I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that you'd probably want your wedding day to go smooth, be able to party and have enough time for some AMAZING pictures with you and your wedding party.
This is where your timeline comes in.
I want to make sure you have ( if not already ) a great game plan in place that keeps everyone on schedule as well as MAXIMIZES the amount of time we have for pictures of your wedding party, family and YOU.
I'm going to dive right into it below. The following is based on an 8 hour coverage day with a MODERN FIRST LOOK and hypothetical. If you look right above this paragraph I have a super simple printer friendly timeline template for you to download.
When I first arrive I like to take care of all the incredible details. This usually runs about 30 minutes and covers your rings, dress, shoes and accessories. By doing this right off the bat we don't have to worry about setting aside time later that can take us out of the other moments AND you haven't put anything on yet so really what better time.
A great way to save me time is to have everything ready to go in one area ( this includes all three rings ).
Once I finish with the details we move into the bridal prep. This is where you and girls or you and your guys are having fun getting pampered and ready for this amazing day! Every prep room is different so here a few key tips for incredible pictures no matter the style of room your in.
1. De-clutter so the main prep room is nice and clean. Unless of course you'd love to see handbags, suitcases and half empty water bottles in the background hahaha.
2. Try to position your hair and make up near the open light coming in from the windows instead of them setting you up under orange room lights. This not only helps eliminate mixed lighting for myself but also gets you and your hair and make up artist a better picture. As an added bonus to this setup it allows me to get different styles of looks too ( backlighting, dramatic side lighting and fill lighting )
Once we finish the bridal prep and your dress is on we move into bridal portraits. Where we do these is completely based on where we are at. So for example if your prep is at a hotel that hasn't been updated or under going construction ( yes ) then we may want to consider doing them at the venue or church prior to first look BUT if your hotel has great light and character to it then we'll want to use it. This is the same for grooms as well. Guys tend to look better in a more dramatic type of lighting so I am always on the lookout for this. Bridal portraits to me are about you, not just in the sense of the name but your character. I want you to shine and be your awesome self. This is YOUR day so have fun!
Now it's time for that first look! That moment. Before I go on though I highly suggest you read my blog on MODERN FIRST LOOKS.
GREAT now that your totally on board I'll continue hahaha!
The first look takes place in a setting of our choosing that's available. Typically it takes 5 minutes, sometimes a tiny bit longer. We do this right before we go into either bride/groom, bride/bride, groom/groom or wedding party pictures. He'll / She'll be positioned so that you'll be able to walk up behind them, you'll add your spin to get them to turn around ( I've seen the tap, the jump on the back and the ass grab HAHA ) and see each others beautiful self. It's you two against the world in that moment so tell each other how awesome you look, spin around, kiss and laugh.
Now we get to start on our wedding party pics and romantics / creatives! You may be thinking "DAMN that's a good chunk of time" and it's totally true. There's good reason. The first is I look at time as a commodity, the more we have the more we appreciate, the less we have and the situations can become volatile. I try to pad a tiny bit of time throughout the day so we can have more time to get creative, go to EPIC locations and get those AMAZING images you booked me for. Without time you're in a rush, can't get too creative and have to rely on the immediate surroundings for a setting ( sometimes that works out perfect if it's a kick ass venue ). All of these show in the pictures so we have to work TOGETHER as a team to make time.
The way I like to start these is by splitting into groups all guys / all girls. We get very different looks by doing this because the girls can be girls and the guys can be guys. This goes by quick and then I bring everyone together for the group. After this we let the wedding party go well...party haha, but you two will stay will me. I might have your Maid of Honor stay behind to help with veil shots if I'm solo but if I have a second shooter with me I will use them.
The Romantics / Creatives. This is where the two of you get time for yourself and can relax. Ideally I want about 1 hour with the two of you, if I can get more then awesome! For these I want to find settings that lend itself to who you are and contribute to the story of your wedding day. We'll get creative and I may ask you to do some things that has you thinking I'm crazy hahaha but you have to trust me because I trust in you two. Don't be afraid to ask for a break ( sometimes I'll schedule one ) so you can take a breath and recharge. It's a long day and we're half way through it. These breaks are a great way to get some candids so interact with each other and pay no attention to me so we can get those organically.
If we finish early that's great! I want you to go be with your family and friends. Prep for the ceremony and chill. I'll be around looking for awesome moments that are happening around you.
The Ceremony. Be yourself, try not to pay any attention to me. I'll be like a ninja moving around the entire time so trying to find me will be futile hahaha! Kidding aside, live in the moment and don't hold back. This is a very special time for you and those witnessing. My key tips for this are to walk slow ( down and up the aisle ) and give a great kiss ( at least two seconds ). If you really want to be super awesome you'll have your Officiant announce that the ceremony is unplugged and for guests to enjoy the moment instead of taking pictures at this time. I'm pretty sure you have seen phone and Ipad pictures from ceremonies...no bueno hahaha.
Family pictures. We have all done them and know exactly what to expect. I like to mix it up a little during this time to get everyone laughing. There a few things you can do to make this section seamless. The first will be making a list of family groupings. By having this we can make sure everyone is present when they need to be instead of wondering where Uncle John ran off too ( the open bar ) or Cousin Emily ( changing the babies diapers ). This can save a ton of time. The second thing is to have your Officiant announce the pictures right after the ceremony so all those who need to stay can. Quick tip - when doing large group shots if guests can't see me then I can't see them.
Cocktail hour and sunset creatives. I want you to enjoy your wedding so I like to have you attend the cocktail hour. Often times this creates a situation though where you want sunset images ( which I love to do also ). So I leave this entirely up to you. If the area we need is close then BAM lets do both but if it's a ways away then we have to make that call. I'm super down for either one! If you book a second photographer I will always have them cover the cocktail hour while we do sunset creatives. Win-win :)
First Dance, Parent Dances, Dinner, Speeches, Cake Cutting, Bouquet and Garter Toss. Typically all of these fall between this time. The dances last the length of a song ( a minute or two ) so keep moving. The more you move around the dance floor the greater opportunity for me to get AMAZING pictures. Cake, bouquet and garter can all be done in less than 15 minutes. Speeches are the x-factor because they can be short and sweet or long winded.
Party time! When the dance floor opens that's when you let loose. Grab a drink, hit the floor and do your thang! I'll be right in the mix of it all but pay no mind to me hahaha.
I love to do night creatives. So at some point during the open dancing or perhaps right before it starts I want to sneak you away for about 10 minutes and get some incredible images. I usually scout these earlier in the day so we can get in and out and have you back to partying in no time!