Wedding Tips- Your Photography Timeline
As a wedding photographer, I’ve been able to pick up a few tips along the way that will give you more time to enjoy your wedding day! After all, that should be the main priority.
I have learned a lot from each wedding and every occasion is very different, but there are certain snippets that I can take away from each wedding that will work for everyone.
Prior to your wedding your photographer will send out a pre-wedding questionnaire. From this key details on timings, locations and photos you really want will be addressed. Once all of the info is collected, a timeline of your day can be drawn up. As a photographer, I have realised it is important to provide as much information as possible to my couples so that they know what to expect on their wedding day. I feel this is a big part in helping everyone have a much smoother day. Also, for most of you brides and grooms, this will be the first time so you will have no idea what to expect!
Here are my top tips!
Let's start off with the main one! Being on time is very untraditional for a bride and I get that! However, it is very important to be in control on what time you turn up rather than having a frantic cross country rally to your local church. Give yourself a 15 minute window for small things that can hold you up. For example, fixing your hair piece that has decided it doesn’t want to come to the ceremony with you!
I could list so many little things that happen in that 15 minutes before leaving, but I think this is what makes a wedding day, so don’t stress, just make sure you have given yourself time!
Inside Tip: Most brides get into their wedding dress no later than 45 minutes before they plan to leave.
2. Greeting your guests!
A part of the day which is so often over looked! From looking back on my past weddings, I can check the timings of when the first guest congratulated the bride and groom after the service to the last person. Depending on the size of your congregation, let’s say 100 guests, this can take up to 20-30 minutes to greet everyone after the service. Then the family portraits after this can take another 10 minutes. A traditional church service can take anywhere from 50 minutes - 1 hour 15 minutes, so this should always be factored in. From walking down the aisle, to setting off to your wedding venue will take on average 1 hour 30 minutes.
3. Family Portraits?
When you think about what your family will look back on from your wedding photos, they will love to see the family portraits. If you can imagine for my full day photography service I start generally around 9.30am (depending on your service start time) and finish at around 10pm after your first dance. The 5-10 minutes we spend photographing families is so small, but I feel is hugely important. In my opinion they are best taken immediately after the service as everyone is together, looking their best and have no distractions compared to the distractions a hotel can offer! For all to run smoothly this is where the pre-wedding questionnaire comes in! I will know exactly who you want photographed and they will also be aware when and where they will be needed. If you would like uncles, cousins etc photographed your photographer will not know every family member so it is a good idea to have a reliable family member to round everyone up!
My top tip with family portraits is to only photograph the immediate family at the wedding ceremony location / church. Any we have left out can always be photographed at your reception venue.
4. Allow Time For Your Bridal Party Portraits!
When booking your photographer you probably have looked through their website, Facebook and Instagram to get a feel for their work. Most of what is displayed is the bridal portraits which is such a small part of your day. As I mentioned before, from a 12 hour day photographing, your bridal portraits only take anywhere between 25 min-45 min. It is so important that the photographer has this time to get those photos you really want. Personally, I generally take around 25-30 minutes, depending if there are multiple locations. Again this is all planned out prior to your wedding day.
If your bridal party photos were taken at a different location to your reception venue, when you arrive at your reception venue the next photo required is the traditional mock cutting of the cake. You are then free to mingle and enjoy the rest of your day. The speeches and first dance are all documentary style, so your photographer will be a fly on the wall at this stage capturing all of those natural moments.
I hope this has given you a little more insight into how your wedding day will pan out. Every wedding is different, so relax and enjoy your day! Like everyone says, it really will go so fast!
Sean Gallagher Photography
Sean Gallagher // Wedding photographer, based in the North of Ireland.