Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Wedding Day Schedules

After my post Monday Mallory, from Maui Photography and a fellow online photog friend messaged me about how I do my schedule for a wedding day. After comparing notes, we decided to each do a post on what a typical wedding day schedule looks like for us. What I love about this business is that every last detail becomes so personal and unique to the photographer running it. And unique to each and every bride and groom. Mallory and I's schedules look very different, but they both work for us!

I always work backwards from the ceremony start time. In this case its 5:30 and I like for all the pictures to be complete at least 30 minutes before the ceremony so the bride and groom, bridal party, family and everyone else involved can have some down time to really soak in the glorious moments of anticipation that lead up to such an important event.

This is an example schedule for a couple choosing NOT do a first look. A first look is when the bride and groom share a special intimate moment before the ceremony to see each other.

Traditional Schedule:
1:00 pre-church photos/details
2:00 arrival at church – candids of arrival/getting ready (bridesmaids and bride)
3:00 - Groomsman and Groom getting ready and formals together
3:45 – Bride dressing with mom (Bridesmaids dressed and ready to go)
4:00 - Bridesmaids and Bride Formals
4:30 - Bride’s Family
4:45 - Groom's Family
5:00 - Pre-Ceremony Photos done
5:30 – 6:15 Ceremony
6:15 – 7:30 Second shooter getting details of reception/guests arriving
6:15 – 6:45 dismissal of guests
6:45 – 7:15 Full Bridal Party shots
7:15 - 7:30 Bride and Groom alone time moment
7:30 - Travel/Arrival at Reception

The rest of the evening I let play out naturally. I photograph the scheduled events, usually as the DJ orchestrates it and I'm getting extra detail shots and guests.

I realize that it seems I have quite a bit of time that I have scheduled to shoot before the ceremony. I do this for several reasons.

I believe that it plays a big part in my brand. Story telling and getting lots of detailed shots of how the day unfolds is how I most like to capture a wedding day. The other part is that I like to be there to get a feel for the day. To get to know family members, the bridal party, even the staff at the ceremony location. It helps me get a better understanding of who my bride and groom are and the pace of the day.

The other reason I do this, is for padded time. I have never liked feeling rushed or stressed, and I realize that I do my best work when I feel most comfortable with people I am working with and can be in tune with the environment I'm shooting in.

I am certainly not an expert at this, and I'm sure as my business evolves so will this schedule. Would love to your thoughts fellow photographers! How do you orchestrate a wedding day?

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