Your wedding ceremony is the focal point of your special day, and it's important to allocate enough time to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Unfortunately, the details of the ceremony and the venue often get overlooked when planning the timeline. However, as a wedding photographer, I know how important it is to capture these moments.
You've spent months or even years picking out the perfect venue and planning all the little details, and they deserve to be photographed. That's why I recommend setting aside about 20 minutes of your timeline specifically for photographing the ceremony details and venue.
If you have a second shooter, they typically arrive at the ceremony location about 10 minutes before the main photographer. This allows us to capture photos of the venue and all the little details before the guests arrive. If this is something you would want, it is definitely something to consider into your budget, along with many other benefits the second photographer has on your day.
When considering how much time you should plan for the ceremony, you need to look at several variables including:
- If there is a fixed time your ceremony venue has to hold the service
- What time all the guests will be getting to the ceremony venue
- Travel time to and from the ceremony
The ceremony itself might already be set by the church or venue such as a registry office. Therefore the ranges below are rough guidelines, but I would always schedule a little bit more time as a cushion just incase the ceremony runs overtime or late because of any reasons.
- Non-Religious Ceremony – 30 to 45 minutes.
- Civil Wedding Service – 30 to 50 minutes.
- Religious Ceremony – 60 to 90 minutes.
After the ceremony, make sure to plan some extra time for people to congratulate you and for any additional photo opportunities you may want. This part is always not planned for! Make sure you set aside time for a slow trickle of people filing past and congratulating you if you have this!
Confetti photos are always fun and popular. This can take about 10-15 minutes to set up, so make sure to plan accordingly for that. The photographer will line up your bridal party and guests while you wait indoors. Make sure to wait until the photographer tells you to come out!
THE GROUP SHOTS
How long does the formal wedding photos take?
IDEAL PHOTOGRAPHY TIME NEEDED – 30-45 minutes
IDEAL LOCATION - Outdoors at venue, Gardens, Lobby etc.
I usually shoot the family group shots straight after the ceremony.
Wedding Party and Family Photos should be around 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of your party. During this time, we get a variety of shots. The photos start off with more formal images & lighting then we can have more fun and creative images. We also like to have pictures with you and each one of your bridal party. It’s essential to have additional images with your parents, grandparents, and siblings within different variety and groupings. Make a list of relevant pairing/groups so that we can run through them quickly and efficiently. Plan about 3-4 minutes per image on average. We all know how much weddings mean to the immediate family, and we want to make sure we’re capturing enough pictures with them.
ADVICE: ADVICE: Keep the group shots list as short as possible! This helps cut down on the time your whole family and bridal party are standing around and waiting! If you can, keep it to bridal party and immediate family only.
THE COUPLES SHOOT
Couple portraits session should be around 45 minutes. I would do a quick one as soon after the group shots are finished and if possible another longer one during sunset.
This time also gives you a chance to have a small moment together during your wedding day, and get some beautiful photography of just the two of you on your day.
For me the most ideal time is one hour before sunset, when the light is golden and beautifully soft. To make the most of this special moment, you could schedule the couple portraits session right during the golden hour. This might be when the reception starts or about 20-30 minutes into dinner, so that you can take some time to eat before sneaking away for your portrait session.
All the formalities are done, it's time for you and your guests to let loose, celebrate, and dance the night away. At this point theres two things, the cake cutting and the first dance! While timing wise, typically there isn't much else to plan but you might consider a few things:
- Grand Entrance: After cocktail hour, it's time to make your grand entrance into the reception. The DJ or band will introduce you and your wedding party, and you'll make your way to the dance floor for your first dance as a married couple.
- Sparklers: After sunset this is always a popular shot to add a little magic to the evening.
- Fireworks: Another hugely popular evening spectacle sure to light up the evening.
- Send-off: Finally, it's time to say goodbye to your guests and make your grand exit as a newly married couple. This could be anything from a sparkler exit to a ride in a vintage car.
It is a good idea to allow for about 15-20 minutes for the photographer to photograph the reception details. As with the ceremony details, this would be the only opportunity that we can capture the beauty of the reception room before guests start coming in.