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Plan your wedding timing

Planning for your Wedding Photography on the Wedding Day

The big day has arrived!

Many couples are overwhelmed with creating a schedule for their wedding day that allows a balance between spending time on preparations, guests and having photos taken. Add to this the package selection of photographers based on hours simply adds to the mind numbing equation!. There is a short answer should you not want to read further………… ask your selected wedding photographer!

Amid all the flowers, food, music and festivities, there are two people at the focal point of a wedding - the wedding couple!

With all the attention heaped upon the bride and groom, a portrait session away from the crowds can help capture private moments between them. It gets the couple away from the pressure that comes with their wedding, and a chance to be alone to reflect on the occasion.

The most important thing to remember is for you to talk to YOUR photographer to make sure your wedding schedule allows for the pictures you want to get.

Ideally, wedding photographers will want to spend a relaxed period of time with the bride and groom during a portrait session. But with the demands of the wedding planner, caterers and others worked into the schedule, that luxury cannot always be realized. Sometimes a schedule may leave up to an hour for portraits.

If it is something they choose to do, the couple of honor should make sure there is some window in which they can get away. It WILL pay off, as this quiet time will often produce some of the best portrait opportunities.

Start your timing plan with the wedding ceremony.  Even if you are unsure of the exact time you wish the ceremony to commence, write down an ideal time and then later everything can be adjusted accordingly if needed.

Let’s say the ceremony ideal start time is 3pm.  Now the ceremony duration will depend if you are having a church wedding or civil ceremony. As a guide, a traditional Catholic mass can be around one hour, while a normal church wedding is around 45 minutes which may include readings, minister’s sermon, signing the register and walking out.

However a civil ceremony ranges from 15 to 30 minutes.  Speak to your minister or officiant who will help you finalise a more accurate duration time.

After the ceremony, there are three possible areas you need to be aware of in regards to time.  Firstly do you wish to have a large group shot of all your guests (approx 10-15 minutes)?  Secondly think about how much mingling time you would like to share with your guests.  Thirdly are the family photographs.

Working out the time to allocate for family photographs will be hard but as a rough guide allocate 5 mins for the first family photograph and then two to three  minutes for each family photograph after that.  I strongly recommend you speak with your photographer in detail about your family photographs and in particular the timing. A VERY GOOD suggestion is to appoint your Master of Ceremonies or other able family member to co-ordinate the people required for the formal family photographs. Compile a list and have this person round up the required people and to have them readily available. Remember, your photographer in most cases does not know who is family and who are friends. By having someone co-ordinate, the process goes faster and allows more alone portrait time with the photographer

From this point, now jump ahead in the timing planning to the reception arrival time for the bridal party. Let’s say you want to arrive at 6pm at your wedding reception.  Now you can work out the time you will have remaining for travelling and ‘location’ bridal party photographs.

Recapping: wedding starts at 3pm and the duration is 30 minutes (civil ceremony).  Afterwards let’s say you want a group shot (10 min), mingling time (30min) and then ten family photographs (20min).  This will mean you will have one & half hours for travelling and ‘location’ bridal party photographs.

If an hour and a half is not enough time (or too much time), then you can decide to change the ceremony starting time, have longer mingling time or perhaps even arrive earlier to the reception to share pre dinner drinks with your guests.

Never let the issue of price override your need for quality!

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