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For Brides & Grooms, Photography

October 16, 2012

The Importance of a Timeline

I’m a little bit of a type A personality… you know, the uber organized, super neat kinda person.  If I was a character on Friends, I would, 100% be Monica.  Except that I’ve calmed WAY down over the years so it’s not quite as bad as it used to be!  And I know several people who are reading this and think, “Hallelujah!”  :-)  But, it does come in handy from time to time!  I love going into a wedding day with a plan, so about a month out from a wedding I send my brides a questionnaire that tells me everything I need to know about their day.  From that, I’m able to sit down and put together a timeline for the day (if they don’t have a coordinator who has already done so).  I then send it to the bride to check over and we make any adjustments needed before printing it out and sending it to the wedding party, family and other vendors that need it.

This timeline isn’t so much strict as it is a guide.  It helps everyone stay on track as well as know what’s coming up and when they need to be where and when to be ready for pictures!  For whatever reason there is always some part of a wedding day that is running behind.  Which is perfectly fine!  I usually work the timeline out so that there is extra time in it somewhere so that if we run behind with hair and makeup or someone gets lost on their way to the church, then we still have plenty of time… which helps keep stress levels low!  I can be fairly quick when time is short, to get the pictures that are needed in order to remember the day.  But when there is time and we aren’t feeling rushed, that’s when the extra creativity comes in.  It’s also when the most pictures are taken!

If you’ve ever noticed, I like to post a LOT of pictures of my brides and grooms.  It’s their wedding day!  And my favorite part about their wedding day is my time with them.  Sometimes it’s only 10-15 minutes depending on the day and location of where everyone is getting ready, the ceremony and the reception.  But my favorite is when the couple is super excited about their pictures and we work in 30-45 minutes of time with JUST them.  When I was coming up with the timeline for our own wedding, I was stressing over having enough time with the entire wedding party as well as enough time for just us with Jana and Kim.  And go figure, it was my amazing matron of honor (who is not immersed in the wedding industry at all) that reminded me that it was more important to have more pictures of us than of us with the wedding party.  YES, it’s important to have pictures with the guys and girls!  But, what she was saying was that down the road, after we’ve been married for years and years, the pictures (at least the majority of them) that we’ll have up in the house from our wedding will be the ones of US.

Every wedding is different.  Some couples do First Looks, others wait until the ceremony to see each other.  Some weddings are earlier in the afternoon, which gives us time during the reception to get more portraits when it’s still light outside.  For the couples that see each other before the ceremony, we’re able to get pictures of the couple before AND after and sometimes even during the reception!  But, whatever the couple is looking for in terms of photography, I love working with them to help plan out the day.  There is SUCH a high learning curve when a girl becomes a bride.  I thought I’d have an advantage since I was a wedding photographer and I was around weddings a lot!  But, until you are the bride, there are some things that you just don’t know about until you have a ring on your finger!  It’s just so different.  But, now that I’ve been a bride and been through our wedding day, it’s helped me understand all of what’s entailed… which helps me guide my brides and (hopefully!) ease their stress a little.

Here’s a copy of our final timeline… I used Katelyn James’ timeline from her blog as a guide (since their ceremony was 30 minutes after ours and she’s a photographer that was married after becoming a wedding photographer – mean, she understands!) and then adjusted it to our needs and what we had planned for the day.  I remember finishing getting ready about 5 minutes before we needed to leave for the first look.  And my matron and maid of honor and I may have high fived because of it :-)  And as far as I know, we stuck pretty closely to this schedule!  But, if we were off at all, I didn’t know it… and it didn’t matter because we got all of the pictures we wanted, we had fun, we got to hang out with our friends, and at the end of the day, we were MARRIED!

I remember looking around the reception towards the end and realizing people were leaving so I asked what time it was.  We ended up leaving around 7pm because… well, we wanted to!  We may have cut the cake earlier than 6:45pm and we may have been introduced a little later than 4:40pm.  But, the thing that helped me for the day was knowing there was a plan and knowing that everyone else knew the plan too!  The timeline definitely wasn’t the golden rule for the day, by any means, but just knowing what the flow of the day was going to be was SO helpful!  And hopefully my own brides think so too!

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

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