Weddings do the oddest things to time. How often have you heard couples say “it all goes so fast” – and yet it takes aaaages to do everyone’s hair and make up and then lace up the back of a wedding dress! If you do one thing this week, take a little time to consider your wedding day timings. Start planning an itinerary – and chat with your hairdresser, your photographer and your caterers to make sure your day will run as smoothly as can be.
I learn something new every day I write the English Wedding Blog, I really do! I read a lot of photographers’ own blogs, and one of the very best (I have a secret top 5!) is Lake District wedding photographer Tiree Dawson‘s. This is probably her second-best blog post: read it and you’ll learn a few things about wedding timings too! (Tiree’s best blog post is here – be warned, it will have you on the edge of your seat)
So here are 5 pieces of advice from Tiree to really get you thinking. How to decide what time of day to get married. How long a registrar will wait for a late bride, and why she or he might have to. When to do speeches. And why an itinerary is just as important as a little flexibility and allowing for plenty of ‘slippage’ in your wedding timings!
Nail your wedding timings – by wedding photographer Tiree Dawson
1. Think carefully about your ceremony time
Consider what season you are getting married in, and how this will affect the amount of natural light. If you’re going for a 4.30pm ceremony in December, you simply won’t get any natural light shots of you both in the grounds or on the lakeside afterwards – it gets dark around 4.00pm – which can be all too easily forgotten during the long summer days!
Think about what is important to you as a couple. A later ceremony will mean a more relaxed, pampered morning and more time for detail shots and portraits of both the bride and groom and attendants.
An earlier ceremony can mean more time in the afternoon for informal shots of your guests, group shots and portraits of you both together, perhaps in a number of different locations outside of the immediate venue.
2. Be generous with your timings
On your wedding day, pretty much everything will take longer than you imagine. Nervous fingers struggle to lace up dresses and buckle up shoes. Table plans need tweaking at the last minute. Even walking across a room can take half an hour, wading through the happy guests eager to congratulate you. Factor in plenty of slippage time to ensure everything stays relaxed.
3. Don’t be TOO late!
I often hear brides joke “well, they’re not going to start without me!”. This is true, of course, but it’s also worth remembering that, in peak seasons, registrars and churches usually have more than one ceremony per day – sometimes even several. Yes, they will wait for you, but not past the time it risks impacting on their next couple!
4. When to speak?
The timing of speeches can be a really tricky choice. Go traditional and have them after the meal and you have the benefit of a full, happy, tipsy audience. On the downside, it can be a long wait for a nervous speaker, and your beautifully laid tables will be covered in cafetieres, scrumpled napkins, half-drunk wine, brightly coloured gifts and Tommee Tippee cups. You can bet THEY weren’t on your Pinterest board! Personally I would go for speeches before the meal, but in careful consultation with the venue and speakers, to ensure that people don’t go overrun their timings and cause problems for the caterers.
5. Be organised yet flexible
There’s no doubt that it’s a good idea to have a detailed itinerary and to make sure key people (including all suppliers) have a copy of it. Equally, however, it’s important to delegate the watching of the clock to others to allow you to fully enjoy your day. Being flexible with timings, where possible, will enable your photographer to make the most of the light when it’s at it’s best. You should be able to trust an experienced photographer, knowing that they will constantly be liaising with all the other suppliers on the day – to find out what is and isn’t possible – and follow their lead. Grabbing even 5-10 minutes to get outside in perfect light can give you shots you will treasure forever.
Discover (and book!) Tiree Dawson Photography for yourself: