6 Special Events That Impact a Wedding Day Timeline
Wait. Erin, are we STILL talking about wedding day timelines? Yes. Yes, we are. Why? Because we need to talk about a few more things. Special events on your wedding day are, well, special. And the quick answer to add them or not to your wedding day is this: ADD THEM. DO IT. We want you to take the robe photos, have the hidden first looks, and cry over those gifts exchanged. Just remember that these special events impact a wedding day timeline. In fact, these events take a fair amount of setup and planning, and us professional wedding photographers want to know about them! These seemingly small details can quickly add time to your wedding day timeline.
Again, nothing in this blog post is meant to discourage you from these activities. They are wonderful! I just want you to think ahead and plan so that there are no surprises. Communication with your wedding photographer is important for everything to go smoothly. If you want to add something to your wedding, don’t wait until the day of the ceremony to let us know. The more we know, the better.
In our 10+ years of photographing weddings, we have witnessed many special events. Below are six of the most common special events on a wedding day, and the reasons why they need to schedule on your wedding day timeline.
This is for you brides and bridesmaids. In the world of Pinterest, these photos are all over the place. If you like them, and they offer a glimpse into your relationship with your bridesmaids, then we are all for taking them! Especially if you get flannel shirts, cause those things are the CUTEST. In all seriousness, these robe photos can be a nice memory to capture because they represent the start of one of the most memorable days of your life.
Now, photographing the robe photos requires one very important detail: everyone needs to have their hair and makeup done. I know you are rolling your eyes at me and saying, “DUH Erin.” Well. This is usually the first photo we will take when we arrive at the wedding venue. Why? Because, after the photo is taken, everyone will need to get dressed. If one of the people in the robe photo is to help the bride get dressed, then that person will have to get dressed first. While that person is getting dressed, we will photograph the wedding details such as the dress, shoes, veil, jewelry, and invitations.
Writing love letters to your future spouse is one of the most romantic things that we see on a wedding day. We LOVE letter exchanges. Aside from the vows, this is one of the more moving moments of a wedding day. Also, this is usually the first BIG emotional moment of the day, and things become very real and very emotional quickly. Lots of tears are shed.
There are a couple of things we need to preface with a letter exchange. First, there has to be time on the timeline for this event. Whether you decide to read the letter softly to yourself, alone in a dressing room, or for the whole world to hear, an actual letter is read. The lengths of the letters could also make reading them take up some time. Further, if a videographer is involved, they may need to put a microphone on the person talking to record every word.
Second, the letters have to actually get to the person reading them! Depending on location(s) or whether there is a first look or traditional look, there is some logistics involved in this process. Where are the letters? Who is delivering the letters? Are the letters finalized? We would highly recommend the Best Man and the Maid of Honor secure these letters and get them where they need to be! That is so helpful for everyone.
Finally, there actually has to be a letter! Yes! There are many times when we get to the letter exchange part of the wedding day, and there is one big missing piece — one of the parties has failed to write their letter. It actually happens more than most people would admit to. We would strongly encourage letter writing the day before the wedding. This allows more time and reflection for the words forever scrawled in ink.
Hidden First Looks
It isn’t a requirement that the couple sees each other before the wedding. But if the idea of having an intimate moment with your spouse-to-be sounds attractive, a hidden first look might be something for you to consider. A letter exchange can be a form of hidden first look if the couple wants it to be, but there are a variety of other options available.
The common theme in all of the hidden first looks is that the couple is brought close together, but is never allowed to see each other. Perhaps you hold hands from opposite sides of a wall and share a prayer. Maybe you stand around the corner from each other and just chat about how excited you are! Maybe you embrace each other while blindfolded. Whatever you choose, it’s almost always a beautiful moment that makes for fantastic photos.
But, again, those pictures take time to set up. Most of the challenge lies in the logistics of the location. We need to find a location at the venue that can accommodate a hidden first look, such as a well-lit location where the couple can’t see each other. This is especially true for holding hands around a door or corner. If you are interested in being blindfolded, then we can pretty much go anywhere for this intimate moment.
Traditionally, the couple does not see each other until they walk down the aisle. Some couples like to reveal themselves to each before the ceremony! This can make for an intimate experience away from the prying eyes of your guests. We find that half of our couples choose a First Look and half choose the traditional Aisle Look. It also allows for some pretty epic photos that melt our hearts.
But first looks aren’t just for couples. We love when brides and grooms reveal themselves to their family members, bridesmaids, and friends. These can also be highly emotional moments that you’ll definitely want to have captured on film.
Regardless of who is seeing you for the first time, your wedding day timeline needs to reflect this special event. We want to be in a position to capture all of the important detail. This is not something that can always happen easily on the spur of the moment. It can also take time to track everyone down and get them ready for the big moment.
Couples often decide to exchange gifts on the wedding day. This may happen when they first arrive at the venue after the festivities are over, or as part of the first look. Whenever you choose to do it, you’ll need to budget time for it. How much time you need to budget depends on the gift. For example, if you give your loved one a scrapbook, they may want to take the time to look at every photo. Yes, every. single. photo. That could take up to half an hour or more! Been there and done that.
Is the gift wrapped? Is it a large gift that needs a little extra help? These may sound like minor details, and they are when properly planned for. But wedding days can be hectic and adding in these extra details at the last minute can end up costing more time than you had imagined.
If one of you has musical talent, then there is no more romantic way to make use of it than to serenade your beloved on your wedding day. This is very romantic and will make for some sweet photographs. But as I’ve been stressing, you can’t just budget for the three or four minutes that your song will last. You’ll need to make sure that your partner is ready for your song. Heck! The serenade may be a total surprise! Trying to make time for a quick serenade that wasn’t properly planned for can include much more than the song itself.
Erin Morrison Photography
Whew! You made it through another blog post! Thank you so much for taking the time to read all about special events on a wedding day. As stated in the beginning, we love events like these because we love to photograph love! No matter where you are getting married, no matter what town you live in, we would love to photograph your wedding. Please feel free to view my portfolio, and contact me at any time! I would be honored if you’d consider me as your wedding photographer!