Let me start off by saying I am not a wedding planner. I think it would be a fun job, but I feel my strengths are greatest in the photography-related parts of weddings. That being said, this timeline is my personal estimation of how much time I like to schedule for photos on the day of the wedding. Keep in mind that every photographer is different with how they prefer to shoot. Some like to spend four hours taking photos of just the wedding party. I don’t. :-)
This is the basic timeline that I give all my brides who opt to do the first look – we start from here and if there is anything that we think will take more or less time, we make adjustments as necessary:
T-4 hours: getting ready + candids + details (dress, special jewelry, flowers, SHOES)
T-3 hours: couple’s first look and portraits
T-2 hours: wedding party portraits
T-1 hour 30 minutes: family portraits
T-1 hour: candids + details (time for you and all those involved with photos to grab a snack/touch up makeup/cool down before the wedding)
After the ceremony, I just tag along for the ride and let the rest of the day unfold!
Here are a few variables that tend to shift the schedule:
Location – How far is the getting ready location from the ceremony? How far is the ceremony from the reception? Is there an additional location where you’d like to take photos? Significant drive time will need to be included in the schedule to keep everyone on time.
Lighting – What time of day is the ceremony? With this schedule, a 3:00 ceremony would put the first look and portraits at noon… not ideal outdoor lighting conditions.
‘Fashionably late’ relatives – To keep your friends and family from showing up late, tell them they need to be there for photos earlier than planned. You’d rather have them there early instead of waiting on them to finish up the group photos.
Extended family members – More people means allowing more time for family photos either before or after the ceremony.
Small children – Naps are crucial! Especially if you want flower girls and ring bearers to be in the photos as well as be cooperative. :-)
Again, every wedding is unique and every wedding should have its own timeline – this is simply a suggestion meant to be adjusted to your specific needs. Also, make sure to check with YOUR photographer to see how they prefer to schedule photos. Every photographer does things his/her own way because they know what works for them.