{ Sharing the Sweetness :: Wedding Timelines }

I decided on a name for the Ask me Anything series!  Sharing the Sweetness  🙂  Today’s questions come from Holly, Jenny, Colleen, and Tricia.  We’re talking about wedding day timelines, first looks, and what to do if it rains.  This one is for both photographers AND couples!

Holly asked, “How do you break up a wedding day? As in, what sections of the day get what kind of time?

Hi Holly!  Well, as you know, being a wedding photographer yourself, every wedding is different!  Often, the couple has their timeline laid out already, and we follow that.  But we are always happy to help set up the timeline to make sure there is time for all the good stuff!  We offer unlimited wedding day coverage, and typically we start with the getting-ready (with everyone camera-ready: hair and makeup done) and end sometime during open dancing after all the reception events (dinner, speeches, cake cutting, garter/bouquet toss) have been completed.  As for exclusive picture time, we like to have an hour with the bride and groom, and hour with the bridal party, and an hour for family.  We typically don’t use up the entire hour for family, but we allow the extra time in case there are larger groups, kids, etc.  The bridal party time can be pre-ceremony, that fun celebratory time afterward, or both!  Bride/groom time: we always hope this will be a First Look, but post-ceremony is a great time too, and if it’s a nice night, definitely some sunset or night shots!

Between the major events (First Look, Family Portraits, Ceremony, Reception) we’re always on the lookout for details, and candid moments. If we can get into the reception location before the guests do, we take full advantage!  Couples spend a lot of time choosing and working on their details.  We want to capture all those little pieces that make up their day. Sometimes that means we have to split up and be in two places at once!  Most importantly, we go with the flow, and make modifications if/when the day gets off schedule.  Be flexible!

Jenny asked, “I would love to know how you talk the couples into seeing each other before the wedding. The few that I had done like that are so great. The photos are always so much better then when they see each other for the first time walking down the aisle.  Any pointers I would GREATLY appreciate it. 🙂 I love love love your stuff by the way!!”

We LOVE when couples choose to do a First Look!  We never “talk them into it”, we go over the options with them. Some couples want to see each other for the first time when the bride walks down the aisle, and we totally respect that. That said, we looooove when they choose to see each other beforehand!  The benefits?

1. More picture time!  You have us, take advantage!  We get to start pictures earlier, and your hair and makeup will be fresh!

2. Get family pictures done pre-ceremony. Again, while everyone’s makeup and hair is fresh – no tear-stained cheeks! After you say your I-do’s, you’re going to want to run out and celebrate, and if your family pictures are done, you’re free!

3. It is sooooo romantic!  Honestly, the First Look is our favorite part of the day.  We’ll get you set up, then we stand back with our long lenses and let the magic happen.  You’re all alone, just the two of you. You’ll feel more free to be yourselves, and take that moment to BE together before the craziness of the day kicks in. You can take all the time you want. Soak it up!

4. We typically go right into your bride/groom session from there, so you’re feeling extra sweet, romantic, and glowy. It makes this session time absolutely amazing!

5. And lastly, this is your wedding day!  Seeing each other earlier means you get to actually spend your day together, rather than being kept apart. Convinced yet?  😉


Colleen asked, “Typically does the bride approach the groom or vice versa for a first look?”

Great question!!  This is a personal decision.  Close your eyes and envision it for a minute.  Are you walking to him with your dress flowing behind you, or are you standing sweetly while he walks to you holding your bouquet?  Do what you feel in your heart  🙂

Tricia asked, “What do you do if it rains on the day of a photo shoot – especially a wedding? I know umbrellas are an option…do you also look for an alternate location where you can shoot indoors?”

Another great question!  I always encourage my wedding couples not to stress about the weather.  You can’t control it, so it’s not worth fussing over.  You can plan for it though!  First of all, you’re totally right about umbrellas. We keep a stash of 10 oversized black golf umbrellas in our car just in case.  We’ve had couples pack along their own umbrellas in their wedding colors too!  Another option is to find a covered space.  We love natural light, so shooting inside is always our last resort, although we do bring along lighting.  A lot of interesting buildings have overhangs that the couple or the group can fit under.  If it’s only sprinkling, even tree cover can work.  Also, it typically doesn’t pour ALL day.  We keep a very close eye on the sky, and we’ll take advantage of breaks in the rain!

If it rains on session day, we let the client decide whether they would like to go for it or reschedule for a clear day.  Rainy photos can be incredibly romantic!

photography umbrella romanticHave a great week!  Embrace the weather, whatever it may be!   :)Kristen


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  • Giffin - You must have read my mind, I was wondering this week about timeline for photos! And that first look is gorgeous!! 🙂

  • Tricia - Holly – thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question!

  • Joni Bilderback - Read my mind too!! ;P Thanks for sharing! I appreciate it so! Now I need to keep umbrellas in my car…. lol 😉

  • Leilani Tucker - Another great post Kristen! 🙂