Here are two examples of different ceremony times below and a suggested schedule for each.
Early Afternoon Ceremony
These ceremonies are the ones where you go to the church for 12:00pm and you’re finished by 1:30. Your guests have 4 hours in between the end of the ceremony and the cocktail hour at your reception and you have all the time in the world. Here’s how we break this one down.
1:30 – 2:30 – First thing is first – let’s get those family shots done and over with. If your church will allow, a nice setting is right at the alter. This is where I can take his family, your family, both together, then start stripping down to moms dads, bros and sisters. This is the most organized part of any wedding photoshoot because you will have given us a list of family members, and your wedding coordinator / planner will have the troops all rallied up for a smooth shoot.
3:00 – 4:00 – Now to focus on the bridal party. This is where the team jumps into the limo, and goes to the location of choice for the photo session. Upon arrival, we work in tandem with the other photographer to set up beautiful shots of you and the wedding crew. A lot like the family sessions, we take the big group shots first, then fizzle down to the individual shots of the guys, girls and so on. The focus here is to get the entire bridal party’s photos completed, then send them off to the limo to hang out, and party.
4:00 – 4:45 – Is when I work with the couple directly to get those perfect romantic photos of just the two of them. Now, we may have taken some previously to this point, but this is where we spend the time and perfect the posing and get those perfect shots. When this is done, we should have enough time to get to the cocktail reception where you can chill out, or start the party (And I can start shooting the guests).
Late Afternoon Ceremony
Late afternoon ceremonies are tricky for time with the photos. Having a 4:30 ceremony for 20 minutes then a 6:30 entrance to dinner puts a bit of pressure on your photography team to get all the required shots! If a FIRST LOOK isn’t an option (Where the couple sees each other in a romantic ceremony BEFORE the wedding ceremony), we suggest the photo schedule looking something like this:
Pre-Wedding – With the guys and girls all together getting ready, we will shoot the shots of the parties together to reduce time with the entire wedding party post ceremony. This is where the grooms guys and the groom get silly and the girls grab their bouquets. We will also shoot the Grooms family together and the brides family together here (where possible)
4:50 -5:15 – Family Photo Time- immediately following the ceremony, we will grab the family with the assistance of a wedding planner and take the shots of the couple and the entire family. This is very straightforward and organized!
5:15-5:30 – Entire bridal party photo time! We will get 3-4 poses of the entire bridal party doing fin and awesome things! When they are all complete, they can go join the party, and leave us to do some amazing shots!
5:30 – 6:15 – Focusing on you two, we will jump into action to get as many amazing photos as possible of the happy couple! Utilizing the grounds the ceremony is on, we will capture, pose, and have fun until a few minutes pre-entrances. (I want to get you to the party as soon as I can.
9:00 (Seasonally) - Sunset is a great time to make up for any photos we didn’t get due to the late ceremony – Your photographer will grab you throughout the evening and take you out to a selected spot! We try to keep these shoots within 10 minutes or so as you’re in total party mode at this point!
There is a lot to think about when planning out photos – You’ll see how quickly 90 minutes flies, and certainly how fast 45 minutes solo sessions disappear. With the right plan, and the right photography company leading the way, you should get the best and most diverse photos created on time!
I see (more often than not) couples who book the time after their ceremony to happen in a very short amount of time, and not considering travel time + time to get back to the reception and enjoy your guests, or they simply don’t consider the family shots. In my world, it’s the most important aspect to the wedding to get not only all the photos our wonderful couples desire, but also to keep them on time and enjoying the day.