Hooray! You’re engaged! You have already begun planning your special day when it comes to your wedding date & your venue. However, there is one thing that brides do not think to take into consideration when it comes to the beginning stages of planning their wedding. Your wedding day TIMELINE. Most brides do not think of their timeline until they need to book their hair or makeup person. What brides do not realize is that there is so much more to plan for ahead of time when it comes to your wedding day timeline- and you will be so glad that you did!
You invested in a wedding photographer…but did you realize there are ways to create your wedding timeline so that you get the most out of your photographs? Have you ever considered creating your wedding timeline based around the best time of the day for portraits? Us photographers like to refer to this as the “golden hour.” Golden hour is just 1 hour before sunset, resulting in the best and most flattering light for your photographs. If you plan to have an outdoor ceremony, this will also make all the difference in your ceremony photos as well. Most times couples tend to have their portrait time right smack in the middle of the day, forcing us to work with the harsh sunlight. When this happens, most times I will be scouting out locations that provide shade. Sometimes finding locations with shade can be tricky. However if you schedule your portrait time closer to the evening time you will have more variety for your portraits, as well as that romantic glow.
Different seasons will play a big part in scheduling your wedding day timeline. This aspect is very easy for brides to overlook when it comes to the timing of their portraits. Let’s take a look at each season, and the best times to plan for each.
Winter: Even though there isn’t any greenery around, winter weddings are still gorgeous! However, they do take some additional planning due to the time the sun sets. The hard part about winter weddings is that the sun sets about 4pm, which means that ALL of your portraits need to be done before then! If you’re having a late afternoon wedding, this isn’t a problem. If you’re planning on having a late evening wedding, this means you will have a bit of down time from 4pm until the start of your ceremony (assuming you will share a “first look”). This will also mean that you will need to book more coverage time as well. If you do not wish to share a first look, then I would suggest scheduling your ceremony earlier in the day to allow plenty of time for portraits afterwards.
Spring: Spring weddings are some of my favorite! Minus the rain & allergies of course…just make sure you have plenty of Claritin or Zyrtec on hand 😉 Spring weddings normally mean the potential for some blooms! If we happen to find a blooming tree or plant, it’ll be worth it to give us a few minutes for portraits with it- you won’t regret it! When it comes to the best light, you are looking at about a 7:00pm portrait time (give or take). If for whatever reason we can’t schedule your portraits during that time, I can always pull you & the groom back out for a few minutes during the reception. That is if you will let me 😉
*Photo taken at The Harvest House at Lost Creek Winery
Summer: Even though it’s hot, summer weddings are amazing! I love that there is so much daylight. Some months, the good light will last until 8:30pm! If you plan on having a summer wedding, I always suggest slipping out a few minutes during your reception to take some sunset portraits! I promise that I won’t keep you long, and you will be so glad that you did this. This is the absolute best light of the day. Usually these portraits will happen during dinner or open dancing, so no one will even notice that you are gone.
Another part of your day that you will want to take into consideration with a summer wedding is your departure time. Do you plan to have a sparkler send off? If so, will it be dark by the time you have your sparkler exit? Most times this is not a problem, but I have seen weddings start fairly early in the day resulting in an earlier ending time. If you’re set on having that sparkler exit, you might want to consider starting your wedding later in the day. If your timeline is non negotiable, then you may want to consider another exit option such as bubbles, rice, etc. Completely up to you!
Fall: Fall weddings are absolutely beautiful, & also one of my favorite seasons for weddings! I love the cooler temperatures, and the warm colors! Some brides worry about not having enough color in their photos for their fall wedding, but I can assure you that I only need to find ONE tree with a hint of color in it to make it look like fall. A little bit of color can go a long way 😉 Your portrait time will depend on when your wedding date is (since it will be the end of daylights savings time), so we can certainly discuss this further once you have a date locked into place!
Extra Misc. Tips…
First Look: First, if you don’t know what a first look is, be sure to read all about it here! If you plan to have a first look, you will want to begin getting ready earlier in the day. Be sure to schedule extra time before the ceremony for portraits. This is something we will go over in greater detail when we meet 3 weeks prior to your special day, but it is something to take into consideration when it comes to having your hair and make up done.
Hair & Makeup: I can never stress this enough, but always schedule EXTRA time for hair and makeup! This is especially true for brides who have large bridal parties. Also, if you have a large bridal party be sure to schedule a couple of hair and make up girl’s to complete everyone’s hair. Sometimes it can get a little crazy 😉
Venue: Be sure to check with your venue about their rules regarding check in time. Some venues do not allow you to arrive until 2 hours prior to the ceremony. This may mean that you will need to get ready at a different location beforehand. With that being said, don’t forget to include travel time when it comes to your timeline.
I have had many brides contact me with questions and concerns regarding their timeline. This is one reason why I created the Bridal Guide for all of my BD Brides, which I send to them personally once they have their special day booked with me. Below I will share a sample timeline of how I capture the day, which is based off of a “first look” and a 6pm ceremony time (most likely, a summer or spring wedding). If you do not plan to have a “first look”, then you can expect to add an additional 1 hour after the ceremony for portraits.
Bridal Details: 2:15-3:00pm
Bridal Prep: 3:15-3:45pm
First Look: 4:00pm
Bride and Groom Portraits: 4:15-4:45pm
Wedding Party Portraits: 4:50-5:20pm
Bride in Hiding: 5:30-6:00pm
Family Portraits: 6:40-7:10pm
A Few “Just Married” portraits: 7:15-7:30pm
Reception Begins: 7:30pm
The Exit: 10:30pm
Thank you so much for stopping by! If you want to learn more about my wedding experience, you can contact me here!
Stay tuned to see more educational posts like these, on the blog!