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Organizing the photography on your wedding day is an essential part of helping to make your day as stress-free as possible. To help with that here at Roy Dressel Photography, we set up what we call a final consultation a week or two before your wedding day to plan the timeline of the photos. That way we are both on the same page.

We’ll discuss when people should arrive and when we will be taking their pictures. At this meeting, I will ask the question that I have asked of every one of the couples I have worked with since I began in the business, “do the two of you want to see each other before the ceremony”? The answer will determine how the day will progress.

If the answer is yes, then we can plan on taking all the formal posed photos before the ceremony.  That way, after the service,  we may have a few pitchers to consider, especially those big family photos with all your relatives in the shot, but for the most part, it’s straight to the reception.

When we do all the photos ahead of time, we begin two hours before the ceremony is set to start. An hour and a half of that time is for the picture taking, but we need to be finished a half hour before the ceremony, as early arrivals will begin to trickle in.

We break the photo session into half-hour blocks. We start with the wedding couple for the first half hour, then the next half hour with you two and the wedding party and finally that last half hour with you two, parents and family.

Doing it this way, the family doesn’t have to be there two hours ahead of time take a few photos and then wait around with nothing to do. If we do have those big family photos to do, we can do them right after the ceremony or during the reception because more the likely, all of the family will not have to arrive beforehand.

If the answer is no to that question about seeing each other, then we can discuss whether we will take any formal posed photos before the ceremony.

If you have a small wedding party, (not in stature, but quantity) and not many immediate family members, it may be a better use of time to do all the photos after the wedding.  But, if you have a large wedding party (say 8 or more attendants) and a large immediate family, it can be better to take what we like to call half and half. We spend a half hour with one partner, their attendants, and immediate family and then a half hour with the other partner, their attendants, and their immediate family. That way, the time spent after the wedding taking photos is reduced, and you get to the reception quicker.  My goal has always been to finish the formal posed pictures after the ceremony in thirty to forty-five minutes. If it goes to an hour, your guests will want to know my name, and not because they think I am the greatest guy around.

After the ceremony, we will begin with parents and family with the couple. They are the ones who will tend to wonder, talking with people they have not seen in years, so we get them first, then we work with the wedding couple and the wedding party and finish with the two of you together. Then it’s on to the reception.

Here is the timeline when all photos are done before a 5:00 ceremony time. 

We would arrive early and take getting ready shots in the dressing rooms.

3:00-3:30  Couple take photos.
3:30-4:00  Couple and their wedding party.
4:00-4″30 Couple and family
4:30 We’re done with photos, guests arrive.
5;00 Ceremony begins.
After the ceremony: The reception, it’s straight to the reception. During the reception, with the help of the DJ,  we gather the family for big group shots.

The timeline with not seeing each other, but taking as many as we can before the ceremony. 

We arrive early for getting ready shots in the dressing rooms.

3:30-4:00 Photos with the one partner and their attendants immediate family.
4:00-4:30  Photos with the other partner, their attendants, and immediate family.

5:00 ceremony

Photos after the ceremony.
Begin with couple and family.
The couple and wedding party
Couple by themselves.

If we do all the photos after the ceremony. 

We arrive early for getting ready shots.
Ceremony
Begin with couple and family. 
The couple and wedding party
Couple by themselves. 

Hopefully, this helps you get a handle on how you plan your day. When to get your hair done, when you need to be dressed and ready for photos. any questions feel free to call or emails us for more details.

More details about our wedding photography. 

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