Daniel’s Tips for the Bride # 2
SHARE THE TIMELINE
Try to finalize your wedding itinerary (timeline) a week before your wedding day.
Send your timeline to your photographer, coordinator, bridal party, DJ and to immediate family. Make sure your friends and family know when to be ready for photos and the ceremony.
The wedding day itinerary can be different, according to bride/groom’s religion/tradition. Whatever, for the purpose of helping you for your big day, I will give you some guidelines to make your timeline:
- Bride’s hair: 1 hr.
- Bride’s makeup: 45-60 min.
- Bridesmaids’ hair: 30 min./per person
- Bridesmaids’ makeup: 40-45 min.
- The order: when your hairstylist arrives, have her/him start on your bridesmaids first. It’s better to have you go last, so that when your photographer arrives, he can catch those last-minute “getting ready” shots, and you look the freshest.
- If you have 4 or more people, other than yourself, getting hair done: ask your stylist to bring an assistant to cut down on time.
- If you have 2 or more people, other than yourself, for makeup: add an assistant.
- If you’re traveling to a salon: double the travel time you anticipate.
- Pre-ceremony photos: 2-3 min./shot. (Add more time if the group is very large).
- First look (if it’s before ceremony): at least 30 min.
- My advice: If you don’t want to miss a minute of your cocktail hour, schedule your portrait photos before the ceremony. At that time you’ll be more “fresh” (hair, makeup, and mood). Doing now, you’ll be, also, less nervous to walk down the aisle.
C e r e m o n y
- Groom and groomsmen arrive: 1.5 hrs. before the ceremony.
- Bride and bridesmaids arrive: 1 hr. before the ceremony. You want to make sure you are hidden before your guests arrive, so they don’t get an early peek at your gown. If the bride won’t be taking photos at the church prior to the ceremony, then she can arrive moments before walking down the aisle and wait in the car/limo until it’s time.
- Ideal ceremony length: 30 min.
- Receiving line: for a ceremony with 100 guests or less, this will take about 15-20 minutes. For 150 guests, allow 30-40 minutes. For over 150 guests, consider skipping the receiving line and visiting guests at their tables during dinner.
- Gap between ceremony and reception: 1 hr. (again, according to your tradition). If the gap will be more than 1 hr. I’d recommend suggesting places for your guests to visit between ceremony and cocktail hour.
P o s t c e r e m o n y p h o t o s
- Family photos: 2-3 min./per shot(if your family is properly organized!).
- Bridal party: 2-3 min./per shot
- Didn’t have a first look? Allow at least 30 min.(not considering traveling time-if you decide some another place: park, lake, down-town, etc.)
- If you did have a first look: you’ll still want 20 minutes post-ceremony for just the two of you.
- Note: at this time, it might be more challenging to assemble different groups of people (like: classmates, coworkers and large extended family) for a picture than at the reception when your DJ or band leader can make an announcement to gather everyone.
R e c e p t i o n
- Ideal length: aprox.6 hours (1hr.for cocktails; 2hrs.for dinner; 3hrs. for dancing).
Order of events:
- -first dance (the most common timing is immediately after the bride and groom enter the reception, but you can also do your first dance following the conclusion of dinner or right after dessert),
- -father and daughter dance (immediately following the first dance),
- -mother and son dance (immediately following the father/daughter dance. Or, sometimes these dances are shared),
- -welcome toast (given by the bride and groom or by the father of the bride),
- -first course served,
- -toasts (ladies first! Start with the maid of honor, followed by the best men),
- -guests invited to dance (open up the dance floor, and get the party started!),
- -cake cutting (aprox.2 hrs. before the reception ends. Other couples opt to cut the cake earlier in the night, like following their introduction or the toasts. This ensures that all guests see the cake being cut and allow the bride and groom to have fewer obligations throughout the night),
- -bouquet and garter tosses (right after the cake cutting, or about 2 hrs. before the end of the reception),
- -late-night snacks (a popular trend, many couples start passing around bite-size snacks at this point, to refuel guests),
- -farewell (if you’re doing a sparkler farewell, have guests start lining up about 10 minutes before you plan to exit)
- The most important tip regarding your timeline/wedding photos:
- In photography, the TIME is an essential element. Even if you hire the BEST of the BEST photographers - if you don’t give him time to shoot, you won’t get the best of his talent. Also, in order to be highly satisfied with your wedding photos, make sure the communication between you (the couple) and your photographer is “GOLDEN!” Tell your photographer what kind of shots you would you like but don’t make a “mandatory” checklist for him, because a beautiful photo doesn’t come from a piece of paper with a checklist on it.
CAN GUESTS “RUIN” YOUR WEDDING PICTURES?
More and more at weddings we encounter guests “ruining the wedding pictures” by distracting the subjects, disrupting intimate moments, or being constantly in the background trying to get their shots.
Usually, there isn’t a problem when guests take pictures, but when they get in the way of the professional you hired, it becomes a conflict.
Even a guest with a high end camera, in most cases, will still fail to get the same shot as your professional wedding photographer. Knowing how to finesse the wedding day, how to frame, when to shoot, setting the correct camera settings, how to be invisible, and the hours of post-production are the things that go into to making your wedding images amazing.
Your guest might give you a bunch of images a day after wedding, after you look over them, you might feel like there were few good ones, and then you might second guess your professional photographer. Then your eager friend posts their amateur snapshots on Facebook and tags you in them. The next day, your friends think that you hired a subpar photographer and that maybe your wedding wasn’t all that great, by judging the pictures. A month later that might be rectified by posting the pictures from your wedding photographer, however the “damage” is already done.
In addition, we now have to worry about 50-60 cell phones, even IPads, being whipped out while you walk down the aisle and they are all in the shot. People lean in, or even step into the aisle to get a “better shot” for themselves. Think about this for a second. Do you want to see a bunch of cell phones in front of the faces of your friends in the background of your wedding pictures, or just the faces of your friends taking in the special moments?
What can you do to avoid this situation? There is no easy answer, because it’s your wedding day and you don’t want your friends and relatives to get mad at you. However, they need to understand the purpose of their presence on your wedding day is not to take pictures.
You can work together with your photographer and kindly ask them to refrain from being too obtrusive. They might hear you louder than they do us (photographers). Or you might even add a card to your invitation, addressing the subject of photography. Example:
Dear family and friends, our wedding photography is very important to us. Our photographer recommends that we ask you, our family and friends, to refrain from taking pictures with your cameras/phones during the most important parts of our wedding day. Since the ceremony is one of the most important parts to us, we ask that you, please, do not take pictures at all during the ceremony. Please engage and share in the moment with us. You are free to take pictures during the reception, just make sure not to be in the background of the photographer’s shots during the events such as: first dance; father daughter dance, toasts, and cutting of the cake etc.
Thank you so much for respecting our wishes and we look forward to sharing our wedding day with all of you!”
If any of my tips shed some light on your questions about the wedding day, I have reached my goal of helping you.
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