THE FIGTREE GUIDE // How to create the perfect wedding day timeline
“What time should I have my ceremony?” – This is definitely one of our most frequently asked questions from couples! So we thought we’d put together a blog breaking down each part of the day, incorporating some of our top timing tips to make sure you have the best day ever!
Ok – so you’ve booked your date and venue and it’s time to start locking in your fave suppliers and putting together your invitations. One of the first things you’ll need to do is decide on a ceremony start time. This will then help you create the rest of your wedding day timeline and determine your wedding suppliers’ arrival and departure times. Here’s where you start…
1. What time is sunset on your wedding date?
The reason that sunset time is so important to look at before creating your timeline, is so that you can ensure there’s enough daylight for everything prior to your reception e.g. the ceremony, family photos, wedding party and couple photos. There’s nothing worse than feeling super rushed after the ceremony to have all the portraits captured before it gets dark!
As wedding photographers, there is nothing better than shooting your portraits during golden hour. It gives us the opportunity to capture those seriously magical photos with that dreamy golden light. Instead of rambling on about how much we love golden hour (which we totally could do), just take a look at the examples below.
There’s not one specific time of day that works for every wedding ceremony. Your ceremony start time will vary with each season and the sunset time for that time of year. For example, with winter weddings, a 2:00/2:30pm ceremony can work really well to make sure you have enough light for your photos after the ceremony. However in summer, having your ceremony later in the afternoon works best, so you and your guests aren’t getting too hot and sweaty during the ceremony and so we can shoot your couple photos a little closer to ‘golden hour’.
3. Family and group photos
In the early stages of planning you don’t need to think about this in too much detail. Just make sure that you allow some time after the ceremony for group and family photos, before we head off for your wedding party and couple photos.
When it’s a little closer to your wedding date, we’ll touch base with you and ask for a detailed family photo list, which will include all combinations of photos you’d like with your family after the ceremony. Once we have your list, we’ll then be able to determine exactly how much time we need to allow for this. We like to recommend sticking to less than 15 different combinations so you aren’t spending all afternoon getting family photos. Trust us – it’ll make this part of the day way more enjoyable for you! We can always snap some photos of you with any friends or extended family during the reception.
We also like to give you time to say hello to everyone and give all of your friends and family hugs and kisses before we whisk you away for some location photos. So be sure to allow roughly 15 minutes for this straight after the ceremony.
4. Location Photos
It’s now time for your location photos, yay! Another question we get asked on the reg, is how much time do we allow for our wedding party and couple photos? We usually like to base this around the 1 hour mark. However, there are a few factors that you may have to allow for e.g. any travel time if planning on going off-site, if you’re wanting to use multiple locations, and the size of your wedding party.
We definitely recommend staying within close proximity to your venue, as you don’t want to spend too much time travelling to the photo location – you’ll want to get you back to the celebration as soon as possible!
Your venue or caterers are likely the best people to help you out when planning your reception formality timings e.g. entrees, mains, speeches etc. However we definitely have a few tips of our own.
If you’re planning a summer wedding, it’s pretty likely that sunset will be part way through your reception. Which is prime photography time! So something to consider when putting together your reception run sheet, is to try and see if you can squeeze in a 15 minute window to pop out for some sunset photos. This could be while everyone is being seated, while you’re waiting for the mains, or even between meals and speeches. You’ll probably really appreciate this time too as you’ll get to step away from everything and have a moment to reflect on your incredible wedding day!
Lastly, something we think is pretty important, is to make sure you allow enough time to enjoy the party after the formalities so you can let loose on the dance floor! We love capturing those epic party photos!!
We really hope this has helped you out with your timeline planning process! Your timeline is one of the most important tools to ensure that your day runs smoothly. At Figtree, we have a dedicated member of our team to personally help you create the perfect timeline for your day. If you have any further photography timing-based queries please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at any time – firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you found this helpful, don’t forget to check out our other tips and advice on The Figtree Guide.