I’m not an expert on planning a wedding day timeline, but I wanted to share some tips, from a natural light photographer’s point of view, what I’ve experienced to be an ideal wedding day timeline. This timeline is what my weddings look like because, in my experience, it helps with going thru the wedding day stress very smoothly, and the bride and groom get to enjoy THEIR day.
First of all, I HIGHLY recommend hiring a planner. Wedding planners ARE the true experts with wedding planning. They can pay attention to the tiniest details that often get overlooked until the big day. They can help you with creating a stress free detailed wedding day timeline.
Today I would love to share 5 tips to help you pick the best ceremony time for your wedding. There are a lot of variables that need to be considered for the ideal wedding day timeline that’s unique for YOUR wedding, but these tips will help you find out the best ceremony time for the best ceremony photos and allocate enough time for other portraits such as bride and groom portraits, family portraits, bridal party portraits and so on. I am a natural light photographer in the Southern California, and any natural light photographer will need good light for the best portraits.
Tip 1 – Are you doing a first look? You need to decide if you’d like to do a first look or not. First look allows some time for bride and groom portraits and the entire wedding party portraits to be done before the ceremony. If you decide to do a first look then you will need less time after the ceremony. If you’re not doing a first look then you have to have enough time available after the ceremony. Often times brides don’t realize how much time we need to get all the photos done before the grand entrance. Considering this first tip will help you with your ceremony time.
Tip 2 – If you decide to do a first look then your ideal ceremony time would be an hour before the sunset. For example, if sunset is at 6:15 then your ideal ceremony time would be 5. You want to have enough time for your ceremony, family portraits afterwards and any other portraits that you want to get done. Also, not everything goes according to plan on a wedding day. Allocating enough time will make it stress free.
Tip 3 – If you don’t want to do a first look then ideally your ceremony should be 2 – 1 1/2 hours before sunset. If sunset is at 6 then your ceremony time should be no later than 4:30 pm. You truly don’t want to have less time after the ceremony for all portraits. It can be done; however, I must say the quality will be much higher with enough time in hand. There has been numerous times when we didn’t need that entire 2 hours and bride and groom got to enjoy the cocktail hour with their guests before the grand entrance. Wouldn’t that be awesome!
Tip 4 – I highly recommend my brides considering the direction they face during the ceremony too. Often times brides and the venue coordinators focus on the backdrop and can end up facing West during the ceremony. You don’t want harsh light on your face the whole time during your ceremony.
Tip 5 – When I meet with my brides the first time, we look up sunset time for their wedding day. Thank god we have technology now that allows us that freedom. Even if your wedding day is over a year out, make sure you check sunset time of your big day carefully.
I am always here to help my brides to make their journey as smooth as possible. Hopefully you find these tips helpful.