Wedding Day Timeline
Constructing your wedding day timeline can be a stressful, and overwhelming process. Where should cake cutting go? How much time do we really need for photos? What time should we start the day? These are all completely normal questions, that I am happy to help with in any way possible.
The first step to figuring out the timing for the start of your day is setting the hair and makeup start time. To find out how much time you need, chat with your artist. The length of time they will need varies, and completely depends on how many artists/people requiring their services. I arrive within the last 2-3 hours of prep, that gives me enough time to capture everything while leaving you some down time before the whirlwind starts.
If there are important details you would like photographed, please have them assembled in one location. This will enable those images to be taken without having to run around finding everything on your wedding day (less time spent finding things is more time having fun with your friends).
From there, plan to be getting dressed an hour before you need to leave for the ceremony. This gives us enough time to perform those final touches without it being a stressful occasion. It also leaves us a little buffer time in case things run late.
Much like the rest of the day, I take a very hands-off approach to your ceremony. Instead of being distracted by a photographer running around, or bright flashes, I want you and your guests to be able to be completely in the moment. I will never do anything to take away from that, and shoot in a completely documentary manner with long lenses that enable me to be far away from you while still capturing those wonderful expressions that make up a ceremony.
Just a note to be aware of, if you are getting married within a church or religious center, make sure to confirm if there are forms or restrictions that we need to be made aware of. While most places in the WNY area are wonderful, there are the handful that only allow photographs to be taken in certain locations. If there are strict restrictions, they will affect your ceremony coverage.
For portraits of you two, we can leave as much time as you would like for them. I have couples that highly value portraits, and we go around town for hours stopping by their favorite locations, or walking up a mountain. Others value moments and only want a few portraits. I frequently photograph bridal party, family, and couple portraits during cocktail hour, so anything beyond that is just a bonus.
If you have any questions about how the portrait session works, or what to expect with timing, you can find all of that here. Information about how much time to leave for family portraits can be found below.
Once the reception hits, it's all celebration from there. Much like the rest of the day, anything goes. Your reception can be exactly what you want it to be. If you want to crowd-surf, or have an emotional dance with grandpa, you do it. If you want to play board games, or dance without shame (let's be real, that's the best kind of dancing), you do that too.
Throughout the evening, I am happy to take whatever images you like. I know how hard it is to get everyone in one place, so please never hesitate to grab me for any photographs of friends and family. Photography coverage generally concludes within the last hour of the reception, when the party starts to wind down.
How long does it take?
There are so many moving pieces that go into a wedding day, let's talk about how much time to set aside.
Receiving lines are a great way to greet your guests before your reception, and it allows you to avoid going table-to-table later on. However, it can take up a lot of time than people expect. There is always that one aunt that wants to talk about your whole life story, or the cousin that wants a million selfie but cannot seem to figure their camera out.
There is no real way to predict how much time it will take, but I would leave a minimum of 30 minutes aside plus some extra buffer time.
How often do have everyone in one place, looking really pretty? Family photographs are a super important part of any wedding day. While I do work as quickly as possible (I affectionately refer to it as herding cats), they do take time. When creating your list of family photographs, keep the allotted time in mind. Estimate 3-5 minutes per family grouping, some will take more, some will take less.
To keep family photos moving as fast as possible, I recommend doing them immediately after the ceremony. If you are doing a first look, and want to do your family photographs ahead of time, we can do immediate family beforehand. If you are interested in extended family photographs, they work best right after the ceremony. Please let everyone who needs to be there know in advance, and put someone in charge of wrangling them into the photo area.
With the rise of Pinterest, sparkler photographs and exits are all the rage. They are such a pretty way to end the evening and can make for some gorgeous shots. They do however, come with their own set of logistics.
Please leave a minimum of 20 minutes to arrange a sparkler exit. It takes time to arrange everyone safely, and to light up all of the sparklers. To expedite the process, please ensure either you or your venue has multiple lighters (I suggest the long barbecue lighters). The long, smokeless sparklers designed for weddings work far better than the short, traditional ones.
* Please note: lighted exits can be a beautiful way to end your night. While Pinterest makes floating lanterns look like something out of a dream, due to their illegal nature in NY (along with the majority of the country) I do not photograph their use. They have caused forest fires, severely damaged buildings, and injured both people and animals. I am happy to recommend some alternative exits that are legal and safe for both you, and the surrounding areas.