Timing your wedding day
Your wedding day is one perfect day, full of happiness, love and promise. You have spent months, maybe years planning how you'd like your day to unfold. Our tip this Tuesday is: spend a little extra time, on time. Time is one of the most important considerations on your wedding day and certain elements of timing are frequently and easily overlooked. With a little extra planning however, you can really increase the time you spend enjoying your day and relaxing with family and friends.
Weddings by KARA strongly recommends that you work out a loose and flexible wedding day schedule that allows you enough time to get everything done and to fully enjoy your day and spend quality time with your guests and your love :)
Here are some of the elements, considerations and timing strategies we have noticed can make a huge difference on the day.
The days just before your wedding
Your suppliers should be in touch with you in the run up to your wedding, but if they haven't checked in, ring them and confirm times and plans. Once you have your flexible timing schedule worked out, let them know what it is, and how it affects their work.
Write out an exact group/family shot list for your photographer and assign two responsible family members or friends as your designated "gatherers". (More on this below)
Tell your immediate and/or extended family about when and how you would like to get your group shots done. Let them know that it would really help you if they are quick and responsive on the day.
On the morning of your wedding
Get a good night's sleep, and try and get up and going nice and early. For brides your morning is usually chock-a-block.
Start your hair and makeup early, find out how long it will take to complete each member of your bridal party and schedule yourself somewhere in the middle. If you have different hair and makeup suppliers coordinate timings with them before the day to find the most efficient way of getting everyone done with time to spare. It's a really good idea to hire hair and makeup suppliers who regularly work together as they are used to coordinating with each other.
Leave time for eating, breakfast is very important, it's a long day and you will need the energy. Plus you don't want to be hungry!
One of the most common time hiccups from a photography and videography point of view is nearer the end of the morning. If you would like photography and film footage of you getting into your dress and of everyone dressed before the ceremony you need to allow extra time. Talk to your photographer and videographer and work out how much time they will need.
If there is travel from your morning location to your ceremony location any conscientious photographer and videographer will want to leave your house good and early. We always want to get shots of your guests arriving at your ceremony location, and we need time to prepare equipment at said location.
Getting into your dress good and early means that you can get stunning photography and footage of your full morning in a nice relaxed fashion and then as your photographer and videographer leave to travel to your ceremony, you have some lovely quality time to spend with your family and bridal party. Or just time to yourself to relax.
If you are traveling to your ceremony location, check the traffic a week earlier on a similar day and time. Check your route. Make sure there is nothing happening on your specific date that might delay your travel. Parades, sporting events, roadworks etc... If there are, you need to know in advance and plan an alternate route or leave earlier.
Your wedding ceremony
Obviously different types of wedding ceremonies have different running times, the important thing is to know how long yours will be (taking into account how "wedding late" you plan to be) and then add on at least 30 minutes, especially if it is a church ceremony. Especially if you are planning to have a receiving line.
Weddings by KARA don't usually do group shots at the church unless specifically requested, but if group photography here is important to you, be sure to have mentioned this to your photographer before the wedding and factor in their timing estimate.
Factor in travel time to your wedding reception.
Group / Family Shots
Most couples have mixed emotions when it comes to their group shots. On the one hand you definitely want them, and they are lovely and important to have. :) On the other hand, everyone has been to a wedding where the group shots took 12 hours to shoot (or what felt like it).
Weddings by KARA pride ourselves on our beautiful and efficient group shot photography. We aim to spend no more than 20 minutes shooting them. This is completely possible with a small amount of forward planning, but it does require couples to do a little prep work.
We usually try and do the group shots as soon as possible at your venue, but not straight away. Guests are usually checking in, or wandering off for that first drink. :) So we aim to start them about 30 minutes after everyone has arrived. We always ask our couples to make sure they have created a comprehensive list of the exact group shots they want, with everyone's names listed. Our couples will have assigned two responsible family members (one from each side of the family) and informed them of a time to start gathering people and a location. When everyone is present at our arranged location, we work easily and swiftly through the list. This whole process does not need to take longer than 20 minutes.
It is a good idea to tell your family this plan before your wedding day. That way they are less likely to wander off and be AWOL. :)
It's amazing how much time you can save by consciously planning your group shots. It is so worth it!
These are fun and relaxed :) Weddings by KARA will chat to you about the kind of wedding photography you would like on the day, but our signature style is to shoot about 15-25 minutes of semi-directed photography, to complement our pure documentary coverage of your full day. This is a fun shoot where we create some fine-art photographs that you can treasure.
Schedule about 25 minutes for your couple fine-art shoot, or more if you'd like a separate videography fine-art shoot. We always coordinate this during our consultation phase, so you will know what to expect before your day.
When you are working out your loose schedule, try and leave yourselves at least 90 minutes to enjoy your reception after travel and photography. So if given the choice of dinner times, we would always recommend choosing a later time, especially if you have further to travel. It just gives you ample time to enjoy your day and chat to your guests.
Weddings by KARA will try whenever possible to get magic hour photography. That wonderful twilighty hour when the light starts to fade and on a good day, the air is golden orange. If you are lucky enough to have that light at your wedding, try and take 10 minutes to get some extra photography and film. It can be spectacular :)
Dinner / Speeches
When you are called for dinner and guests are being ushered into your dining room, you will have 15-20 minutes to have a drink and relax.
Try to make your dinner call time. It is not an easy job to feed 100+ guests and most good meals are timed to perfection, so if you delay, your meal's quality might suffer. Chefs do take small delays into account, but longer ones can be an issue, so it is a good thing to be aware of.
Whether you choose to have your speeches before or after dinner, be sure to get an idea of how long everyone's speech will be. This is especially important if they are before dinner. If they are before dinner and they look like they might be on the darker side of an hour, feed your guests something. An aperitif, or a selection of bread and wine tends to do the trick. :) Also if your speeches are before dinner, it is really imperative that they don't go too far over their allotted time, for the reasons already mentioned about food preparation times etc...
If your videographer is covering the speeches, it's important to let them know how long you expect them to be, who will be speaking and from where. There are a myriad of audio and storage related considerations when it comes to videography and this information is really helpful to know in advance.
Ask your band/DJ how long it will take them to set up. If there is the possibility that they can set up quietly in the background while you are having dinner, take it. Some venues have the option of screening off the band area during dinner and then revealing it after you cut your cake.
If you have booked a photography and videography package that includes first dance coverage, coordinate your first dance time with your photographer and band. Some photographers and videographers charge extra if first dance happens after a certain time, if this is the case, it is important that your band is ready to go on time.
Finally make sure you know how long you can stay dancing at your venue. Some venues are extremely flexible, others have strict cut-off points. If late night dancing is important to you, make sure you select a venue that allows it :)
Weddings by KARA are unique in Ireland because we offer a photography and videography team to cover your wedding. We work together to get stunning images and footage in a relaxed and easy manner. We know how to time and plan photography and filming to maximise your ability to enjoy your day. Even if we are not covering your wedding, it is a good idea to ask your photographer how she works with videographers and ensure they can work together. The last thing you want is a battle of wills...
Finally finally... Try and arrange a flexible schedule taking all these things into account, but be prepared to bend it. Don't worry if things don't go exactly to schedule. The most important consideration by far, is that you enjoy your day fully. Plan and time your day, then relax and let it happen. :)
We hope these small tips were useful to you, please leave any comments or additions you might have below. Or say hi to us on facebook! :)