TIMING FOR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY AND VIDEO
You don’t need to follow any set rules for your wedding, you can celebrate in a way that is meaningful to you, your family and friends. Here we recommend timing that we find works well based on past experience, although feel free to use it more as a rough guide rather than a strict schedule.
The most common time that we’re booked is from around 7-8 hours. This usually covers a bit of preparation with each of you, up until the formalities at the reception are over and the dancing has just started. We’re very flexible though and we work around what you’ve got planned for the day. As a rough guide we recommend:
- Around an hour with each of you before the ceremony (more if you’ve got something special happening like cultural traditions, dancing etc)
- If we’re filming the ceremony we’ll need to be there at least half an hour before the official start time
- Allow 30min – 1 hour after the ceremony for family and friends to congratulate you and family group photos (depending on how many you’ve got). See more of our advice on family group photos here.
- We’ve photographed portraits for as little as 15 minutes in the past, and anywhere up to 2 hours. Most couples decide to allow 1-1.5 hours for photographing and filming on location (not including travel time between venues and locations). That’s a general recommendation though and every wedding is different.
- What you’d like covered at the reception is up to you. We like to be there for all the important formalities so that we can tell the whole story of the day.
Keep in mind that the hour before sunset is known as the golden hour, and it’s the best light for photographing and filming because it makes everything (including you) look awesome! If this timing doesn’t fit well within your schedule, we’d love to duck outside for 10 minutes at sunset with the two of you.
TIPS FOR HELPING THE DAY RUN SMOOTHLY
1. Don’t try and fit in more events than you actually want or need. Stick to what’s important to you and forget about the rest.
2. Make sure you have snacks and drinks during location photographs and video, because by that time you probably won’t have eaten for at least a couple of hours. And no one wants to be hangry on their wedding day!
3. Run your timing by your key vendors and get advice from them (caterers, entertainment, celebrant, photographer, videographer etc).
4. If your videographer has been filming with you right before you enter the reception, don’t schedule speeches for as soon as you enter. We need time to set up audio for speeches, and you’ll get a better quality video if you allow for this.
5. Some venues have a policy of serving crew meals after all wedding guests have been served their mains. But it’s actually the best use of our time if we eat when you do, because we can’t film and photograph while people are eating – it’s not the most flattering look! You can usually request a time for crew meals to be served with your caterer.
HOW TO PLAN YOUR WEDDING RUN SHEET
If you’ve got a traditional wedding venue for your reception, they’ll usually work with you to form a schedule for the night. If you’re into organising and planning, you can also choose to schedule the rest of the day – it’s up to you whether you think you need to or not. Weddings ALWAYS run over schedule, we’ve literally only ever been to 1 wedding that has run earlier than planned. What kind of things might you include in your run sheet?
- Who is making lunch for you and your bridal party (if you have one) while you’re getting ready? You’ll probably be pretty busy but you still need to eat!
- Everything that your MC needs to announce and when
- When your DJ or band need to play particular songs
- Tasks that other people are responsible for on the day
Click here to download the run sheet for our own wedding day to see an example. We had a pretty comprehensive schedule because we weren’t at a traditional wedding venue, and we were responsible for coordinating everything ourselves. This meant delegating lots of tasks, and keeping track of who had volunteered to do what and when. Often if you’ve got a great venue who take care of things for you this isn’t really necessary.
When writing your run sheet/timeline for the day you’ve got two options:
1. Schedule formalities tightly together, hope for the best and make peace with the fact that it’s almost guaranteed to run over time. Then relax on the day, enjoy yourself and don’t watch the clock.
2. Allow plenty of buffer time throughout the day so you don’t feel like you’re constantly running late.
For our wedding we took the second option, and we scheduled so much buffer time that we thought people would get bored! And despite all of our organisational skills and planning, things still happened later than we expected them to. But you know what, it didn’t really worry us because there way more important things happening on the day – like marrying each other and hanging out with all the people we love most.
**side note: it’s becoming popular to have your first look with each other and have the portrait sessions before the ceremony. It’s definitely a personal decision, we’re open to this and we’ve done it before. Do what makes you happy – a motto that works for your wedding and just life in general. At our wedding we kept things traditional, and one of our favourite moments of the day is when we saw each other for the first time in front of everyone we love.