People often wonder why I insist on input about their wedding day timeline and have such an active role in establishing one with my clients. After all, it is my clients day, I am just there to document it. Well, that is a good point. My job is to document the day with minimal interference. I take that very seriously. Real moments cannot happen if a photographer is constantly setting up “posed” pictures or controlling the day. But that is exactly why I offer assistance to my clients in establishing the best possible timeline for their wedding day.
I have photographed over 300 weddings in my career. I have a firm idea of how a wedding day unfolds. What works. What doesn’t. And I am completely obsessed with making sure that my clients have the best, most beautiful wedding photographs and wedding coverage that I can provide. A well thought out timeline is essential to this. So, I would be remiss, and I believe irresponsible, if I didn’t offer my professional opinion on how to make sure that you have the best day of your life and the best pictures that money can buy.
Obviously, there are only so many hours in a day. Even though I am with my clients from beginning to end, we have a finite amount of time on a wedding day. And there are certain things that must be accomplished; the wedding ceremony, of course; certain formalities at the reception; family and wedding party documentation. We need to make sure that there is plenty of time for those obligatory items to take place. But there are all of the moments and all of the time in between those obligatory items. And those are the ones that I feel are SO important. The most intimate and emotional moments will not be when you are “posing” for pictures. They will be when you are getting ready. When you are nervous about the impending nuptials. They will be when you finally see your groom or your bride and all of the waiting and planning come together. It could be when you are just hanging out with your bridesmaids or groomsmen. These moments are the ones that I believe you will value most in the years to come and the ones that I strive to capture.
Sometimes this means that we have to do certain things earlier than you would expect. Doing family pictures a couple hours before the ceremony makes sense. Giving your hair and make-up stylists extra time to make you perfect means scheduling them earlier. Allowing extra time for moments between ( a “buffer” in your timeline) makes for a much more relaxing day. This way you are not rushing around trying to get ready or accomplish things that need to be done. You are able to sit back and embrace each moment as they go by rather than constantly chasing after them. Or worse yet, missing out on them all together. It’s not just about pictures. It’s about enjoying your day.
“Larry, can’t you just have another photographer do all of the stuff with the groom while you photograph the bride?” Sure I could. But that would be putting the quality that my clients expect into hands other than my own. I DO bring my very able and talented assistant, Kim, to every wedding as a second photographer. But she is there to back me up. Sometimes I leave her with the bride or groom while I am handling the creative or obligatory family images, but her and I are more powerful and effective when covering multiple angles of the same moments. I also do some the creative pictures as the bride and groom are getting ready, so it’s important that I am there for that.
Is it my job to dictate the timeline? Absolutely not. It is your day. If you want to follow a different timeline, I absolutely abide by it, of course. And I do my absolute best to get everything that is needed to tell your story. But should I assist with the timeline? Yes. With a team effort, and some patience and cooperation, you can have the day of your dreams and a storybook for the ages.
Here are a few articles that deal with wedding day timelines that I believe are helpful: