Below is a full transcript of the video blog post: Plan Your Wedding Day… Easily. If you’d rather see the video, you can do that here.
Hi! I’m Andrew Hellmich from Impact Images. In today’s short video, I want to show you how to plan your wedding day. I’ll give you some ideas how to structure your time table so that your day runs perfectly.
A Realistic Timeline is the Secret to a Perfect Wedding
When couples come to see me, this is one of the most asked questions. They just aren’t sure of exactly how to lay out the day so it does run smoothly. There’s nothing worse than spending a year planning your wedding and finding on the day that you haven’t left enough time for something and you have found yourself rushing… it’s just horrible.
The day is so special, it’s awesome and with a little planning, everything can run smoothly and you won’t have any of those dramas. You shouldn’t, it’s your wedding day.
Work Backwards from the Meal Service
The easiest way I find to do this is to work backwards from the end of the day or at least from the time you have your meals served. Let’s say for example, you are going to have your meals at 6:30.
That could be entrée, main, depending on what you’ve worked out with your reception venue or caterer. So if you have, let’s base this on a say 100-person wedding, a typical Aussie wedding. If that’s the case, you’re probably going to want all your guests to be back 15 minutes before that so your MC has time to get everyone seated, issue greetings and introductions for you and your bridal party. That’s going to take it back to 6:15pm for introductions by the MC.
Generally your guests will already be at the reception before you arrive. They will be waiting to be seated, maybe enjoying canapés and drinks – that’s a pretty typical scenario.
The Reception Start
So I would aim to have you back by about 6:00pm. That will give time to freshen up, to relax, chat with your bridal party and your new husband, time to just soak in the atmosphere and enjoy the day. This will also give you time to ouch up your make up and make sure your hair is perfect – you just don’t want to be rushing all day.
Before that, you are probably going to be at your photo shoot with your photographer. Most photographers, me included, would like to have about an hour for photos, not counting any travel time.
The Photo Shoot
If you have a very large bridal party, say, six bridesmaids or more, and groomsmen on the other side, you may need longer than one hour. On the flip-side, if you have no bridal party, it’s just the two of you, then you’re going to need less time than an hour unless you have multiple locations for your photo shoot.
There’s going to be a few factors to take into account here and your photographer will be able to help you with that. Let’s say you have about an hour for your photos – that will take us back to 5pm that the photos will start.
Generally, you will be driving somewhere for your photos. It could be from the ceremony to the reception. It could be ceremony to photo shoot, or it could be ceremony to photo shoot location one then, photo shoot location two, then off to your reception.
So let’s base this on a typical or small Central Coast or Newcastle wedding and assume everything’s pretty close and we are going to have a half-hour of travel time. So it will take us back to 4:30. So that’s travel time accounted for.
Factor in ALL Travel Time
You can divide that travel time up any way you like. It could be 15 minutes of photos at the church or gardens following the ceremony, then you have a 15 minute drive to another location, and you have another 45 minutes of photos, and then another 15 minute drive to reception.
Either way, that total time will be 90 minutes which will still give us that same scenario. Again, you can tweak this to suit your day, depending on how much travel time you need, how many stops, how large your bridal party is.
Family and Group Photos
Before this, would be your group photos and family photos following the ceremony. Plus, that really special time with the hugs and kisses and getting congratulated by your whole family and all your friends and guests after the ceremony.
Let’s again work backwards. I try for the big group shot first followed by family shots immediately after. That takes about 10 minutes. Most photographers would be the same. So that’s 4:20pm. That’s for group photo, and we’re going to add the family photos in there as well.
Like I said, group photo and family photos together at 4:20pm, before that, hugs, kisses and congratulating – that will take us back to 4:00 p.m. As I mentioned earlier, this is a really nice time and not a part of the day to be rushed.
The Wedding Ceremony
If again, it’s a typical Australian wedding ceremony, it could be a garden, beach or chapel wedding, it will be about 30 minutes or half-an-hour that you need to allow for the actual wedding ceremony.
You might find if it’s a large Catholic ceremony with a full mass and communion, it’s going to be longer at around one hour. Most weddings are around half-an-hour, which means the ceremony would start at 3:30pm.
So 3:30p.m. for ceremony start. This is going to take us to 4 o’clock.
Staying with the scenario of a small Central Coast or Newcastle wedding and everything is local. You, the bride, happen to be getting ready 15 minutes away from where the wedding ceremony will be held. That means you would be leaving home at 3:15pm.
As a side note, if you arrive a little earlier than expected, most girls are running late but if you do happen to find yourself arriving to the ceremony a little early, I suggest instead of pulling up at the front door, take a lap around the block and just enjoy the hire cars, time with your mum or dad or girlfriends (whoever is accompanying you in bridal car to the ceremony) for an extra 5 minutes. Soak in the atmosphere. Better to do that than turn up 5 minutes early to witness your guests and family scramble to get into the church because you arrived early. Better to be a little late. It’s fashionable. It’s nice.
The Brides Home – Getting Ready
Once I or your chosen wedding photographer arrives at your house or where you have chosen to make your preparations, we generally like to have about an hour to an hour-and-a-half for the best photography coverage. This will change a little depending on your photographer. For this example, let’s say an hour-and-a-half and you can tweak the timing depending on your photographer.
That’s going to take us back to 1:45pm when the photographer arrives at the bride’s house. I like to have it so that your hair and make-up is complete when I arrive and you are ready to get into your wedding gown.
The bridesmaids can be either wearing their bridesmaid dresses or ready to get into them. As long as everything is ready to go. There is nothing worse than turning up and having hairdressers and make-up artist still working frantically to finish their work.
Actually, what’s worse is if the bride is not ready but everyone else is. We can get some detail shots and make a start but you are the star of the show and we want to get photos of you. It’s a good idea not to go last with your hair and makeup.
So 1:45pm – arrive at the brides home with you, your bridesmaids, parents and any other family that are there.
The Grooms Home – Preperations
Again, sticking with the local scenario, we’ll say the guys are getting ready 15 minutes away from where you are which means I’ll be leaving them at 1:30pm to arrive at the brides home by 1.45pm – still working backwards here.
Like most photographers, about an hour with the guys works well for me. So I will be arriving there at 12:30pm. I like the guys to be showered, shaved and ready to go when I turn up. They don’t have to be suited up, they can get into their suits once I arrive, then away we go with some photos.
That’s pretty much it – as simple as that. You can tweak these times to suit you. If you have a larger bridal party, smaller bridal party, if you’re going to a salon to have to have your hair makeup done, just adjust the times to suit.
If you are in doubt about any of the times or timing for travel, leave a little bit extra – 10 or 15 minutes here or there. Talk to your function coordinator or with your reception venue about the best meal times and simply work back from there. The one time that you can’t change is that meal service time. That was 6:30pm for the above scenario. That’s the important one and the one you need to get planning.
Note: The chefs really, hate it if they’ve got to serve cold food or try and keep things warm. They want to serve food at their best and you are paying a lot for those meals. I, and most wedding photographers work very hard to have you there on time for the reception and particularly the meal service times.
Stop by the Blog Regularly for more Tips
I hope that helps. If you get a chance, stop by my blog and check the “advice” tab regularly for plenty of tips and ideas to make your day the best ever – little hints and tips from service providers combined with the experience that we have picked up from all the weddings we have attended.
I hope to see you on the blog and would love for you to leave a comment, questions or feedback. See you soon. Thanks again for listening and catch you next time. Bye!
If you enjoyed the transcript and other posts on the blog, be sure to check our website here – I’d love the chance to show you more of our work and to be the photographer for your Central Coast, Newcastle or Hunter Valley wedding.