Weddings can be a bit stressful at the best of times and there is nothing more likely to cause problems than timings running out of hand! Here’s a list of the top five times when things might go a bit awry!
1) Hair and make up – allow ample time to do your hair and make up, now I’m not an expert in this field (however I do live in a household of females!) but I do know from many years of experience that it ALWAYS takes girls much longer than they ever expect to get ready! If you are doing your own hair and make up it might be a good idea to have a trial run before hand and get an idea of the time it might take. Similarly if you are using a professional get an accurate estimate of timings and then allow plenty of extra. I’ve photographed countless morning wedding preparations where hair and make up have run late and it can have a stressful knock on effect for the rest of the day if you’re not careful.
2) Fastening your dress – some wedding dresses only need a quick zip up however dresses that need to be laced at the back can take a considerable amount of time! Try to get some tips from the dress maker about how to lace it up and also involve whoever will be actually helping you into the dress on the day as well. Again it’s a good idea to have a practice run as it can be a bit tricky and you will also need to be getting into your dress at a time of the day when you might be feeling time pressured and possibly emotional as well. Again, allow plenty of time to enjoy the experience rather than get stressed and pressured.
3) Your drinks reception – this can easily become a bit compressed in terms of time if you or your guests arrive a bit late after the ceremony or if the venue calls you in to dinner a bit early as often is the case. Bear in mind that from a photographer’s point of view I will need to photograph the venue, the reception tables, details and cake, family group photographs as well as bride and groom portraits during this time. Personally I also like to have time to photograph people enjoying themselves, chatting and interacting too. You will also want to have some circulation time as well as a chance to have a little time to yourselves to just soak up the atmosphere! If possible allow an hour and a half at this point in the day – an hour can feel rather rushed and two hours or so tends to feel a bit protracted.
4) Receiving Line – there is often confusion about when receiving lines are due to take place and this can cause a number of issues. Generally the line happens as you go into dinner but often venues will call the start of the line half an hour or so before dinner is due to be served – sometimes this eats into your drinks reception time and then becomes problematic for all of the reasons above! Basically they always take much longer than you could possibly imagine and you need to factor in around half an hour or so PLUS the time for the drinks reception.
5) Get on with the dancing! – you’ve booked a band or a DJ, you want to have a party and get the most fun for your money so, after dinner and everything is ready to roll GET ON WITH IT! Many many weddings have a period of time after dinner and before the band starts where time is simply wasted because no one gets things going and keeps and eye on the time – before you know it the band have only got time to play one set before the venue’s finishing time and you lose out!