I help many of my couples build or tweak their timeline. Even if you have a wedding planner, it's good to check in with your photographer about their process and just how much time you need to accomplish your specific goals when it comes to photography. One of the first questions I get asked (usually about 6 months before the wedding) is when hair and makeup needs to be finished. Simple Answer: a half hour before the gown goes on.
The more complicated answer is that it varies a little depending upon your photographic goals, whether you are doing a first look or not, and whether you are getting married on site or at a different location from the getting ready. I have a wedding day info sheet that helps us iron all of these details out as the day gets closer but when couples receive the info sheet it's so much easeir if we have chatted about timeline examples and they have an idea of how long each portion of the day will take.
Today, I am outlining a typical getting ready timeline if the getting ready, first look and ceremony are all in the same place.
Here's the rundown of approximately how long everything takes (scroll to the end to see a sample timeline broken down with actual times):
DETAILS & PREP : 1.5 HOURS
FIRST LOOK & PORTRAITS : 30-40 MINS
BRIDAL PARTY : 30-40 MINS
FAMILY FORMALS: 30 MINS
So what is going on during that time? Let's take an indepth look into WHY we budget this amount of time for each portion of the day!
When we first arrive, we hug you (we are so happy for you!), introduce ourselves to your family and bridesmaids, say hi to your makeup artist and get to work with your details! We spend at least 40 minutes with the bride's details. It takes time to style and capture it all!
After we are finished up with details, we take some candids of hair and makeup. If we are in the same room as hair and makeup, we often pop up and grab some candids in the middle of photographing details because we know the details are safe. Otherwise, we have to stay with your beautiful things!
Once your hair and makeup is finished, it's time to get into your gown! YAY! If you want a robe shot, this is when we take it. Right before the bridesmaids get into their gowns and you get into yours! Whomever is helping you into your gown should be dressed before you. After they are dressed, it's your turn!
After the girls are in their gowns (and everyone else who might be helping you into your gown like your mom or grandmother) it's your turn! Jewelry, perfume and shoes go on AFTER the gown is on!
After you are dressed we take about ten minutes to open any gift that he may have sent for you and to take a few classic portraits.
Then it's time for the first look! YAY! The first look is set up but not posed. You get to enjoy it for as long as you want and we stand back and photograph you with longer lenses so as not to be obtrusive.
As soon as you are ready for us, we take a some portaits of just the two of you.
After the portraits it's time to photograph the bridal party!
If getting to the cocktail hour is important to you, we'll schedule the family formals immediately following the bridal party. Most coupels who choose a first look, also choose to do their family before the ceremony so they can make all of cocktail hour.
After family formals it's time to get you two into hiding! If there's time we take a few more portraits of you.
After we capture a few more shots of the two of you (or not), we wisk you off to the bridal suite for some relaxation (and maybe a drink) while your guests arrive and we capture ceremony and reception details!
Sample timeline with example times:
Bridal Details/Getting Ready: 1-2pm
Bride getting dressed: 2pm
First look/Couple Portraits: 2:30
Bridal Party Portraits: 3:15
Family Portraits: 3:45
Bride in Hiding: 4:15
Ceremony start time: 5:00
You may notice that this timeline has an extra 15 minutes built into it. We like to call that a cushion of time so that you don't feel rushed on the day of your wedding. If anything runs a little late, we have built the timeline so that there is no stress, knowing that you have that cushion there!
Remember, I have a wedding day info sheet where we tweak the timline to fit your needs and of course, you can always add extra time if you want more bridal prep captured!
I hope this helps! Check back in for more timeline advice soon! Until then, happy planning!