How to plan your wedding timeline

June 28, 2017


When I’m approached by clients the one thing every couple isn’t sure about is how much photography coverage they will need for their wedding. Coverage = hours and hours = money.. so how do we work this out? Below are answers to many of the common scheduling questions I am asked by my clients. 

How do I work out how much photography coverage I require for my wedding?

I charge an hourly rate for weddings so it’s completely up to you how long you wish to have your photographer on site. On average my clients book me 2 hours prior to the bride leaving for the wedding ceremony until 1 hour after the first dance. So if your ceremony starts at 2pm and your first dance is at 8pm, you’ll need to book your photographer to stay for the duration of that time, which works out at 9 hours. Each wedding is different in so many ways, so be open with your photographer that you are struggling with working this out, they will be happy to offer suggestions that work within your plans and budget. 

We would like both Bridal and Groom prep photographed but we are in different locations, is that possible?

Of course! There are a few options if you are both getting ready in different places. One way is to hire a second shooter to document your groom prep. I have a team of brilliant second shooters that I can hire to work alongside me on wedding days. If you would rather not hire a second photographer then another option is for the groom to finish getting ready at the location of you ceremony. I usually arrive 30 minutes prior to when the ceremony starts, so this could be an ideal time to take these shots.

How do I maximise my wedding photography coverage?

Keep your wedding day locations in close proximity to one another maximises your photo coverage. If you are getting ready 30 minutes away from your ceremony location and then your venue is a another 30 minutes journey, you are wasting a potential 1 hour of paid coverage just in travel time! Most venues have accommodation included or offer advice for local hotels where you can prepare for your wedding.

How much time should I factor in for getting ready for my wedding?

Brides: Timings for hair and makeup very much depend on your stylist. From previous experience bridal hair & makeup can take anything from 1 to 1.5 hours. I always suggest that the bride is NOT the last person to have their hair and makeup done, the last thing we want is for the bride to feel rushed if things take longer than planned. My suggestion is that the bride steps into her dress 1 hour before she is due to leave for the ceremony. This leaves ample time for photos with your photographer before they head off to the ceremony ahead of you. 

Grooms: The same applies, I’d suggest that you get your suit on at least 1 hour before you head off to the ceremony. Make sure all your groomsmen know which suits are theirs and most importantly have tried them on in advance! Have your button holes, cufflinks, ties, socks, shoes, handkerchiefs, aftershave and whiskey 😉 ready and waiting! 

How long does a wedding ceremony usually take & what time should we arrive at the venue?

This is very much dependant on the type of ceremony you are having. Religious ceremonies usually last around 1 hour and civil ceremonies can take as little as 30 minutes. This is something you should discuss with your wedding coordinator when booking.

Brides: Unless you need to have a pre-wedding interview with your registrar, you should aim to be there a few minutes before it starts.

Grooms: Generally you should arrive before your guests, 30 minutes to 1 hour before the start of the ceremony. Put your groomsmen to use and make sure they are ‘ushering’ everybody to their seats.

How long do we need for photos after our wedding ceremony?

Your drinks reception is a great chance for you to enjoy time with your guests and to factor in any formal family and bridal party photos, as well as your portrait session. Again each wedding is different but similar rules apply, 2 hours is usually ample time for your drinks reception. Family and bridal party photos usually take around 20-30 minutes, depending on how many group formations you would like. Couple portraits will usually take around 30 minutes. If you would like a group photo with all of your guests I’d suggest allowing 10 minutes for this photo.

How much time should we allow for our wedding breakfast and when do we do speeches?

Much of this will be decided by your catering team so be sure to ask them what they would suggest. The average wedding I shoot allows 1.5/2 hours for eating and 30 minutes to 1 hour for speeches and dessert.

When do we cut the wedding cake?

The cake cutting tradition is different in many cultures. Some cut the cake immediately after the ceremony, some before the pudding is served but many will cut this in the evening before the first dance after which coffee and tea is served for guests to enjoy with a slice of cake! You really only need 10 minutes maximum for the guests to gather around and take photos.

What time should we have our first dance?

Usually your first dance will happen when your band or DJ are ready, so make sure you correspond timings with them. I’d say generally the first dance commences 30 minutes to 1 hour after your speeches have finished.

Can you give me advice on my own wedding day timeline?

Of course! If you would like to fill in an enquiry form here, I’d be happy to discuss your wedding with you. Be sure to include any information you may already have on the timings of your day including the location(s) of your wedding. Then we can work out the exact coverage you will need! 



Add Your Comment