Hello everyone and welcome to Wedding Wednesday!
Each week we tackle another hot topic about wedding photography and wedding planning to help keep our brides organized and aisle-ready. This week, I want to chat about your photography timeline.
About half of our Old South brides hire a wedding planner (we can give LOTS of great referrals!) and that professional will be very instrumental in creating a timeline for all events from rehearsal to wedding to getting you to the airport the next day. That person is looking at the big picture in terms of logistics- transportation, lodging, room setup, food/bar timing, delivery of rentals/cake/florals, etc. Any bride who is moving locations throughout wedding day is STRONGLY encouraged to hire a planner. With a shuttle full of guests leaving the hotel, the bride/maids in a limo headed to the church, the full bridal party getting on a party bus to head to the venue uptown…you simply MUST have someone in control of it all. I promise it is worth every penny to at least hire a day-of coordinator to keep the stress off of you and your Mom with so many moving pieces.
However, the other half of our brides choose not to hire a wedding planner. A few local venues are so organized and helpful that brides feel they already have enough hands on deck. They are having both the ceremony and reception at a country club or hotel and feel the day will be less complicated so they often forego hiring a day-of coordinator/planner.
That is where our level of organization shines. If you haven’t noticed by now, I am very Type A. Everything we do at Old South involves a system. We have a system for quickly responding to new brides who reach out through our website (remember that text, video and questionnaire you received within 20 minutes of inquiring??), a system for backing up all images on not one or two but THREE locations so no wedding images are ever lost!, and how we run a day full of photography is equally streamlined.
So here is our approach to your wedding day photography timeline:
1. What time does the sun set?
At your consultation in the studio, the first thing we looked up was the time of sunset on your wedding day. Light is KING in photography world so we need to know when golden hour will be, how long we will need pre-ceremony for photos and post-ceremony for photos, etc.
2. Where will you be getting ready?
If you are getting ready in the ladies’ locker room at the club, there won’t be a need to carve out more time for transportation. But, if 8 ladies have to travel from the Ballantyne Hotel to the Mint Museum uptown, we need to allot 30 extra minutes for travel (and we always buffer with a bit extra in case we encounter traffic, etc.)
3. Where will he be getting ready?
This is how we determine when and how our 2 photographers will split up. Does one need to begin capturing images at the Ritz with the fellas while the other stays with the ladies at the church? All of these factors matter in creating your wedding day timeline.
4. Will you be doing a first look?
Our brides getting married between November-March almost ALWAYS opt for a first look since the sun will set at 5ish on their big day. Then, they can have daylight images with their bridal party and hubby as well as some post-ceremony night images. We talk through all the logistics of both a traditional timeline (no first look) and a first look with all of our couples. More are choosing to see one another beforehand but we respect a bride’s choice and will plan accordingly.
5. Tell me ALL about your big, crazy family!
I need to know first names of your immediate family and his. I need to know who hasn’t spoken to one another in 20 years, who might be recently divorced and does not want photos together, who is a camera-wielding-fanatic that I need to watch out for- ha! I need to know the names of every bridesmaid and groomsmen too (because nothing gets a person’s attention like their first name!!). I need to know if grandparents have mobility issues/wheelchairs/dementia, etc. All of this information will help me establish a detailed shot list so that everyone knows exactly when and where to be camera-ready.
6. Are there any special sentimental items we should capture?
Are you having a sixpence in your shoe? Is your grandmother’s rosary on your bouquet? Are you wearing your Mom’s veil? Is your hubby wearing his grandfather’s cufflinks? We need to know these things in advance so that nothing is missed.
7. How long have you contracted your venue?
For example, the Duke Mansion is in a residential area and therefore, due to noise ordinances, these weddings typically end a bit earlier than others. I need to know your timing for that sparkler getaway so we can be sure every last detail has been captured before the clock strikes midnight on our Cinderella!
8. We care about other vendors timing too.
Based on our photography needs, we will suggest an end-time for hair/makeup “ex: bride must be camera-ready by 2:00 p.m.” and when we will need all florals on site to begin pictures. These 2 vendors impact our pre-ceremony images more than any other so we work hard to coordinate our timing so that all vendors are on the same page wedding day. We also greatly respect our caterers’ timeline for serving meals and promise not to go over OUR designated stop time before the couple heads into the reception. We know that 15-20-30 extra minutes of photos can mean cold, chewy steaks for guests and respect the needs of other vendors on wedding day too.
The bride and I work out all of these details 4-6 weeks before the big day so that I can prepare her detailed, wedding photography timeline. I’m posting an example below of how we typically run a wedding day.
Our brides have placed a tremendous amount of trust in us and we take that seriously. Staying on track and on time keeps our brides (and their Moms!) happy and in the moment. We promise to be “delightfully bossy” and help you enjoy every last second of your picture-perfect day!