I love weddings, and I love wedding photography even more. I love everything about it; from the creative process of capturing special moments to delivering them to my wonderful couples. But there seems to be a little issue in the industry, a problem that occurs time and again, and in this blog post I’ll be talking about it in detail – and about what you can do to make sure you don’t fall victim to the issue of running out of time on you special day.
I’m blessed to shoot upwards of 50 weddings a year, each beautiful and unique, and each with their own set of timings and logistics. From the moment I book a couple (usually 12-18 months in advance) one of the first things I feel compelled to let them know about is leaving enough time between the ceremony and wedding breakfast. I even go so far as to ask them to contact me before they speak to the venue so we can go through timings. It seems that once a wedding venue get their hands on the schedule things have a habit of going wrong. It’s important to mention at this stage that I’m not talking about all wedding venues – in-fact when I was approached to write this blog post for Knuston Lodge I was more than happy to oblige. Knuston do it right, they collaborate with the couple and photographer to make sure things run smoothly, there’s a few venues that do this but sadly they’re in a minority
The biggest culprits seem to be wedding planners attached to venues (rather than independent ones), and the pattern is almost identical;
– I advise the happy couple on the appropriate amount of time required for everything (this changes from wedding to wedding, it’s bespoke and based on factors like, traveling time from church to venue, number of groups shots they’re after, how much portrait time is requires, if they want room details documented… the list goes on), I also let them know that the planner will cut my time down but to hold fast!
– They’ll then speak to the planner at a later stage and my time is cut by up to 1 hour.
– On the day itself we run out of time and occasionally the couple go without something important. Recently a venue in Northamptonshire only allowed 45 minutes, it resulted in the couple not receiving any candids from their drinks reception. No natural moments of their guests having fun and chatting. And this is after the couple specifically contacted them to change their schedule having spoken to me.
Venue planners seems to have a big influence over the timing of the day, the other factor to take into consideration is catering – but this shouldn’t be a problem if everybody is on the same page!
So what’s does a good schedule look like?
As mentioned above, every wedding is different and no two days run to the same pace. But that being said there is a general running order of things. below is an example, it’s assuming that you’re getting married at the same place as you’re having the reception (eg at Knuston Lodge) and there’s no additional traveling time:
14:30 – 14:40 – General meeting and greet (wonderful for candids)
14:40 – Confetti
14:40 – Drinks Reception Starts
15:15 – 15:45 – Group Shots (around 8-10)
15:45 – 16:00 – Bride and Groom quiet alone time
16:00 – 16:05 – Room Details
16:05 – 16:20 – Portraits of the Couple
16:20 – 16:30 – Receiving Line
Imagine trying to achieve all of the above in under an hour, it can’t be done, in some cases even 90 mins is a rush.
What can be done?
Every couple want their timings to run smoothly, they also want their guests to feel like they’re having a great day, getting the right timings are so important to creating an atmosphere for this to happen. Too much time and guests will feel like they’re hanging around and getting hungry, not enough time and they will probably feel like they’re being herded from confetti to groups and then into the wedding breakfast without having a chance to go to the loo!
The number one biggest piece of advice to all my couples is to allow 90-120 mins (after traveling), remember if you’re arriving at the venue from a church or temple you’ll need to add that time. If it’s a summer wedding and you think the weather will be good it’s nice to have outside games to keep people occupied, and canopies are a great way to curb the feeling of hunger before the main meal comes out.
When you have enough time, it creates space for beautiful moments to happen, like some of the award winning photos of mine just below:
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