April 4, 2017
Everything a bride needs to know about her wedding day, begins with a timeline. It's time to really dive into this topic, as its much needed and the most important part of the entire day. I've shot over 300 weddings (312 if we want to be technical, but who has time for that nonsense). A lot of my couples ask me to help put together their timelines, and a lot of couples will either have their mother or a bridesmaid plan the day...and 99% of the time the day is a disaster. The whole point of hiring a photographer/videographer is for them to capture the day, the details and the memory. I will come back to this point later on in this post. Feel free to come back to this page for a guidance, at the end of the day we want you to have as much content and a stress free experience. Here we go!
The very first thing that you need to come up with is a start time for your ceremony. Down here in Florida it seems most ceremony start times are at 4pm. So just to be safe, we are going to have your ceremony start time at 4pm. Also, we will have your ceremony and reception at the same place...which us vendors absolutely love! This make believe wedding we are putting together will include a first look, which again... us vendors love!
Makeup and Hair - most brides think since their trials took about an hour this is how it's going to play out come wedding day. If you have your official timeline written up and you have your makeup and hair only taking an hour, get ready to have a day fall apart right in front of your eyes. Hair is going to take about an hour and 10 minutes, Makeup is going to take about an hour and 10 minutes. Why? Wedding days are messy, usually unorganized and a bunch of girls in a hotel room drinking mimosas, talking about anything and everything and time just slips away...most timelines that come my way will say ceremony at 3 bride ready at 2 first look at 2:15. This will never be accurate. Also, your photographer will miss so many opportunities to deliver world class photos.
BRIDE hair 11AM BRIDE makeup 12:15, notice how bride is all caps? This is key because your "trial" was a lot shorter than the day of. Trust me. Once the brides time is highlighted for her she now understands this is HER time, not just a standard bride ready at 2 (they will usually begin hair and makeup about 1 since they will base their trial time vs wedding time). We have to establish a real time for our brides. Once makeup and hair are finished its now around 1:30pm. Our bride is polished and ready to go. Let her walk around, take some selfies drink a few more mimosas, brush her teeth and have some girl time.
1:45 BRIDE IN DRESS. This process will vary from 3 minutes to 15 minutes depending on your vendors approach. Some of us like to make sure the room is pretty, and make sure our brides in flawless light for those wow shots - others just say put the dress on where ever she wants and take their photo/video. (even if the room is a disaster the right light can create a luxury look).
Around 2pm-2:15 will be your first look (yay) This is a phenomenal time for emotional content with a lot of value, plus we can get a lot of portraits of our couples and not be worried about them sunsets that happen just way too fast. I think the optimal setups for first looks are the couple alone. Usually your groom will cry his eyes out..let's just hope he isn't an "ugly crier" After the epic first look we are going to have your photographer is going to be able to have a field day with photo's. The big reason is because nobody has to stay hidden, everyone can come out now and all formals will already be completed. So, after the ceremony it's just the standard family photos.
4pm - ceremony. I've noticed most Florida weddings are about 20 minutes if they are outside. So let's keep that in mind as well. 4:30 ceremony ends, this doesn't mean at 4:30 family portraits will start. It's going to take time for everyone to head over to cocktail hour, and your photographers to find the family, yes... some of them just wonder off and this hurts them for content. Portraits are your photographers priority, so it's important you tell uncle Ron he needs to hangout after the ceremony. Each photographer is going to have different visions, styles and ideas...just listen to them and you're all set.
Cocktail hour 4:30-5:30. Since you already knocked out your bridal party portraits this time is up to you. Some of my brides want more content (yes) and others want to hangout with friends and family during the last portion of cocktail hour, your call brides. (if you didn't have that first look, you will now be rushed to get all your portraits...and some weddings run so far behind the photographer has zero time for portraits of just you two).
Okay, something about Florida weddings are different when it comes to this order. I'm from up north and doing weddings there the order is just better for video and photo. If you want the best outcome I strongly suggest you have the reception go in this flow. I actually beg you, like on my hands and knees begging.
Every wedding I have filmed down here will rush the first dance and then go right into toasts...Now after educating my brides on why this is a bad idea I've never had one actually go in this order. Here is why. Wedding toasts are going to be what fuels your wedding video. Those words spoken are too valuable to just rush out of the way, so toasts need to be setup and my audio needs to be perfect. Remember, your photographer and videographer need content, and the content we need must look beautiful or we have failed. I've encountered a lot of people who simply want to rush these things to "get the boring stuff out of the way" This is just a messy approach. Light and sound are the main ingredient for a beautiful film. Just as light is the number one ingredient for world class photography. The first dance is also pretty big, now I've adjusted being able to have s flawless transition from introductions into the first dance, but it isn't perfect. I prefer first dance to happen after toasts, but we can for the sake of this have them happen right after introductions.
Toasts -Towards the end of dinner we can begin toasts. I usually don't eat because toasts require the right lighting, and getting great sound....if I eat I neglect the setup of my toasts and your wedding video is about 50% defeated. I do have to mention a lot of times, coordinators will tell us we must eat last, and in a far away spot... this is also a bad idea because guess what is happening while we eat? Either someone is dancing, or someone is giving a speech, or someone is doing a special performance and know you don't have a memory of this because of this mindset...luckily I've been around a while and this mentality and awareness doesn't even phase me.
After toasts it's pretty much cake then open dancing. Some brides want to go out during dinner and get some sunset photo's, which your photographer will adore so I urge those as well. As I said in paragraph one, you're hiring us for beautiful content and we need as much as possible. If your day begins to run behind 5-10 minutes from bridal prep by the end of the night you're easily an hour or two off. Timelines are the foundation of your wedding, and we all know a foundation is the base for whatever you're building.
I didn't include groom prep in this because groom prep takes less than 3 minutes to film and take photo's of if you know what you're doing. There's a little bit of wiggle room in the timeline as well because zippers break on wedding dress, straps tear, mom left the veil at the house etc. It's nice to have bubble room instead of trying to create time that doesn't really exist. Feel free to reach out with any questions, I try to answer everything that I can that comes my way. I think if everyone is on the same page and educated on certain aspects the only thing that happens is our couples have a powerful experience. Here's a recap of times.
BRIDE hair 11am
BRIDE makeup 12:15
BRIDE slips on dress 1:45
FIRST LOOK 2 - 2:15
PHOTOs 2:15 - 3:45
Cocktail hour 4:30 - 5:30
(family portraits/bridal party portaits up to bride during cocktail hour since we knocked those out because of your epic first look).
5:30 - 5:45 Introductions.
Toast 6:30 (so we have a vision to set these up, go over audio and make some pretty light.