When you plan your wedding day you pick the venue, the dress, the photographer, invite the guests and plan all the little details for your day. Next you have to decide the time of the ceremony, what time your going to get back to the reception venue, the time of your wedding breakfast, time of the speeches, time of the first dance etc etc. There is a lot to think about and that doesn’t even include how long the wedding photographs are going to take.
So this is where I can help as your photographer or your potential photographer. I have been to so many weddings that I can give you a run down of the ideal timings for your day which will allow time to get married, chat with guests, have some photos, have a time out and enjoy the party.
So the day usually starts off with the wedding preps. The photographer will turn up usually for the final hour to capture photos of the dress, shoes and final touches to make-up and then they are with you for the rest of the day til just after the first dance or later. So basically they are with you for the whole wedding day. Here is an idea of timings for a typical wedding day where you are getting married at 1pm.
Bridal Prep – Photographer arrives 10:45am and leaves 11:45am
Now depending how far the wedding venue/church is from the bride’s house will decide on what time the photographer arrives. I always aim to be add the venue/church 45 minutes before the ceremony to capture photos of the groom and groomsmen, the guests arriving and the arrival of the bride. So for this example I would arrive at around 10:45am
Venue/Church arrival – 12:15pm
Photographer arrives at the venue/church at 12:15pm
The Ceremony 1pm to 2pm
A church ceremony takes around 45 minutes or longer and a civil ceremony that usually takes place at a hotel is around 30 minutes which includes the signing of the register. So for this example the ceremony finishes at 2pm.
Meet and greet the guests – 2pm to 2:20pm
I like to capture as many natural photographs as possible. The last thing you want is a photographer stopping you enjoying the moment. So take this 20 minutes to say hello to each other and your guests and soak in the moment.
Group photos – 2.20pm to 2:50pm
Every family wants group photos at a wedding so they have a record of who came and celebrated with them on their day. But no couple wants to be standing around for ages being told to smile. I always advise my couples that 10 group photos should be the max and take up to 30 minutes from the day. The usual group photos are everybody, brides family, grooms family, bride and groom and both sets of parents and grandparents, bridal party, friends etc. More natural, spontaneous group photos can be taken throughout the day.
Couple timeout – 2:50pm 3:30pm
Its all important on your day to have some time to yourselves as your wedding day can go so fast. You need time to pop to the loo (Have you tried this in a wedding dress :-)), have a drink and some time to say hello to each other. So I like to call this a couple time out where you go for a walk, have a cwtch and take a breather. Whilst you are doing this I go ahead of you and capture some natural portraits. You then come back to view the room before you sit down for your wedding breakfast.
Wedding Breakfast – 3:30pm to 6pm
Sometimes the speeches can be before the wedding breakfast but for this example we will have the speeches after. Most wedding breakfasts consist of 3 courses and usually this can take around 2.5 hours.
Speeches – 6pm – 6:45pm
Now the average speeches take around 45 minutes unless you have 4 best men where that took 2 hours. But if you aim for 45 minutes then thats a good estimate.
Room turnaround – 6:45pm – 7:45pm
Most venues change the room around from where you have the wedding breakfast to having the evening reception. You can take this time to mingle with guests and your photographer make take you outside for a few more pictures at the golden hour if the weather is good.
First Dance – 8pm
Now depending on the time the venue takes to change the room around and the DJ or the band to set up decides on what time the first dance is but based on this example it can between 8 -8:30pm
Partytime – 8:30pm onwards
Straight after your first dance the part usually kicks in and everybody gets on the dancefloor. I like to use this moment to capture great pictures of all the guests dancing.
Photographer goes home – 9:30pm
Every photographer is different but I usually get the shots I want within that hour of dancing. Unless anything else is happening then I shoot off home and collapse 🙂
This is just an example of a typical wedding day and can change if your getting married and holding the reception at one venue so there is no driving time between venues or maybe there are multiple venues or locations and you have to factor in the driving time. But any professional, experienced photographer will have the knowledge and be able to help with the timings for your day. Timings is one of the most important things you need to get right so make sure you book a south wales wedding photographer who has the experience and know how to help you plan your day so it becomes an experience of a lifetime.