Your Ultimate Guide to Celebrating with Family & Friends: How to Create a Wedding Photography Timeline That Rocks!

Taking photos is a big part of your wedding day. But I bet you don’t want it to be the biggest part. And certainly for it to take you away from celebrating with your family and friends.

After all, that’s what this whole day is about! Celebrating!

Of course you want to capture such a special day. And you know that investing in wedding photography is something you won’t regret. But you’re nervous that you’ll be so busy taking pictures that there won’t be any time left to get down on the dance floor. Or actually enjoy that signature cocktail you put time into creating.

As a wedding photographer, it’s one of my main missions to help you feel present on your wedding day. Because believe me, it flies by! 

I want to capture all of the important details, along with the small and big moments too. But I also don’t want you to feel like you or your partner are being dragged all over the place just so that I can tick boxes off a checklist.

In this blog post, I’ll give you some tips on how you can create a wedding photography timeline that not only gives you all the photos you want to fill your album with (and more!), but ensures you enjoy every moment of your big day with those most dearest to you.

Give Yourself Wiggle Room

Computer software updates. Your phone restarting. Netflix buffering. Ugh! It’s annoying just  to think about! But your future self will appreciate wedding-day buffer times. 

Some things won’t happen on time. Some things will take longer than expected. And some things might happen in a way you never expected. It’s nature. But giving the timeline some breathing room is a good way to avoid stress.

For example, if you think transportation from one location to another will take 15 minutes, go ahead and give yourself a little extra wiggle room by rounding up to 20. Remember, outside of travel time, you should also consider how long it takes everyone to load up and get out of vehicles. (And that’s if they are running on time!)

Apply wiggle room to every area possible. The best case scenario is that everything will go smoothly, and the extra minutes get shifted to more time on the dance floor. Worst case scenario – Some stuff happens, you have plenty of time to work around it, and you give yourself a hug for thinking ahead.

Consider First Look Photos

First look photos are a popular choice for couples because they offer so many benefits. 

First, they save time. Which is definitely something we’re going for. By taking photos of the two of you before the ceremony, we can focus on one less thing post-ceremony. Which means more time for you and your loved ones to eat, drink, and celebrate.

Another benefit is that first look sessions have a way of calming nerves. If you’ve built up any pre-ceremony jitters and need to loosen up, or just want an intimate moment with your partner before the festivities begin, a first look photo op can provide those things. During that time, you won’t have a bunch of eyes on you, and the two of you can relax and enjoy each other’s company.

And don’t worry about getting emotional and crying. Your first look moment is the perfect time to free your emotions and be open with your partner. Hug. Cry. Laugh. Dance it out. Do whatever feels natural! I’ll be there to capture it. (And you can always touch up after.)

Tackle Family Portraits Like a Pro

Typically, wedding family portraits involve a lot of people, which means a lot of wrangling and adjusting. It can be a little tricky, but it’s worth it because there are so few moments in life when everyone is together like they are at a wedding. The best way to save time and get all the group shots on your list – Do it in the right order. 

Don’t worry! I’ll help you with this and offer some tips on how to streamline the process.

One of the easiest ways I’ve found to do this is to bring in the kiddos first, then photograph the biggest group and work my way to the smaller groups from there. As an example, I’ll photograph you and your partner, your parents, grandparents, and siblings. For the next shot, I’ll ask your grandparents to step out. And for the third shot, your siblings. And so on and so on.

Give Yourself the Gift of Golden Hour

Imagine it now: The two of you embrace. A whisper of a breeze carries the scent of saltwater from the ocean. And the sun curtsies behind the clouds, casting a warm light through the palm trees. The two of you glow in the setting sun’s luminosity. And I’m there to capture it.

This precious time is called golden hour. And it’s a not-to-miss moment that happens about one hour after sunrise and one hour before sunset. How long the hour lasts depends on factors like your location, time of year, and weather conditions. 

The special thing about golden hour is that it creates a soft, dreamy sort of light that can add a romantic quality to your wedding photos. Golden hour photos are often described as dramatic, enchanting, and cozy. And are usually the photos you end up posting to Instagram or framing to hang on your walls at home.

Sounds amazing, right? But here’s the thing. Since the golden hour only gives us a short amount of time to work with, we need to plan accordingly and make sure we know exactly when this perfect point in time happens. Luckily, there are golden hour calculators and photographers (like me!) who have experience shooting these kinds of delicate moments. Scheduling golden hour portraits are well worth it and will totally transform your wedding gallery.

Go with the Flow

Even if you have everything scheduled down to the final seconds, something (or someone) may happen that shifts the balance. Life sometimes just has a funny way of doing that. But you can’t always let the fear or the reef stop you from surfing.

The key to getting everything you want on your wedding day, including tons of epic photos and plenty of time to celebrate with loved ones, is to go with the flow. Dive in knowing that the water is pretty calm, but there might be a few fast currents ahead and maybe some rocks blocking the way.

But no matter, you’ll keep paddling and look fabulous doing it. Because in the end you know that it’s not all about creating a perfect day or impressing your guests. It’s about celebrating love, cherishing every minute together, and making memories for the newest chapter in your life.

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