Once you have selected your wedding venue, it is time to start planing the time frame of your day: your ceremony time, dinner time and exit time. As a wedding photographer your timeline is crucial to making sure the day runs smoothly and you get the most beautiful natural light photos possible. I always suggest to my brides to plan their ceremony time around the sunset, this allows for gorgeous light and portraits. This also maximizes the amount of film that will be able to be shot at your wedding. I have found that the best lighting for portraits is about 1.5-2 hours before the sun sets. So if the sun sets at 8 p.m. on your wedding day, I would start portraits between 6-6:30. So depending on how long the ceremony is, I would start it around 5:30!
Side note: if you don’t have the option to select your ceremony time due to a church or venue schedule, do not fret, your photographer will be able to work around any scheduling conflicts or constraints. Trust your photographer :)
When you are deciding when to start your coverage my rule of thumb that I tell all of my brides is, four hours before ceremony time if you are not doing a first look and five hours before ceremony time if you are doing a first look. This allows for details, getting ready, some bridal party and portraits to be taken. It also provides plenty of cushion time.
Always, always, always allocate more time than you think you need for everything. Something will run behind and you will be so grateful that you created the margin in your day for this to happen. Nothing is worse than a stressed out bride, so plan ahead for things to run behind, because they inevitably will.
These are just a few of my tips when planning your timeline. If you are working with a wedding planner, they will cover this all with you! However, if you have any questions about how I schedule or plan timelines for my couples, do not hesitate to reach out!