A well thought out wedding day timeline can be the difference between a sane, happy bride…and an insane (this is when bridezilla tends to rear her ugly head) and frazzled bride. Happy brides make happy wedding days, so it is definitely worth putting a lot of thought into your schedule. Today, David Nall of AiP Creative Photography has written a great article about planning your timeline. Take it away David!
By David Nall of AiP Creative Photography
It’s the day you’ve been dreaming of since you were a little girl. Your Prince Charming… the flowers… the rings… the magic! Now it’s here — you’re just moments away from walking down the aisle — and you can’t stop thinking about how your timeline, that you thought was so perfect, completely fell apart, resulting in missed shots and lots of scurrying around as the minutes ticked by. Now what are you going to do after the ceremony? It was supposed to be just a few family shots and then you and your new husband for 45 minutes. Instead, you still need all your family shots plus your couple’s shots. On top of that, you had to rush to get your dress on, because you only planned on an hour of hair and makeup, when it really took two hours. Stress! If only you had planned it better, or had someone who knew the intricacies of the wedding day to help you. Sigh. Time to walk down the aisle… at least this will still be magical, even though it is starting 30 minutes late.
Does this sound terrible to you? It does me! This is how some weddings actually go, though. I am here to attest that having an experienced photographer to help with your timeline prior to your wedding is such a tremendous advantage, even if you already have a wedding planner to help with your day. At AiP, I do go over each and every timeline my brides send me to look for opportunities. I want my brides to get their shots. I don’t want stressed out brides — for their sake, the groom’s sake, and my sake! Stressed out brides are rarely enjoying their day, and they do not help to make the best pictures. My first goal with every wedding is to minimize any potential stress my brides might have, and my second is to create beautiful, artistic images. I think both go hand in hand. So how do I do it?
Time, Time, Time!
Time keeps on rolling whether we want it to or not. My purpose in reviewing my brides’ timelines is to make sure we have a cushion in case some events take longer than anticipated.
What if the beautician is late? What if the grandparents are 20 minutes late for pictures? Anything can go wrong, and it really helps if some leeway is built into the timeline itself.
It is so much better to have some down time than to be running around like a mad woman! I look over the timeline, then give my brides suggestions on how we can improve it. Sometimes they already look very good, especially if they have a good wedding planner, but there are also times where travel to and from sites is not included, or the time allotted to pictures is too short, and I bring those things to their attention.
First Look or Not?
This is really a matter of preference for many brides — some of them value tradition more than anything, and that is just fine. There are some things to consider, though. If you want him to wait to see you, then you will probably have an hour at the most to get your wedding party pics, your creative couple’s pics, and some of your family pics. You won’t want to keep your guests waiting much longer than that. Even an hour is pushing it. You have to also include any walking/traveling time in there, if your pics aren’t going to happen right at the ceremony location. My opinion is that waiting for the ceremony for him to see you was perfect for the old, traditional style of photography. You know what I mean — you and your man at the altar, getting a few shots with your arms around each other. If you hire AiP, you are probably not looking for this style of photography (I hope not!). Creativity is what most brides are looking for now, and that’s what I offer. However, it doesn’t take a half hour to get lots of gorgeous shots, especially if there is any traveling involved, which there usually is.
Going with a first look allows you to schedule your day just how you want it.
If your photographer offers only hourly packages, then you may be cramped for time, especially with six or eight hours of coverage. There are several photographers out there, including AiP, that offer full day coverage. This gives you the freedom of scheduling as much time as you need for your creative portraits. This is a huge bonus! Allowing your photographer upwards of two hours for you and your groom will really give you some options you would not otherwise have had. Then you can also relax while you are getting these pics.
Play That Funky Music White Boy! Oh, and Keep Our Reception on Schedule!
The reception is where you finally get to kick back and celebrate. It should be fun, carefree, and include lots of dancing! It wasn’t until this year that I saw what a really poorly chosen DJ can do to a reception.
A bad DJ is like rat poison to the festivity of your dance floor.
Follow up a song that has gotten every one on the floor with an old Willie Nelson song, and you can watch the dancers all head back to their tables. The next good dance song will lead fewer of them back out. If this pattern keeps up, you can watch the evening die before your eyes. Choose someone with energy and experience. Don’t select someone because they are inexpensive. Not only do they keep the dance floor kicking, they keep the events flowing, and provide constant communication with the photographer. Good DJs will let your photographer know in advance when events like the first dance, the cake cutting, the flower toss, and the garter toss will be. The DJ will also make sure the photographer has any lighting gear ready before proceeding. Without this communication, it can be difficult for your photographer to know where to be, especially if the events aren’t running as planned.
Of course, there are many aspects to planning your wedding day. Hiring good planner is a wise choice for you to make. It is just as important in my opinion, to hire a photographer who will help you plan it out, as well.
If your photographer is experienced, he will be able to spot potential problems, and solve them before they even happen.
With that said, there will still be problems during the day. So much more then is the importance of having a photographer who can solve them for you on the fly. Make sure you get that timeline reviewed. Really think about whether you want a first look or not, based on what value you hold on tradition, but also base it on what value you place on your creative shots. Finally, get a great DJ! Do not let your magical day end at the ceremony — keep it going all night long. Keeping all this in mind will help you to have the dream wedding you’ve always wanted. It really is once in a lifetime.