In my last post of the Wedding Day Timeline series, I talked about the portraits that occur before the ceremony. Now that the ceremony has come and gone and you are officially married, it’s time for more pictures! After the ceremony we’ll do family formals, wedding party photos (unless you did a first look), bride and groom portraits and possibly reception detail photos. There is usually a relatively small window of time between when the ceremony ends and the reception starts, so it’s important to plan your timeline wisely so that you have plenty of time for all these photos! So let’s break it down!
About 10 minutes after the ceremony is scheduled to end, we will start family formals. This gives the guests time to clear out of the ceremony space. Then the wedding party and immediate family will return to the predetermined location for family photos. A good amount of time to allot for family photos is 20 minutes. Now I could go on and on about how to properly plan for family photos so that they do not take more than 20 minutes- perhaps a post for another time! Here’s the short version- limit your list of family groupings to no more than 10 groupings with no more than 10 people per group. This way we can get through family formals quickly and efficiently and not cut into your portrait time! If there are larger family groupings you’d like to do, I would suggest making a separate list that we can do during the reception. After the family formals, we will go right into portraits! This part of the day will depend on several factors- whether or not you did a first look, how long cocktail hour will be, any travel distance between ceremony and reception, whether or not the reception room has been photographed, etc. If you did a first look before the ceremony, then we probably already got all the wedding party photos we’ll need. In that case, they would be dismissed to cocktail hour after family formals. Then we would go straight into your Bride and Groom portraits up until about 10 minutes before the reception entrance. If you did not do a first look, then we would go right into wedding party photos after the family formals. We would allot about 20 minutes for these, then dismiss the wedding party to cocktail hour while we do Bride and Groom portraits afterwards. As for how long cocktail hour should be or when it should start, that would also depend on several factors. If you did not do a first look, then we’ll want a good amount of time between the ceremony and reception as this will be the only time we have for photos. In this case, I would suggest having at least 1.5 hours (not including any travel time) between the end of the ceremony and the reception entrance. This would give us about 30 minutes for family photos, 20 minutes for wedding party and 30 minutes for Bride and Groom portraits. If you are able to extend that time frame further, then we would would spend more time doing Bride and Groom portraits as those are the most important photos of the day! If you are doing a first look, then the extra time between the ceremony and reception is not as critical, but it’s always great to allot more time than you think you’ll need for photos! Something else to consider that I have mentioned in past posts is allotting time for the photographer to capture the reception room untouched. If the ceremony and reception are happening at the same venue, then I would most likely photograph the reception details before the ceremony. But if they are at separate venues, then I would need to photograph the room after the ceremony, but before guests are allowed into the room. So this is something else you’ll want to consider when planning your timeline for this part of the day.
So here is an example timeline if you are not doing a first look or if you did a first look but would like to do additional wedding party photos.
3:30 Ceremony ends
3:40 Family Formals
4:00 Wedding Party Pictures
4:20 Bride and Groom Portraits
5:00 Reception Entrance
If there is not a need for extra wedding party photos, then we would do Bride and Groom portraits from 4:00-4:45. Yay for extra portrait time!
More from the Wedding Day Timeline series!