Here they are, two of the biggest, most common questions that I get asked about wedding day timelines:
How long should I budget for portraits with my bridal party and my family?
This is a huge (and super important) question! And the answer is going to vary based off a lot of factors, including the size of the bridal party, the location, and the photographer. I can only tell you what works for myself and my clients. Though this might be a great starting point for you, I always recommend that couples chat with their own wedding photographer to make sure they all agree on a timeline that works for everyone.
As a VERY basic rule, I usually suggest my couples budget 30 minutes each for wedding party and family formal portraits. I only have them add extra time if there is A HUGE bridal party (10+ people on each side) or tons of extended family portraits, and even them sometimes 30 minutes is enough, but I always would rather have slightly more time needed than not enough time and rush.
When do I have family portraits in during my wedding day?
OK! This one has layers! Are you doing a first look? If so, the more you can do before the ceremony, the more time you will have to chill and enjoy time after the ceremony.
If you are doing a first look, I suggest for sure doing the majority of your couple portraits right away after the first look, then we can move on to wedding party. We will take those images until we are finished, and there is usually 10ish minutes left before our next scheduled item. At that time, you get to pick if you chill out for 10 minutes or use the time for more portraits with the two of you.
The next part is where you get to make another decision- Do you want to get ALL of your formal photos done before the ceremony? If so, I suggest starting family formal portraits about 1 hour before the start of the ceremony. It can be closer to the ceremony, but the hour window will give you time to finish all of your family portraits and still go “into hiding,” for about 30 minutes before the start of the actual ceremony.
If you opt to to have family portraits before the ceremony- I suggest having them immediately after the ceremony- have the officiant make announcement that anyone in family photos should not leave the ceremony area. This will save time so we don’t need to go hunt any one down during portrait time.
What would my timeline look life if I don’t opt for a first look?
Though first looks are often the easiest option to get yourself the most portraits and some chill time during cocktail hour, I understand that there are some couples who would still prefer to not do a first look. If this is the case, I strongly suggest at least done SOME bridal party photos before the ceremony (all portraits done with all those standing up for one of the couple, then all the individuals with the other- this could save 15 minutes down the road!). Then I suggest following the option above for family photos immediately after the ceremony, followed by having wedding party photos straight away after that. TIP: make sure your wedding party stays NEARBY if this is the schedule you are using.
Using this schedule, wedding couple portraits are typically completed after everyone else is done, so they can leave and go enjoy cocktail hour.
Having a first look or not really comes down to personal choice, but make sure you have that discussion before starting to arrange your timeline as everything starts to fall in place around that.
More questions? Make sure you reach out! I would love to help!