Timing is everything
I often get asked 'how long do I need for photographs on my wedding day?' and the answer is straight forward and complex at the same time! The simple answer is as much as you'd like. For the complex (but helpful) answer and some wedding day timing tips, read on below.
Planning out your wedding day
Nobody wants to be stressed on their wedding day, not you, not your spouse and you certainly want your guests to have a good time with plenty of laughs and good times! This is why planning out your day in a timeline is so essential. If you can write down a rough timeline of everything that is happening on your day starting at the beginning then you'll be able to see where you may need to adjust timings of things. For example, you planned your wedding ceremony for 11:45am but you have twelve bridesmaids and only a couple of make up artists who will take 30 minutes on each person. So, knowing that your morning preparations may take take time, you can adjust your start time in the morning, or push back your ceremony (if you can). This theory applies to the rest of the day - work out how long it will take (ask the professionals) and adjust the things around it if necessary.
Make time (things don't always go to plan)
It's important to add in more time than you think you'll need on your wedding day. The likelihood is that something won't go to plan and instead of worrying that you won't have time for speeches later, or that the food will go cold, build in a little extra time so that you don't have to stress. Your guests are not going to mind if there is more down time in the day than not, it can be filled with lots of champagne, garden games, chats and a good catch up with family.
Build in travel time (not time travel)
Have a realistic expectation as to how long your mode of transportation will take on the day (if you are travelling). If you're getting married in the summer in Devon (or the rest of the South West) then build in extra time as there will be a lot of holiday traffic around popular areas. It also takes time to round everyone up before leaving the house, so make sure you have someone responsible for rounding up, locking up and making sure pets are fed.
If group photographs are an important part of the day to you, then be sure to allocate enough time for them. It takes more time to round people up than you'd like to think. There will be one of your uncles at the bar, your aunty will be checking into their room and your sister is likely to be in the toilet! Assign someone you trust with the role of chief rounder-upper so that while your photographer is taking one group's photograph, the organiser can be getting the next group together. The photographer can then arrange everyone and make sure everyone is smiling, but having someone to round everyone up is essential for keeping to time. When you write your group photo list, make sure you list everyone in each group and not just 'Simon's Family'. Why? Because there are always questions, i.e. 'do you want Steve's girlfriend in this photo?' or 'am I supposed to be in this one?' - listing everyone's names helps to beat the ambiguity and embarrassment of asking. If you want a shot of everyone don't list all their names for this one! Allocate 3-4 minutes per group and you will build in a little bit of time into the day as they hopefully won't take that long.
How much time do I need for our photos?
In terms of photographs of the two of you, you can have as much or as little time as you'd like. As a photographer I'd love to take photographs of the two of you in a stunning location for as long as I can get away with. BUT, it's not my day and I'm there to record the goings on of the day to your specification - so if you'd rather be chatting with friends and family then that is what you'll do. Normally on a wedding day I'll take couples away for photographs and a bit of a break for about 20 minutes or so - it doesn't have to take long (it can be longer) but it gives you a bit of space in the day to look into your partners eyes and just have a bit of a breather (plus get some stunning photos).
Spend a good amount of time working out the details of your day and make sure you you're not rushing through everything on your wedding day for the sake of cramming everything in. You want to enjoy your big day and soak everything in, rushing through it won't help, so space everything out and make sure it all fits into the day!
If you'd like any help working out your timings, or need to chat about photography things please get in touch, you can find all my contact details via the contact page.