PLAN YOUR WEDDING DAY PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEOGRAPHY

Updated: Mar 18

Whether it’s big or small, casual or formal, your wedding day has so many elements to consider and bringing them all together means you need to have some kind of schedule and timing for the day so everything flows smoothly and nothing is missed. After all the hard work and intricate planning of every detail - you will want to capture each part of it to preserve those beautiful memories. If you want to make the absolute most of your wedding photography and videography, allowing the right amount of time for photos and filming in all parts of the day is therefore essential.

I offer my couples a complimentary design consultation prior to/or a month before the wedding, and a “check-in” the week before for any updates or changes. This is vital to ensure we not only get the coverage you want but also create your individual “mood board” to make sure I capture the right “feel” to your images. We also talk about how you might want to display them in your home - as this can influence the way I shoot for you. This appointment allows us to get every detail required to ensure a smooth running of your day and nothing or no one gets missed. Since I work with my husband as videographer or second shooter, he will also be part of this important meeting and generally we will work concurrently to cover all aspects with the minimum inconvenience to you on the day. It also means we can work out the perfect timing to assist your planning to get the most out of your coverage.


At West Coast Weddings we always scope out your locations well ahead of your big day, to ensure the best possible light and backdrops for your portraits. Wherever possible we like attend the Wedding Rehearsal if there is one - just to make sure everything will be absolutely perfect on your big day.


Depending on your wedding coverage it might be only part of this guide that is relevant, but it has been put together to help you plan a full wedding coverage of every aspect of your day - and anything else in between.

Getting Ready.

I start with the Groom, Groomsmen and any pageboys getting ready. I usually arrive when they are dressed - but the Groom is still to put on his jacket, shoes, belt, cufflinks etc. Groomsman and any Pageboys can be photographed individually, in groups and with and without the Groom. (approx 30 min - 1 hr). Any travel time between where the Groom is and where the Bride is will need to be factored in.

I like to arrive at the Bride’s once she has had her hair and make-up done, so she looks her best, but before she gets into her dress, so usually in a silky robe. This gives the chance for some lingerie or boudoir shots if required, as well as photographing the details of the dress, shoes, jewellery, flowers etc. Then shots of her getting into her dress and the dress being done up - perhaps by the Mother of the Bride or a bridesmaid. If parents are there - there can be a “First Look” from Dad or this can also be done with the Bridesmaids instead. Bridesmaids and any flower girls can be photographed individually, in groups and with and without the Bride (approx 2 hrs longer if there is a first look). The Bride’s coverage is generally longer due to all the details to be captured and often her leaving in the car with her Dad.


The Ceremony.

Be sure to factor in a few extra things when planning times for your ceremony. One is that you might want to allow for some photo time before it starts. I like to get the Bride and her Dad arriving, inside the car, helping her out of the car and the Bridesmaids adjusting the dress. I also like to get some shots of the venue filled with guests and the Groom and Groomsmen waiting (this can be done by my second shooter when available). (10-15min prior)


The Ceremony generally allows for the processional, ceremony, vows, rings, first kiss, signing of the register and recessional. (timing depends on you and your ceremony length)

To save time, group and family photos are best done straight after the ceremony while all your guests are together. Family photos can be done in as quickly as 15 minutes but the key to this is preparation. Know beforehand exactly which groups you want to be photographed in which order (we talk about this in detail at your design consultation). Make a list and give that list to a reliable family member or guest who can help organise everyone. Once the formalities are out of the way everyone can relax.


The Bridal Party Portraits

There’s no rulebook to plan your wedding day, just guides to help make the most of it. When it comes to portraits we would have discussed this in your design consultation and with your “Mood Board” in mind. This usually takes between 1 - 2 hrs, depending on the size of your bridal party and how many locations you want to travel to. Often the couple will organise drinks or canapés for their guests to mingle and enjoy during this time, before they arrive at the reception venue.


