The Secret to a Stress-Free Wedding Day

Wedding Tips


Do you want to know the secret to a stress free wedding day?

The secret to a stress free wedding day is a Wedding Day Timeline that is well thought out and planned.  This is what I think the key to having a stress free wedding day is time and time again!

If you are currently planning a wedding, you will soon find out how challenging it is to come up with a timeline on your own when there are so many things to consider. Believe me, I know how hard it can be!  For that reason, I work with my couples to create a wedding day timeline for each and every one of them specific for their day. This is helpful because it keeps everyone on the same page and allows enough time to capture the shots desired. A well planned wedding day timeline will ensure that your day runs smoothly, while also creating a stress-free atmosphere.

The most important thing I need to know when creating my couple’s timeline is whether or not they will do a first look. Why?

First Look with Bride and Groom

There are (at least) 3 types of portraits that I need to make sure I for sure capture on a wedding day:

  • family portraits
  • wedding party portraits (bridesmaids, groomsmen, whole wedding party together)
  • bride+groom portraits

I need to make sure I get all of these photos, but most importantly, I need to know WHEN I am going to get them. And I am going to talk about this in detail later. The second thing I need to know is what time the ceremony will start.

wedding party sleepy hollow clemson wedding

So, again, the two main things I need to know when planning a timeline for my brides:

  • If they are doing a first look
  • Ceremony start time

First Kiss Wedding Converse College

Just to give you an idea, here are the ideal amounts of time a photographer usually needs in order to perform to the best of their ability on a wedding day:

Details & Getting Ready Photos: 75-90 min

This involves photographing all the details (invitation, dress, jewelry, shoes, heirloom pieces, bouquet, garter, veil, rings, perfume, your something old, new, borrowed and blue, etc.), as well as candid shots of the bride and her bridesmaids getting their hair and makeup finished too.  And of course getting the groom and groomsmen hanging out and having a good time!  Many brides don’t think about this first important step of the day, and some don’t realize how much they really will enjoy these detail photos!  But they really do help tell the story of your entire day.  They make all of your hard work planning out the decor and special touches in your day worth it, and something you will never forget!  If you choose a shorter amount of hours for your wedding photography collection, these are usually the pictures that have to get skipped, for time sake.  I really, really encourage my brides to make this an important part of your day though, and for this reason I do not regularly offer shorter coverage collections.  It is that important!!
Details on Wedding Day Groom getting ready photos Bride getting ready photos

Wedding Party Photos: 35-45 min

The wedding party portraits can be a bit tricky as we need to divide this time into three mini sections: bride+bridesmaids, groom+groomsmen, and full wedding party. This means that we only have about 10 minutes for each section. This includes getting everybody to the spot where the pictures will take place (which is not always easy, especially if one of the ladies is not done with her makeup or hair), taking the photos and hoping that everyone cooperates — the bigger the wedding party, the harder it is to get everyone to focus. (But don’t worry, I will take control and get everyone to where they need to be, so we can do these quickly, efficiently, and still have a fun time too!)
Bridesmaid PhotosWedding Party Photos Converse CollegeGroomsmen photos Converse College SC

Bride & Groom Photos: 40-45 min

If you do an engagement session prior to your wedding, you are going to find out how fast 30 minutes fly by. On a wedding day they go by even faster 🙂 Could we use more than half an hour for the bride and groom portraits? Absolutely, and I try to plan for at least 45 minutes for couples photos! However, more often than not, we find ourselves only having a shorter time left out of the 40-45 min. Why? Sometimes the hair and makeup take longer than anticipated, one of the bridal party members is not ready, putting on the wedding dress takes longer than we thought etc. But, if we  run behind schedule (90% of the weddings do) and don’t allow at least 40 minutes for the bride and groom portraits, the chances are that we are going to be rushed to take the most important photos of your life up until to this day, and this is not something you want to happen on your wedding day.  Bride and groom portraits are my specialty and usually the ones my couples choose to get the prints of to hang on their walls to enjoy for years to come!  So, we definitely don’t want to skimp on this part of the timeline!  ( I could post forever on bride and groom portraits – but here are just a small sample of some of my faves – I have so many, I could spend hours sharing these, seriously!  Maybe another post . . . )
Bride and Groom Portraits Converse CollegeBride and Groom Portraits Spartanburg SCBride and Groom Portraits Charlotte NC
Family Photos: 30-40 min

