Weddings are whirlwind events, so it’s very important to make sure you can find five minutes to just soak in the atmosphere of your day.  This is where having a time line for your day can help.  

It will help keep your day running smoothly, especially from a photography perspective, but will also allow you to spend some time with your new husband.  You’ll be surprised how few brides and grooms have time together alone on their wedding day to savour the moment.

To help you put your time line together for a stress free day, here is a look at how long some elements of your day could take.

Bridal Preparation: 60 minutes

Your hair and make-up will often take longer than you anticipated.  For this reason, you should allow 50% more time than originally anticipated to help keep your time line on track.

For bridal preparation/getting ready images, allow at least 60 minutes for your photographer to photograph the your dress, shoes, accessories etc. as well as capture moments between you and your bridal party.

Ceremony: 5-60 minutes

Ceremonies vary in length depending on the type of service you are having with church wedding typically being longer than civil ones.

Work with your officiator to find out roughly how long each part of your service will take and add five minutes to avoid running late if it runs longer than planned.

Receiving Line: 30-60 Minutes

If you have 150 wedding guests, your receiving line could take about 30 minutes.  For each additional 100 guests, add 15 minutes.

Though I have seen fewer receiving lines in the past couple of years, some couples still opt for them.  However, if you have limited time on your day for photographs for whatever reason, then it is probably best not to have one.

Formal Group Portraits: 20 + minutes

For each grouping of people, allow 2-3 minutes per photo.  For groups larger than 12 people, allow 5-10 minutes to get everyone in place.  It takes roughly 20 minutes to take 10-12 group photos.  It is probably best to have your formal group shots as soon as possible after your ceremony or upon arriving at your reception venue.  Your guests can then mingle and relax while you are having your couple portraits taken.

Couple Portraits: 30-120 minutes

There are very few times during your wedding your day for you to be alone, and this is one of them.  My relaxed, natural photography style will give you some time to enjoy the fact you are husband and wife.  Most portraits can be done within 30 minutes, however, if your schedule allows for more time and you want a greater variety of images of you both, then do it.  Just think, more photos and more time alone together!

Once the above have taken place, the rest of the day, the wedding breakfast, the speeches etc. can just flow as everyone is now together and where they need to be.

I have a wedding questionnaire that I ask my couples to complete and return to me at least a week before the wedding.  It not only helps me understand some of the finer details of your day, but it gives you a chance to see your day planned out in black and white so you can see where your time line may need to be tweaked to ensure a stress free and memorable day.

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Author: Carla, Carla Thomas Photography