time just before sunset for couples photos. This can be an additional 15mins after the ceremony if you do a first look, or a 30-45min chunk of time just after group portraits (see below for sample schedules).

REASONS TO DO A FIRST LOOK:

    • You can spend some intimate moments with your partner before all the madness.  This tends to help you both relax and enjoy yourselves.
    • You will have more flexibility in your timeline – and photos tend to take less time, because there are fewer distractions.
    • By getting photos out of the way, you and guests are free to enjoy yourselves and the event without interruption.
    • Your wedding party and your family can attend the cocktail hour. (If you do portraits after the ceremony, it will usually be during cocktails.)
    • There will be more time for Nicole to photograph guests and reception details.
    • There are no distractions so we can move more quickly (no pulling people from post-ceremony greetings or the black hole of the cocktail hour).

“first look” sample photo schedule:

    • Getting ready (1-2hrs)
    • First look + couples portraits (30-45mins)
    • Family and wedding party portraits (1hr)
    • Ceremony
    • Sunset photos with couple (15-20mins)
    • Couple joins cocktail hour, greets guests (30-45mins)
    • Photographer shoots cocktail hour + details (30mins)
    • Guests seated for reception
    • Introduction, first dance, speeches, parent dances, cake cutting, dancing
    • Also think about: a final night portrait (10mins)

“no first look” sample photo schedule:

    • Getting ready (1-2hrs)
    • Ceremony
    • Family and wedding party photos (45mins-1hr)
    • Couple portraits (30-45mins) (just before sunset, during cocktail hour)
    • Guests seated for reception
    • Introduction, first dance, speeches, parent dances, cake cutting, dancing
    • Also think about: a final night portrait (10mins)

Q. Why is it best to do group photos all at one time?

The thing that takes the most time with portraits is gathering everyone together and organized. If we have to gather groups three separate times instead of just one, it cuts into the schedule and takes time away from enjoying your wedding. For this reason, I MUCH prefer that we do all of the portraits during the same block of time.  It is also great to make sure that family knows where to meet for photos, and to designate one person (not either of you :)) to wrangle people. This means if you do a first look, we will do group portraits before.  If you much prefer not to see each other prior to the ceremony, it’s usually best to do all group portraits  immediately after the ceremony.

Q. Do you need a comprehensive list of all the shots we want?

Nope – and you don’t need or want one either  – click here for a blog post about why. That said, I will send you a quick online questionnaire that covers the following:

1) I DO need a list of group portraits, so I can budget enough time to get these done.  In fact, please list out everyone in each photo with their first name and relationship.  This way, you do not have to think about this AT ALL on your wedding day – you can leave it entirely to me to make happen! See below for a sample list to get you started.

2) Please let me know if there are sensitive family dynamics I should be aware of – and let me know if there are special sentimental items.

SAMPLE GROUP PORTRAIT LIST:

Family

    • Couple with both sets of parents, siblings, spouses, kids, grandparents
    • Couple with both sets of parents, siblings
    • Couple with both sets of parents
    • Couple with one set of parents
    • Couple with other set of parents

Wedding Party

    • Couple with entire wedding party
    • One with their MOH/BM
    • The other with their MOH/BM