For the sake of staying on track, I recommend that you only include the immediate family in these photos. That means: parents, grandparents and siblings + their spouses  (if applicable). The bigger the crowd, the more time it takes to group everyone together for pictures. It is extremely important to communicate to everyone where they need to be for the family pictures. Having to wait on a family member can cause delays in the timeline and other areas of the wedding day can be compromised.  I often recommend for your officiant to make an announcement at the end of the recessional announcing for immediate family members to stay at the front of the ceremony location so they are available for photos right after the guests clear out after the ceremony.  I have a handy family shot list outline I will share with you as we get closer to your wedding date, that we can plan all of your family photos from.  I’ve found through many, many weddings that this can be the most stressful time of the day, and it doesn’t need to be!  So, rather than leave the entire shot list up to my couples (which in of itself is overwhelming!!), I will give you a starting family shot list to get you started.  Many of my couples just trust me to go down my standard list, and it works out super well!!  If you are one of my JBP Couples, please ask me to see this if I haven’t shared it with you already!  (But I will also remind you as we get closer to your wedding date!)

Reception Decor: 15-20 min

Ceremony Decor: 15-20 min

If the reception is located at the same property as the ceremony, then usually myself or my second photographer can work getting these reception decor and ceremony decor photos in before the ceremony starts – if we’ve planned enough of a break for the couple to go into hiding before the guests start arriving!  These days it seems that guests start arriving an entire hour before the ceremony start time!

Ceremony Itself:  20-30 min

Reception: usually 2 1/2- 3 hours for complete coverage of your entire day

Remember the 3 types of portraits I was describing above? If my bride and groom are doing a first look, it will allow time for almost all those pictures to be taken BEFORE the ceremony and not have to worry about them after the ceremony.  This helps my couples get to their reception and guests much faster.

Total Time Needed for a Wedding Day Timeline:  7 – 8 hours minimum

If you add all of the parts together from my ideal time suggestions above, guess how much time that is??  It is between 6 1/2 – 8 hours long! (And that doesn’t account for transitions and movement between photos, things running behind, or the break before the ceremony for the bride and groom as guests are arriving, travel time from getting ready locations to ceremony location to reception location etc.) For this reason, my most popular collections are 8-9 hours of wedding day coverage.  Because I want your day and your memories from your day to tell the whole story!!  Without all of these parts photographed, I don’t feel like I can tell your story in the best possible way.  And after all, your pictures (and video) are all you are going to have to remember your day when it is all said and done!

I hope looking at all of these aspects of your wedding day timeline and the time required for photographing each part of your day, has helped you think about things that maybe you hadn’t before and has you well on your way to a stress free wedding day.  As you can see, there is A LOT of PLANNING and ORGANIZATION that goes into making your wedding day stress free.  Thankfully for you, I am an organization and planning guru, and I will HELP you to adjust a timeline to fit your needs!

Example Wedding Day Timelines:

If you join my Private FB Group, you will get access to two example wedding day timelines – one WITH a first look and one WITHOUT a first look to help you plan even more.  And you don’t even have to be one of my wedding couples to join my FB group either!  Please feel free to click here to JOIN MY FB GROUP now!  (Once you join, just click on the “Files” part of the page to see the example timelines.)

And if you are still looking for your wedding photographer, and think we would be a great fit, please Contact Me Now to apply to work with me!  I’d love to have you as my next JBP (Jill Brisken Photography) Wedding Couple!!

Bride and Groom Exit Photos

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