Photography is all about capturing light, the better the light the more beautiful the images. The best time for portraits is in the ‘golden hour’, the sun is starting to set and the light becomes softer, warmer in colour and gives an incredible glow that is a photographer’s dream to work with. If your reception falls in this hour before sunset I recommend taking 10 minutes out of the reception right on sunset to get portraits. Sunset portraits create a stunning set of photos to add to your wedding album or collection.

How to plan your wedding in different seasons.

Winter weddings are always beautiful and the light in winter takes on a softer, more magical appearance. Remember to plan your wedding in winter means shorter daylight hours and an earlier sunset. Plan an earlier ceremony to leave time for your photographer to capture your portraits.


Summer weddings mean brighter sun during the middle of the day. It’s a great idea to have your ceremony later in the evening when the light isn’t so bright. Ceremonies in bright midday sun also cause people to be squinting throughout your ceremony and portraits, and the light can be very harsh and unflattering, so the later the better.


Extra tips.

Don’t forget to consider traffic when planning your day. Be prepared and plan ahead by factoring in traffic times and any major events that might also be happening on your day that will congest traffic. The usual traffic jams can take time away from your portraits. Remember to plan your travels to try and avoid this, especially on a Friday or Saturday night!


The key for how to plan your wedding is to be prepared and allow time for your photographer to create magic without being under time pressure. Remember this is all a guide and at your design consultation we will work together to figure out a plan that will work best for you.


Reception Coverage

Some weddings only want a short coverage of the reception, some want all the formalities covered and others want us there pretty much all night!, It all depends on the size of the wedding and their personal taste and budget. Being a romantic, my advice is that you have put so much time and effort into all aspects of the day, including the reception that you would still want photos of this as well - especially if your are planning to make a wedding album that tells the whole story of your wedding day (all of our Collections/Packages include a bespoke archival wedding album.


I offer three types of coverage for receptions (Classic, Elegant and Luxurious) - and this would be discussed in detail at your design consultation.


RECEPTION (SHORT COVERAGE - UP TO FIRST HOUR OF RECEPTION)

  • Detail shots of reception

  • Bride and groom entering

  • Cake only

  • Bride and groom pretending to be cutting cake

  • Rings only

  • Bride and groom toasting

RECEPTION (MEDIUM COVERAGE - FORMALITIES UP TO 9.00 PM latest)

  • Detail shots of reception

  • Bride and groom entering

  • Bridal party and parents/step-parents entering

  • Cake only

  • Bride and groom cutting cake

  • Rings only

  • Bride and groom toasting

  • Bride and groom dancing “First Dance”(full length and close-up)

  • Bridal Party join dance floor

  • Bride/Dad, Groom/Mum, Bridal Party go and get their own spouse/VIP guest

  • Each set of parents/step-parents join the dancing if not already up.

  • General Dancing - guests invited up to the dance floor

  • Each person saying a speech, reactions to speeches

RECEPTION (FULL COVERAGE - UP TO 10.30PM latest)

  • Detail shots of reception

  • Bride and groom entering

  • Bridal party and parents/step-parents entering

  • Cake only

  • Bride and groom cutting cake

  • Rings only

  • Bride and groom toasting

  • Bride and groom dancing “First Dance”(full length and close-up)

  • Bridal Party join dance floor

  • Bride/Dad, Groom/Mum, Bridal Party go and get their own spouse/VIP guest

  • Each set of parents/step-parents join the dancing if not already up.

  • General Dancing - guests invited up to the dance floor

  • Each person saying a speech, reactions to speeches

  • General candid shots of dancing

  • General candid shots of guests (and any specific requests)

  • Taking off garter and throwing

  • Throwing bouquet

  • Couple leaving - eg Sparkler Aisle Send Off (extra time available if later in the night)

  • Creative shots at reception, something moody to conclude the album

  • Night Shots after reception to WOW

At your complimentary Design Consultation we will have asked about your honeymoon timeframes and have booked an Album Design Viewing and Ordering Appointment to suit - this is where you can relive the magic of your wonderful day all over again!


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