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Wedding Timeline Tips

Recently I have had multiple discussions with my 2018 brides about wedding timelines. I remember when I was getting married I had no idea where to begin. I relied heavily on my wedding photographer and day-of-corrdinator to help me, because honestly I was completely clueless. 

My goal here is to provide you with a few things to think about as you move forward with your own wedding timeline. So enough small talk, lets jump right in! 

{Totally unrelated-- but the Whitney Houston Pandora Station is the best station of all time!} 

Ok, moving on!

The first step I do when I meet with my couples for the first time I try to get a feel of how they see the day going. For example, is the ceremony going to be in the day time, night time, inside, outside, location etc. How long is the ceremony going to be etc. So here are some questions to ask yourself, and why they are important:

When is the ceremony? This matters because it will help you determine how much time you need to get ready and if you have to account for travel time.

I love weddings at unique spaces. The top image was a elopement in Laguna Beach, CA. As a New York Wedding Photographer I love getting the call to go photograph on the west coast. The bottom image was a wedding at Green Point Loft in Brooklyn. Even though I am a wedding photographer based in NYC, I do love shooting in Brooklyn, NY.

Do you want to do a first look? This is important because we need to figure out locations, set aside time for this, and of course look for beautiful light for photography.

The top wedding was a first look done in Raleigh North Carolina. Even though I am a New York Wedding Photographer, I love getting calls to do Southern weddings. Its nice to trade New York City for the fresh air in North Carolina. The Botton was an intimate wedding in SoHo at Housing Works Bookstore. Their first look was at the Nolitan Hotel in Soho. I love being a NYC wedding photographer because we have the most amazing views that provide the perfect backdrops for a first look.

When do you want family photographs? This is probably one of the biggest time investments, and one of the most important as well. Some couples want family photography before the ceremony to get them out of the way, others opt for them to be during the cocktail hour. Those are things to consider. Nowadays couples want to spend time with their guests during the cocktail hour.

How long is the ceremony? I think this is self explanatory ha!

Is the ceremony at the same location as the reception? If you are going to multiple locations, you need to allow for adequate travel time. I can't stress how important this is especially for my NYC couples. 

Do you have a cocktail hour planned? If you do, think about how you want to spend this time. Do you want to use it taking couples pictures, with your guests, taking family photos or just spending some quiet time jus the two of you practicing your first dance moves? 

After we work through the ceremony I next ask them about the "getting ready time." Here are some things to think about:

How many people are getting hair and make up? This is so important because it will help you decide how early you need everyone to start the process. The bride should always be last so she looks the freshest.

Getting ready is one of my favorite times of the day. As a New York Wedding Photographer, I love seeing make up artists do their magic. In New York City we have some of the best make up artists. I also love when brides do their own make up too. No one knows how you look better than yourself. As your Wedding Photographer in New York or in North Carolina, I will do my best to capture you on your wedding day.

Where will you be getting ready (bride and groom)? Again, can't stress allowing for ample travel time between the getting ready location and ceremony/reception site. Also one thing to consider if you aren't having two photographers is to have you and your fiancé get ready in the same hotel. This way we can capture both of you as your spend your last moments as single people. 

Will you have bridal party photos? The answer is always YES! This needs to be accounted for when planning your timeline so that we can have fun, not be rushed, and get the most of our time together. 

This wedding in Greenpoint Loft was so amazing and unique. The bridal party did their photos at The Box House Hotel in Brooklyn while the groom and groom party decided to do them on the rooftop of Greenpoint Loft.  I Think what sets me apart from other wedding photographers in New York City is that I think that weddings are happy occasions and my editing reflects that. I love having fun with my bride and grooms and New York has no shortage of unique and fun couples.

The next thing I love to talk about is the reception! It is my favorite part of the day because all the stressful parts of the day are done. Here are some things to keep in mind as you make your reception timeline:

Are you doing a formal entrance?

Love this little wedding at the Housing Works Bookstore in Chelsea. As a New York Wedding Photographer I have so many opportunities to shoot in really unique wedding locations around New York City. This image is of a bride and groom doing their first entrance as husband and wife.

Are you doing a first dance? Father/daughter mother/son dance?

Are you doing a cake cutting?

I love the part of the wedding where its time to eat cake! I don't usually get to enjoy any because I am too busy photographing the fun. I wish more couples would opt to do the cake cutting. It is so fun and who doesn't want a little cake smash at the end of the day. 

Are you doing speeches? And how many?

I love speeches! Sometimes they can be so funny, and sometimes they can be so awkward. I love hearing some backstories of couples and of course the well wishes. Just another part of being a wedding photographer in New York City that I love.

Are you doing a formal exit? 

I love sparkler exits! In New York City we aren't always allowed to do them because of the fire risk, but there are other options! 

Hopefully this will help you as you get started with putting together your own wedding timeline. There are no rules when it comes to your wedding day. Be creative, be zen, and be yourself. And always remember to fall in love with as many things as possible. 

Till next time




Amina Ford