Unless your an event planner, putting together a wedding is stressful- especially at the very beginning stages. Until you get those main vendors booked in, its really hard to imagine what your day is going to look like and how on earth it is going to run smoothly. Below are some tips that are helpful in the early days to help you get the absolute most out of the best day of your life!
Picking Pre-wedding accommodation
What a lot of of couples do not realize when planning a wedding is that the getting ready process takes up truly over half of your day (particularly for the girls) so picking a spot that you feel comfortable in is obviously crucial but when considering accommodation please consider if it's a space that you would feel happy to be featured in your wedding photos.
What do you look for? Lighting is the biggest thing, you want a space that is well lit (not just for photos, but your makeup artist will thank you to!) Also, I tend to like spaces with minimal clutter - so for instance, Grandma's house might not cost anything - but she might also have 5000 old photos, doilies and dried flowers everywhere that you might not appreciate in your wedding photos. So consider if you like the space, as it will certainly show up in your wedding pics.
The physical location of the pre-wedding accommodation is also very important in the scheme of your day. I generally get better coverage and results if the bride and groom are staying very close together or even better, within the same hotel / complex simply because I can flip backwards and forwards to where the action is rather than having to complete coverage at one location for heading to another- driving long distances between the bride and the groom also takes extra time out of your photo coverage, this is particularly important if your only doing a half day package. I do understand that this is not always an option but if you are yet to book accommodation it is something to seriously consider.
Your wedding timeline
You may be a little ways off creating your wedding day timeline, however, there are some things that are worth knowing in the early days- having the following things in mind can often make the day run more smoothly and you will get more out of your photographic coverage.
Generally, in a full day coverage (10 hours) I spend 45 minutes to an hour with the boys getting ready and at least an hour with the girls. Smaller coverage often means that the groomsmen are not photographed and bridal coverage is around 45 min. This timing is often important to make-up and hair dressers as they like to be be doing finishing touches when the photographer arrives. Makeup/hair shots only take a few minutes to shoot, but obviously cant happen if the makeup artists has already left before I arrive.
After your ceremony (the length of which your celebrant should be able to advise you) make sure to leave extra time if you plan on being late, leave at least 15 minutes for congratulations and a further 20 minutes for family photos (leave longer if you wish to do large extended family shots and groups shots. Please list the groupings of your family photos that you would like taken after the ceremony. E.g Bride Groom, Parents (actual names) This may seem tedious, but family photos will be one of the most challenging parts of the days and this will help them run as smoothly and as quickly as possible. Appoint someone to help with family photos, they are made quite difficult with missing family members. Your appointed helper can also be gathering people while the photos are taking place. Make lists of people you want to be photographed with and keep in mind there is always the reception for more casual shots later on. This information can be provided in the questionnaire you fill out 3 months prior to the wedding, or you an send a word doc along with your final timeline.
Another thing to consider for your ceremony is an unplugged wedding. Unplugged weddings (no camera phones, ipads etc) are a wonderful idea. I cant tell you how many amazing images have been destroyed over the years from people leaning into the isle with phones, using flashes, or people jumping in front of me with a giant ipad! When guests are concentrating on getting blurry camera phone images, they are not focusing on you and your fiance and the vows you are taking, and that is what the whole day is about! You also wont have to worry about images turning up on social media before you have had a chance to post yourself.
Leaving sufficient time for all of these things post ceremony is important, particularly when daylight savings comes into play- during the winter months you risk loosing light altogether, or if you don’t leave enough time or if you get back late to the reception and put off the whole dinner service. As a guide, you want to leave at least one 1 hour for your location photos and even more time if you plan on going off site or if you have more the 4 people in your bridal party (big bridal parties slow things down!).
One of the most important things to consider is lighting. Light is everything when it comes to creating beautiful wedding imagery. The best time to shoot is “golden hour” which 1 to 2 hours before sunset. This is not always an option during the summer months so if this timing cannot be achieved, I suggest shooting in a shady location (say rather then an open beach) or leaving aside another 10 minutes during the reception to sneak out for sunset photos.
One final tip - if you are considering having a videographer- make sure that you keep them informed of your intentions with the timeline. They may have there own requirements with timing, and shots they need to achieve so once you have a draft done its worth checking in with the photographer and videographer to make sure everything lines up and you are not missing out on any coverage.
All of this information may seem very overwhelming now, but I prefer to offer it to you while you are making decisions rather then after everything is done and to late to modify. Timing is so important in a wedding day, and if not enough time is allocated for any section of the day- it can have a snowball effect on the rest of your festivities.
As the wedding draws closer I will another article with a few more tips and some useful information to help you get the most out of your wedding coverage 😊 Below you will see that I have created a mock time line based on a 10 hour coverage. This definitely wont apply to every situation, but you will get an idea where to start putting your day together.
Example wedding timeline.
Putting together your timeline can be one of the most stressful parts of wedding planning, there are so many unknowns! Together with your photographer, venue, celebrant and other vendors you will be able to put together a timeline that works for everyone- here is an example timeline that incorporates some aspect of the day that couples often forget to allocate time for.
Mock timeline 10 hour coverage (based on bridal party getting ready in the same complex)
1230-115pm groomsman preps
120-230 bride and bridesmaids preps and dressing
230-3 travel to ceremony/reception venue
4-4:20 Family photos
420-6pm Bridal party artistic location photos
6-730 Enter reception, meal service and speech’s
730-745 sunset shots (based on summer wedding)
745-830 meal service continues and more speeches.
830 cutting of cake and first dance
840-1030 dancing, bouquet/garter shots, with optional sparker exit
1030 Package end.