As I sit here drinking my glass of wine trying to use my time that I think I have to sit and type this, I’m being glared at by two teenagers who seem to think that staring at me will make me use my time to cook them dinner, like I feel like parenting tonight or something! Surely there’s some kind of law that says teenagers should be able to cook their own meals at this age? So they’ll keep staring and I’ll keep typing and making pointed looks at the cabinet that contains the ingredients for a healthy, filling, PB&J sandwich.
When I think about time (not in philosophical ways, that’s waaaay to deep of a subject for this blog) I think back to one of my first weddings many moons ago. The bride wanted to pay me for 2 hours of services and of course she assured me that we would be able to fit the getting ready, wedding, bride & groom portraits, bride with family portraits, bride with groom and family, bride with bridesmaids, groom with bridesmaids……. etc. etc.. portraits in that two hours. It was only pictures for goodness sake and all I was doing was clicking the shutter. Oh HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA……I was so dumb….. Do you know how long it takes to wrangle drunk uncle Bob into portraits and get him to stop making those stupid faces (or grabbing a bridesmaid’s ass)?
So now, during consultations, brides & grooms and I go over a sample timeline of mine so we can decide which moments they truly need time for and which moments are not important for me to capture for them and I would like to share this with everyone! (Because I’m just super awesome like that.)
1:00 – 3:00 Bridal Party Hair & Makeup – two hours or longer depending on how many in the party and how many professionals you have working on you! I will use this time to also photograph the rings, the dress by itself, and some detail shots of the venue.
3:00 – 4:00 Bride & Groom getting dressed (and everyone else getting dressed) there WILL be a last minute emergency that has to be addressed (such as a bride needing duct tape to get her dress on, or when someone has to run to get the rings out of the groom’s house! )
4:00 – 4:30 B&G First look – One day I will write a blog post about why I love the first look (when I have time) but ultimately this part is completely up to the bride and groom and their wants.
5:00 – 6:00 Wedding – Yes, you told the minister that you wanted to keep it short and sweet but trust me, some of them think short and sweet equals 45 minutes instead of the 15 minutes you were thinking. Also everyone getting into their places (and the likelihood that you will be running behind) will take longer than you think.
6:00 – 6:30 Hugs and Greetings – Some enthusiastic wedding planner will insist that everyone wait for you two at the reception. There might even be an announcement. Plan for half of the people to think that this will not apply to them.
6:30 – 7:00 Herding – If you hired a planner (even a day of planner will do) then congrats, most likely you and your party will not be doing the herding of people for family portraits!
7:00 – 8:00 (ish) Family & B&G Portraits – Now part of these can be moved to a different time. Such as during the time we allotted for the first look or if there’s time after getting ready. Bride with family and groom with family can be done at the same time if you have purchased a package with two photographers present so the B&G don’t see each other before the wedding. If you do a bunch of separate poses for each family member. Such as Bride with mom/dad/sibling and groom with mom/dad/sibling. These formal images can take much longer. And generally, besides the wedding, these are some of the most cherished images! So allot yourself plenty of time for these images. I say 10 minutes for a single photographer per group and another 30 minutes just for the bride and groom alone if this wasn’t done at the first look (generally everyone else will be asked to make their way to the reception area during this time).
8:00 – 10:00 Reception – Food, cake cutting, bouquet tossing, first dances, speeches, photographs with all the tables, any formal photographs not taken after the wedding, present opening and the exit can be completed in two hours or less. We can even fake the final exit early so there’s absolutely no reason for me to bother you again!
As you can see for your average to large wedding, you will need at least 6 – 8 hours of time.
So when you meet with your planner, photographer, catering company etc. with a guest list 300 people long and you look them dead in the eye and say “This is only going to take 2 hours.” That look on their face, is the look of disbelief from experts in the field who have many weddings under their belt.
Do us all and yourself a favor and pad your schedule with plenty of time so you don’t feel stressed out and rushed to get through one of the most important days in your life.
“Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” –Jim Rohn
About the Author: Criss is a full time mother, public servant and artist. She has 2 kids, four rescue dogs, a rescue fiance, a rescue horse that she can’t ride, two geese, 8 ducks and 38 and counting chickens. She has a passion and love for preserving history and storytelling.