You know how time flies when you’re having fun, right? Well just think of how quickly that minute hand is going to whirl around the dial on your wedding day. Months of preparations go before a great wedding, and yet the day itself can go by in a blur if you’re not careful. Your wedding photographs should be a mirror to your memories, a beautiful reminder to help you reminisce; they shouldn’t replace memories which never had a chance to form because you spent the whole time dashing to the next thing on a list!
So, how do you ensure that your day runs smoothly? By planning it carefully of course! With as much attention to detail as you gave the invitations, the flowers and where you were going to sit Uncle Derick (not too close to the bar, but far enough away from Aunt Jean, because you don’t want a repeat of the now infamous incident from your cousin’s wedding). So without further ado, here are my 5 top tips for planning your wedding day timeline.
- Allow extra time for pretty much everything. It’s amazing how much longer things take when you put the word “wedding” into the mix! You might think that if hair and makeup take 30 minutes for one person, and you have five people to do, then you should allow 5 x 30 minutes = 2 and a half hours (no calculator required here folks!). But not wedding hair and makeup! You need to allow for an almost infinite number of adjustments to everybody’s styling, and factor in time for chatting, laughing and drinking champagne. Particularly the champagne part. Which leads me nicely on to…
- Get advice from your suppliers. They’re the experts. They’ve done it hundreds of times before. So ask them how long they’re going to need.
- Allow lots of time for photographs. People are always surprised when they ask me how long the formal portraits will take on their wedding day. Especially the group photos. This is the portion of the day which is most likely to overrun, after the getting ready part. Pay attention now – it takes roughly 3 – 4 minutes to take each group photograph. Sounds like a long time, yes? But it isn’t really. You need to allow time to find everyone – especially Uncle Derrick who has returned to the bar like a moth to an irresistible and oh-so-refreshing flame, and Aunt Jean who has had to go to find the Ladies – again. Then you need to get everyone positioned and posed, perhaps wait for the sun to go back behind the cloud so that everyone can stop squinting, and finally take the shot. It may not take four minutes for every single photo, but it can easily take this on average. So if you want 10-12 group photos, you need to allow 40 minutes in your schedule for them. Then we want to go and take some photos of just the two of you. Another 45 minutes here would be great – a bit of time for just the two of you to enjoy away from the madding crowd, and an opportunity for us to get the amazing photographs that you’ll treasure.
- Winter wedding? Think of the daylight! Less of an issue on those long summer days, but in the autumn, winter and early spring you’ll need to bear in mind that if your ceremony is at 2:00pm or later, you’re going to have very little time to get any photographs in natural light. Just something to think about.
- Spread the word. Make sure that everyone involved in your day is aware of the schedule in advance. That way, if they spot a problem, you have time to find a solution.
Most of all though, make sure that not every moment is accounted for. Don’t lose sight of what the day is about – the two of you and the start of another part of your life together. Allow time to be together, and to speak to your guests. To relax and to let everything flow around you. To make those memories that will last a lifetime. Because, at the end of the day, nothing else really matters.