No one wants to hear this but it truly puts you in a more conscious and informed position if you realize that wedding day isn’t all about you. You and your partner may be the focus of wedding day but there are lots of people including hired professionals as well as family and friends that are participating in your ceremony and celebration. Running late makes it more difficult for professionals to do their jobs and can lead to a boring or at worst stressful situation for friends and family.
Put yourself in the position of your guests and vendors… would you want to wait 30 or 45 minutes for things to get going? For catering it can mean that food sits out and gets cold or isn’t at its freshest when served. Lateness also takes time away from us being able to make beautiful portraits. It is tough to make relaxed, natural looking photographs when we are in a rush. It also take time away from dancing during your reception, the part of your wedding that guests are probably most looking forward to.
Its all about timing and coordination
In our experience the number one cause of lateness on wedding day is lack of coordination in the wedding day timeline between hair and makeup artists and photographers. It is not uncommon for us to see timelines that look like this:
Makeup: 1:30 – 2:30pm
Pictures: Bride, Bride + Bridesmaids: 2:30-3:00
This time line doesn’t allow time for the dress to be put on. It takes anywhere between 15 – 30 minutes after hair and makeup finishes for a bride to be fully in her dress. After sitting for an hour or more doing hair and makeup you may need to use the bathroom, change into the appropriate undergarments, have a bite to eat or take care of something before getting into your dress. Also many dresses have buttons and straps that take time to put on correctly. Make sure and leave yourself at least 30 minutes between the time hair and makeup finishes and when pictures are scheduled to start.
Leave more time for photographs of you looking your best
Nothing kills me more than looking at a beautiful bride in fresh hair and makeup and realizing I only have 5 minutes to take a few rushed photos before we need to leave. This is the time of day when you will look your freshest, please make sure we have adequate time to capture beautiful candid photographs of you getting into your dress and also do portraits. Give your hair and makeup team a ‘hard stop’ time so that they know exactly when they need to be finished.
To avoid surprises we also highly recommend booking a trial session with your hair and makeup artists so you know exactly how you are going to look on wedding day. Having to redo and entire look or make big changes is stressful and can cause things to run late.
Formal Group Portraits
The second time of day when things tend to run late is during formal group portraits. These photographs are some of the most important ones we take all day although they aren’t usually the ones people are the most excited about. To get through them stress free these are a few things we recommend doing before hand:
Create a list of group photographs you want. Make sure to include the name of the person and their relation to you or your partner.
Jacobs Aunt Marsha Smith
Jacobs Uncle Bill Smith
Jacobs mother Karen O’Malley
Jacobs father Joseph O’Malley
Jacobs grandmother Rebecca Smith
Marias mother Vanessa Rodriguez
Marias father John Rodriguez
Marias Aunt Beth Rodriguez
Marias Aunt Rebecca Moore
Having the names and relations will make it easy for us and the person in your group helping us gather the groupings to call people up by name. There might be more than one aunt and more than one cousin present so having names helps. Also indicate which partner they are in relation to.
We recommend showing this list to your family before turning it in to us so that you make sure not to miss anyone. Adding on extra photographs on the day of can really slow things down since we won’t have scheduled for additional time. We tell our clients to expect each photograph to take an average of 5 minutes. So if you have 10 groupings it will take approximately 50ish minutes. It takes longer to organize and pose larger groups than smaller ones. If we have your exact list with names we can make recommendations for the amount of time we will need.
Remind important people they are needed for pictures.
Make sure the people on your list know they are going to be needed for photographs and the exact time and place where they need to be. Don’t be shy to remind them right before the wedding or designate someone in your family to make sure and contact everyone. If your Uncle Bill doesn’t know he is needed for photographs and is in several groupings it can cause things to run late and will make your Uncle feel bad.
If your family has a history of running late tell them a fake start time that is earlier than the actual time.
Please, no cell phone pictures
Request that people not take cellphone photographs during the formal portraits. Cellphones can be problematic at many times during wedding day but during the formal portraits it is especially distracting.
When I’m taking a group photograph I am trying to get everyone to look at my camera at the same time. If there are several other people with cameras it makes it almost impossible for the people in the photo to just look at me. It is frustrating to get back and look at the photos to realize that there isn’t a single one where everyone in the group is looking.
If I have to wait an additional 3 minutes per grouping for people to take photos with their cellphones it will cause us to run over time. (With 10 groupings an additional 3 minutes per shot is 30minutes of time wasted on crappy cellphone photos)
Cellphone photos will never be printed and will rarely be looked at. The photos we are take are going to be in your album and on your walls. Please back us up during the formals portrait session and tell guests not to take cellphone photos. We don’t want to be rude and have to ask people to get out of our way. Everyone listens and respects the couples wishes on wedding day so its a lot easier for us if you speak up about this.
Your wedding day is one of the most important and meaningful days in your life and the life of the people around you. Don’t be late to your own ceremony. Show up ready to take that next step. Don’t hesitate and get caught in the trap of making things perfect or bending to other peoples desires. Make a plan for your day, commit to it and show up for it.
Of course the unexpected can always happen and if it does and things start to run behind make sure to be in touch with your coordinator and key members of the bridal party and your family. Letting people know as soon as things start to run late will give them the opportunity to start implementing back up plans or doing things to keep guest entertained while they wait. Above all else remember to keep calm. Letting yourself get overly worked up or upset will only make things worse. All of your vendors are professionals and are ready to help with any problems that might arise.