Ever wonder how a typical wedding day should be scheduled?  Here are 5 vital steps to help you in your wedding schedule planning; whether you are a wedding couple or a photographer!

Vancouver Chinese wedding photographyI have heard from many couples “we don’t remember much from our day”.  After some research and thought on this subject, I realized that there are various reasons for theses “lack of memories”.  Yes, the day goes fast, but the primary reason couples tend to not remember?  Most couples try to fit too much into one day.  Finding time with family, friends, speeches, photos with family and with their bridal party, rushing from getting ready to ceremony to reception, while trying to get to photography locations as well makes it virtually impossible to live in the moment!  With every wedding, I talk to my couples about scheduling their day, long in advance.  Yes, you can help your couples make their day much less hectic, which in turn, makes your day less hectic too.  Here are some tips and thoughts to consider when talking to your couples:

Weddings tend to run behind schedule

Although most brides schedule the day (some even going so far as scheduling right down to the minute), however, as much as you may plan, something tends to go off-kilter; it can be a traffic jam getting to the reception, your Master of Ceremonies showing up late, photography time takes longer because you are waiting for that one missing person that must be in the image and so on …these things happen even when the best plans are laid out.

Put some serious consideration into lessening your schedule…

Think about making it as easy on yourselves as possible!  The following approaches are the best ways in planning/lessening your wedding day schedule.

1. Getting Ready:  Brides tend to need 3 hours for hair, makeup, getting dressed and a few getting ready photography images that will take time to set up (i.e. bridal lingerie shots if desired, getting dressed, images with bridesmaids getting ready, etc.  Grooms usually take from 1/2 hour to 45 minutes – they tend to rush through the process, perhaps anxious to get on to the next point in the day….


2. Travel Time: always allow yourself an extra 15 minutes on top of every change in schedule plus travel time.  Most weddings tend not to run on time due to various external variables outside of your control – you will find that extra 15 minutes will make a difference.  If you can, try to book your entire wedding in one spot, this will make your day seem much less hectic.

Most weddings tend not to run on time….

3.  Ceremony: always allow for about a half-hour of congratulatory, well wishes, etc. after your ceremony, even if you do not have a receiving line.  If you have a receiving line, it usually needs about 1 hour.  Everyone will want to wish you well!

4.  Family & Bridal Party Portraits: if you decide to hold family photos, try to arrange for the family formals at the church/ceremony spot immediately following the ceremony.  Let your family/bridal party know in advance so you do not spend valuable time looking for a member of your bridal party who may have left for cocktails and so on.  Typically allow about 30  minutes for family photos and an additional 30 minutes with your bridal party immediately following the ceremony.

5. Now let’s make it your time!  Pack a few munchies, water, juice and so on to keep you energized – try to stick to one location of choice – just the two of you with your photographer.  Your wedding day photographs are so very important and your photographer will need time to make them the very best for you.  Creative and artistic stand-out images require time, thought and effort to make them unforgettable.  This is why you hired your photographer…allow him/her to give you their very best – about 2 hours for your personal photography session.  If you feel you are unable to fit this time in, simply book an additional portrait day session with your photographer.  Know that it will only benefit you and the results show it! With my own wedding photography collections and packages I give the option of integrating a separate photography day either before or after the wedding so our couples can just enjoy their day without the added pressure.

Avoid being swept away, look into the face of your love and make a conscious effort to remember this moment!

Now that dinner is done, let the celebrations begin!  Relax and enjoy the rest of your beautiful day!  If you have your own ideas and experiences when it comes to wedding day scheduling, leave your comments below!

Keep inspired!