Let’s get on the same page: what do I mean when I say wedding timeline?
It’s basically the schedule of your wedding day. Depending on how many things are happening, a wedding timeline can get pretty complex; it’s important to sort it all out and make sure everyone knows what’s going on.
Early in the planning process, you don’t need a super detailed wedding timeline. A rough estimate is enough; something we can work off of to make sure everything “fits,” so to speak.
What does this have to do with photos?
Pretty much everything.
If you want to make sure that certain things get photographed on your wedding day, it helps to know how long each of those things take, when they’re happening, and whether or not I’ll be there. If you only book me for 4 hours, but you want to document everything from the wedding party getting ready to your whole reception, I physically won’t be able to do it.
Because how do photographers charge for their work? Based on the amount of time that you need them. And how long do you need me for?
“Rachel that’s what I’m saying, I have no idea, SOS.”
I’ve got you. Here we go
Start with the easiest, most concrete place: your ceremony. Chances are, you know when this is going to happen. The average ceremony lasts 15-30 minutes
How long will it take you to get to the ceremony location from where you’re getting ready?
If you’re hiring a pro to do your hair and makeup (very good idea, by the way), you can estimate that each will take ~45 min.
Are you doing a first look?
Yes!! This is going to save you some time! We can do your portraits and your family photos before the ceremony. If “family photos” make you clench up, don’t worry. For starters, you don’t have to do them if you don’t want to. But if you do, I keep things real efficient. You can estimate 30 minutes for this. Note: you don’t have to do things this way; you can take photos after the ceremony if you prefer.
Nope/we have no idea: portraits and family photos after the ceremony. …Also let’s chat. I’m very much in favour of doing a first look.
Are you having a cocktail hour? Add that.
What’s going on in your reception? Food, toasts, dancing, etc. Anything special going on that you for sure need me there for?
Once you have your day roughly sketched out, it’s time to ask yourself:
What do you want documented?
Photographers work continuous hours, which means, you can’t hire me for an hour at 9am, then another hour at noon, then another hour at 3. It’s 9-4.
So, do you want full documentation of getting ready, or do you just want the last hour? Are you ok with me leaving half-way through the reception, or do I need to stay to the end to capture sparklers or fireworks or something?
I help develop custom timelines for all of my couples, but this should give you a pretty good idea of how much coverage you’re looking for. Don’t stress: you’re never going to have to sort this out alone. Chances are, you aren’t super familiar with wedding day timelines! That’s not your job; it’s mine.
Hope this helps with your stress levels. You know how to find me if you have any specific questions (: