DAY 23 – WEDDING TIPS: Always leave more time then you think you need

barn back yard wedding farm
Wedding photo from a wedding at private estate with barn north of Scranton, PA


Time on a wedding day can go much faster then you might anticipate. Therefor planning your day with more built in wiggle room is a great idea. The worst case scenario if you plan for too much time is that you will be able to sit back and relax before the next stage of your wedding takes place. It is always better to have too much time then not enough and feel rushed.

Here are a few common areas we tend to see people “lose time” on their wedding day.

1. Hair & makeup prepartions

This is the number one area that we see people’s wedding day schedules get off track. It is important to communicate with your hair and makeup team that you do have a time table that you want to be able to stick to. For instance, having your photo taken in your gown once you have your hair and makeup finished is a great opportunity, but something you have to allow time for.

The size of your hair and makeup team as well as how many members of your wedding party will be served plays a big part in how on time things tend to run. We have seen the largest problems with teams that only bring 1-3 people on location to try and finish the bride plus 2-5 other people. It is important that the team you select has experience working with a wedding and not just hair for a regular day. Those that tend to stay most on time, are those that work primarily on weddings or have a large salon to be able to dedicate 1 stylist to handle no more then 2 people each.

This is a very important timing issue for your day. We have seen some couples run late for even their wedding ceremony when this is not planned for and extra time left in your planning. And your photography time will suffer greatly for it.

2. The ceremony and receiving line

Lets face it. We all know that some priests can be a bit long winded, and others not. If your officient tells you that the ceremony will be 1 hour, plan for 1 hour and 15 mins to be safer. Catholic ceremonies tend to run between 1 hour to 1.5 hours depending on if it is a full ceremony or not. Other church ceremonies and outdoor ceremonies tend to be closer to 30 mins.

After the ceremony comes the receiving line. Depending on how many guests yo have, you will want to leave more time for this to take place as well before you do family photos and take off for your portrait time. You will probably want to add 15-20 minutes of time for this to take place safely.

3. Photo time

After the ceremony and roughly 20-30 minutes for family photo time, it is time to head off for the fun and creative photos of the couple and the wedding party. This can be anywhere that you want to go. Again this is an area where you want to plan enough time to where you are not going to be rushed. Taking great photos definitely takes time, especially when they are being created as one of a kind artistic type of images and not your standard cookie cutters.

Definitely talk with me in our planning about your ideas for locations for photos and I can help plan out how much time I think we need. A general rule of thumb is if you are going to have all of the photos taken in one place or at the reception area, you want to leave about 2 hours. If you plan to travel to a few different places then 3 hours might be safer. Now, you might say that sounds like a lot of time. It really isn’t. Time goes very quickly. The size of your wedding party can also make it go slower or faster depending on how many people.

The less time you have, the photos will be rushed and you might not have as much time to get as creative as you would like. That is not to say that I can’t do a lot in an hour, but as I said before, planning more time is never a bad thing. You can always sit and relax before your cocktail hour if you have extra time.

And the last piece is travel time with your photos. Keep in mind extra travel time to take in account possible traffic if you are going from the church to a location for photos and then to the reception site.

4. Cocktail Hour

Do you want to make sure you are back for cocktail hour? If you do, then you definitely again want to plan on that when you look at the end time of your ceremony and the beginning time for your cocktail, leaving enough time in between to take your photos.

5. Do you want to see each other before the ceremony?

The other thing you can consider if you are having a later ceremony time and want to be able to go right to the ceremony to the reception, you could do all of your photos before the ceremony. If you are not superstitious about seeing other, we would set up before the ceremony what we call a “first look”. This is where the bride and groom will see each other for the first time. It allows you to still have that magical moment of seeing other but still allow you to get all of your photos done before the ceremony.


I hope you found these quick tips helpful. As always if you have anything to add, please leave a comment at the bottom. Also we still have some great spots for 2013 and 2014 if you would like to book your wedding for anywhere in the world! Go to our website at:

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