3 Tips for Planning Your Wedding Photos

3 Tips for Planning Your Wedding Photos

A few months ago, I posted tips from a wedding stationery designer, and, today, I’m excited to be continuing that series with Three things your photographer REALLY wants you to know about timelines.  This time, I called on my biz bestie, Christine from Christine W Photography, to share.  As I’ve said before, I could write these posts, but my specialty is an overview of all of the areas of wedding planning.  You could say I know “a mile wide, but only an inch deep” of the information, but these girls know their craft exceptionally well (an inch wide and a mile deep!).  Why not go straight to the source and share things they want you to know?  I’ll let her take it from here!


It's not surprising that one of the first things we will sit down to chat about at your consultation is the timing of your wedding day. It's important for every vendor involved in the day to not only be on the same page about how the day will unfold, but also to have enough time and space to create the dream day you envision. It's when the timeline isn't properly thought out that things can get a lot more stressful...and no one wants photos of a stressed-out bride.

 Here are three top tips your photographer REALLY wants you to take into consideration when planning out your timeline:

Make time for your guests. 

This one may seem obvious, but it's important to remember that your guests make or break a wedding day. Consider that some may run late, some may move a little slower than others and most of them will be so busy having the best time that it often takes a little bit of nudging from your wedding day planner or coordinator to get them into the right place at the right time. I like to suggest that you allow space in your timeline for guest in these simple ways:

 1. Make the start time on your invitation a good 15-20 minutes earlier than you intend to walk down the aisle. This will allow for any late-comer guests and for everyone to be seated and ready. 

2. Also, always, always work in a good 20 minutes for your recessional and hug-time with the family after you say I-do. It's such a sweet and super-important time.

3. Get your guest into the reception space at least 20 minutes before your grand entrance to give them time to find their tables, get to the restroom and get settled. 

Work backwards from sunset. 

The ideal time for bride and groom portraits is one hour before sunset. While there are many important elements to the day, this precious little snippet of time is HUGE in the eyes of your photographer. The "golden hour" as it is affectionately called, is when we get those great sun-flare shots, when the light is the most flattering and beautiful and this hour of the day is probably the only one you'll get just the two of you so it's the perfect time to soak in your first sunset as husband and wife. It's a good idea to plan your reception entrance around this, but it's also a great marker to work backwards from when you're figuring out the flow of the rest of your day. 

*Note: There's no need for panic if your ceremony timing or the layout of your day doesn't quite fit the traditional flow of the day, you can always work in a 20-minute sneak-out of your reception for these images while your guests enjoy their first course. 

The magic buffer.

For some reason, everything, and I mean, EVERYTHING, takes longer on a wedding day. It's probably a little to do with the dress and a lot to do with the excitement that pulses through the day. I like to suggest we work a magic buffer into each portion of the day. Hair & Makeup? Let's schedule that to start a little earlier than you feel is needed and if you're done early, there's extra time to sip bubbly with your girls. Transport to the church if your travelling? Work in a 20-minute buffer to allow for any traffic inconveniences or late groomsmen. And, if you work the magic buffer into each portion of the day, you'll have a much smoother, stress-free day to enjoy and soak up every married moment. 

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Bonus tip:

Got an intricate dress that took you half an hour to get into at the shop? Allow time for this on the day, because your designer won't be there, and it will be up to your doting bridesmaids to help you into it. Especially if it's lace up or individual buttons, it's always a good idea to mention this ahead of time to your photographer and planner so we can make sure we have more than enough time for your bridal portraits. 


Your wedding photos are all you’ll have left at the end of the day.  How neat is it to know how your photographer will think as he or she is working your wedding day?  Imagine if, by using these tips, you’re able to help your photographer capture the images you’ll really treasure forever!  Going in with a plan (even if the day goes off-track a little, you’ve built in buffer time) will allow them to focus on their craft and capturing every poignant moment that will make you smile so big when you see the final images.

Worried the timeline is going to be something you don’t want to have to pay attention to on your wedding day?  Well, I can totally help you with that.  You could either be anxious because you have to watch the clock and organize your families and wedding party a thousand times, or you could sip a glass of wine while squeezing your love’s arm and just be in the moment together.  It’s up to you, girl!  As a previous bride, I’d suggest the latter; it’s way more fun. :)

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The Story of SSE + A New Site!