You’re shoulder to shoulder, nestled together on your newly moved in family couch. You both sit and take a deep breath to realize what your photographer handed you. Unwrapping the package one corner at a time, you begin to feel butterflies start to bubble. You see one tip of a photo and then another. You finally pull them all out, and in a hurry, you dig to find the treasured portraits of you and your groom alone on your wedding day.
Will there be feelings of gratitude for the quality of how they turned out? Or will you wish you had planned more time to take more photos together? Will you wish you had better memories of feeling comfortable and relaxed? Or will you feel relieved and content knowing you created enough time to have quality photos taken?
These are all possible responses to receiving your wedding day couple photos. Couple portraits are the first to go up on the walls of your first home together. Meaningful moments of such a special day deserve to have a lot of time and effort put into them. You’ll be able to hang them on the wall with such thankfulness, knowing the extra thought and effort was well worth the finished product of love.
What are some ways to help you get finished couple portraits you are in love with? We will discuss how you and your groom can plan effective timing for your wedding day to ensure you feel confident in your portraits.
When you are planning for your wedding, work with your wedding photographer and planner on the timeline. Begin by asking questions to them. They best understand the flow of the day better than anyone and it is your job to trust them. Some good questions to use might be:
- How long do you recommend for those portraits?
- How much time do you think I will really need?
Timelines are everything when it comes to achieving the desired couple portraits. They are a great way to create a stress free experience. We all know when it comes to wedding that you need to plan for the unexpected, so with the timelines you are able to forecast a plan for any possible issues. There are two types of timelines you can choose from that will determine the rest of your day. You can choose to do a “first look” prior to the ceremony or you may choose to wait and have the first look during the ceremony. By making enough time you will have the perfect secret for getting the best wedding couple portraits. Many of my couple choose to have a first look which allows them to have a more relaxed wedding day timeline, but that is also personal preference. If that catches your interest, read about before first look benefits here. Below are two blueprints of each timeline to show exactly how much time you’ll have and need.
First Look Timeline:
This timeline is when the couple lays eyes on each other for the first time in private before the ceremony. With all formal portraits with bridal party and family done 2 hours before the ceremony, loved ones feel relaxed knowing they can enjoy cocktail hour after the ceremony. There is also clear communication to the bridal party and family members as to where and when they need to meet.
Cocktail Hour Timeline:
10min: Couple signs marriage license
30 min: Couple Portraits
20min: Couple has the option of joining their cocktail hour or relaxing (bustle dress)
Grand total of 1 hour for couple portraits and cocktail hour for one hour.
No First Look Timeline:
This is a timeline where the couple chooses to first see each other when the bride is walking down the aisle. This also works as a timeline when the Groom and Bride walk down the aisle and go to a secluded area when the ceremony ends.
10min: Couple Signs Marriage License
20 min: Family Portraits
20min: Bridal Party Portraits
40min: Couple Portraits
Grand total of: 40 minutes for couple portraits and a cocktail hour for 90 minutes.
From past experience, when portraits take place after the ceremony, stress levels are heightened. Family members and bridal party members have to still be gathered which takes a lot of time away from time of photos. Also it is common for guests to enjoy cocktail hour and congratulate you causing people’s attention to be scattered during the portrait time. Yet for a first look before the ceremony, all the gathering is done and there is clear communication to the family and bridal party as to when and where to meet. If you decide to wait and see each other until the ceremony, you will need to plan your ceremony two hours and 30 minutes before sunset.
First Look Timelines are always encouraged for a number of reasons. You will have more variety and quantity of couple portraits to choose from. They are also helpful when unforeseen issues arise such as: when that one family member is late to family portraits causing the ceremony to begin late, or your bridesmaid forgets her shoes at the getting ready place, or a freak storm hits after the ceremony. These scenarios will take time away from the time that could be spent on your precious couple portraits. The timelines above will ensure a quality experience with the effortless enjoyment of your wedding day. If anything sticks with you from this post, let it be this: always plan extra time for certain portraits because there is always an unexpected event that happens on a wedding day.
MANY THANKS TO THE CREATIVE TEAM WHO HELPED WITH THESE WEDDINGS:
Venue: THE COUNTRY CLUB AT DC RANCH
Venue: ROYAL PALMS RESORT AND SPA
Venue: SECRET GARDEN EVENTS
Venue: THE FARM AT SOUTH MOUNTAIN
Photographer: APRIL MAURA PHOTOGRAPHY