A Solid Wedding Timeline = Better Photos

Celebrations by Brandi

Celebrations by Brandi

Southern California Wedding Planner

by, Belinda Philleo, California Wedding Photographer

How is my wedding timeline related to my photos?

Wedding days have a funny way of sneaking up on you. You spend months planning, prepping, and budgeting. But then the big day arrives and it goes by so fast! This is, of course, is one of the many reasons that we hire a photographer for the wedding day – photos can help us remember all the little moments that slipped by all too quickly! But, ideally, wouldn’t it be great to be able to enjoy being in the moment and get great photos from the big day? Today I’m going to share how having a great wedding timeline is the secret to achieving that!

As mentioned, wedding days, even the simpler ones, are fast-paced and unpredictable. Something (or multiple somethings) will inevitably end up running a few minutes behind schedule. Five minutes here or there might not seem like a big deal on the surface, but all those little delays can start to add up quickly and that can have a big impact on both your stress level and your photography. Working closely with your wedding planner and photographer to ensure plenty of time, plus some padding, can make a world of difference!

What is most important to me on my wedding day?

One big thing you can do is to make sure that your timeline isn’t packed too tightly. This will mean taking a hard look at what is truly important to you on the big day, and what things could be trimmed down or removed from the agenda entirely. Doing this will allow you to be fully present on your wedding day so that you can enjoy each moment as it happens and feel more relaxed. Not only will it make your actual memories of the day better, but it’ll also come through in your photographs. If you’re tense and feeling rushed, you may appear stiff or give forced smiles in your portraits. On the other hand, being in the moment mentally and emotionally will allow you and your partner to truly connect during your portrait session, resulting in romantic and authentic-looking portraits.

Great wedding photos require time! A more relaxed schedule also allows your photographer time to work their *magic* more! While it’s true that a professional photographer is used to working quickly under pressure, having a little bit more mental space allows us to slow down and notice unique angles, and make small tweaks that will take your photos to a new level of creativity and detail. As a result, your photos will be even more refined and unique to your love story.

So what are some ways you can create a more relaxed pace on the wedding day? Let’s talk about a few tips…

Tip One

Great communication with both your wedding planner and your other time-based wedding vendors is key. Your planner can help you estimate realistic timeframes for each portion of the day and they’ll build in some padding to account for any unexpected delays (including bathroom breaks, traffic in between locations, etc). Your planner can also help you coordinate with your other vendors to find out how much time they (especially your photographer, videographer, and makeup artist) need to do their jobs well.

Tip Two

It’s really important to be realistic about your expectations when it comes to timing! You may have to be selective with how many activities you plan for the big day. This is where your planner and photographer can be great resources – ask them for suggestions for making the best use of time! For instance, a “first look” on your wedding day allows you to take all of your bridal party and romantic portraits before the ceremony. That allows you to spend more time on getting more family portraits or make an appearance at cocktail hour before the reception begins. (Some couples have even found that a first look helped them calm their nerves before the ceremony and they reported feeling more present as they said their vows and made it official).

Tip Three

Don’t base your timeline on what your friend/sister/cousin/etc did for their wedding! Something that I do with my clients from the very first phone call is to discuss what parts of the day are most important to them. For some people, capturing the pre-ceremony moments are really important. For others, getting really amazing family or guest photos is on their “must-have” list!

When you get clear on what’s most important to you it empowers you and your wedding vendors to collaborate on a timeline that supports your specific needs. Once you know your priorities, you may find it worthwhile to pay a little more for certain vendors to stay longer than you originally planned. In other cases, you may find that you don’t need as much coverage time as you initially thought and you might even save some money (or reallocate that money to a more important priority) as a result.

So what are the key takeaways? First, take full advantage of the experience your wedding planner and photographer have, they can help you set realistic expectations for a great wedding timeline. Next, create your wedding day schedule based on what’s important to you as a couple, rather than what someone else’s wedding was like – your needs and priorities are likely different than theirs were! Last, by having plenty of padding built into your wedding timeline, you’ll be more relaxed, and enjoy the day more and it’ll result in more genuine photographs of your special day.

Would you love Celebrations by Brandi to create and coordinate your wedding timeline so Belinda can use her magic to capture all your big day moments? Follow Belinda Philleo on instagram @belindaphilleo and contact her here www.belindaphilleo.com and click here to contact Celebrations by Brandi. Follow Celebrations by Brandi @celebrationsbybrandi. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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