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Etiquette

Wedding timeline for an early afternoon wedding and no first look

Doing this again because it was ignored in the photo section.  I'm struggling to figure out what to do.  Almost everything I Googled were for a wedding that occurs late in the day and with a first look.  My wedding is after 130pm (it's a Catholic wedding, thus not able to have a later time) and cocktail hour officially starts at 3pm.  We booked our photographer for 8 hours and might have to add extra time to make sure everything we want to cover is covered (we're not using a videographer).  Can you please help?
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Re: Wedding timeline for an early afternoon wedding and no first look

  • Take your pictures after the ceremony until 4pm, when your cocktail hour ends.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Not doing a first look doesn't mean having no photos before the ceremony.  Ask your photographer to take pictures of each of you individually, and with your parents and attendants, prior to the ceremony.  Your timeline might look like:
    11:30 to 12:30 - Pictures of bride, bride's family, bridesmaids at bride's getting ready location (I put an hour with the bride because some want both getting ready pictures and posed pictures.)
    12:45 to 1:15 - Pictures of groom, groom's family, groomsmen at church
    2:30 to 3:45 - Post-ceremony pictures of everyone at church
    4:00 - Begin pictures at reception

    This would let you have about 3.5 hours of reception pictures, which should be enough time to capture the begin moments - entrance, spotlight dances, toasts, cake cutting, etc. - and some candid shots.
    image
    Anniversary


    holyguacamole79chibiyuidoeydoindianaalum
  • I was big into photography for our wedding, but take it from you... you do not need all those Pinterest inspired photos. It really doesn't take that long, you should be able to do it during cocktail hour with no problem. You don't need pictures of you getting your makeup done, so I'd have the photographer come right as you're stepping into your dress. 

    Make a really good list of every combination of people you want. Do whatever doesn't include BOTH you and you new husband prior to the ceremony, this will help cut down a lot of time. 
  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    We had a Catholic wedding at 2:00.  We didn't do a first look, either.  Before the wedding, we had pics of me & Bridal Party, me & family, DH & groomsmen, DH & family.  After Mass, we had the rest of the pics that included us together.  It worked out fine.  :)
    indianaalum
  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    I was big into photography for our wedding, but take it from you... you do not need all those Pinterest inspired photos. It really doesn't take that long, you should be able to do it during cocktail hour with no problem. You don't need pictures of you getting your makeup done, so I'd have the photographer come right as you're stepping into your dress. 

    Make a really good list of every combination of people you want. Do whatever doesn't include BOTH you and you new husband prior to the ceremony, this will help cut down a lot of time. 
    Ditto to this - our photog showed up at 12:30 for our 2:00 wedding.
  • This is what I came up with for 9 hours (like I stated on the original post, I book for 8 hours but we're thinking of extending it to 9) on my end.

    10:45:  detail pics 
    11:15:  makeup and bonding with BMs
    11:45:  putting on the dress
    12:00:  portraits with parents
    12:30:  portraits with BMs at a covered bridge on the way to the church
    1:00:  travel time to church
    1:15:  arrive at the church 
    1:30:  ceremony begins, at that point I'll see my fiance
    2:15 or 2:30:  ceremony ends, formals at church (guests will travel to the reception)
    2:45:  bridal party pics at a carnival 
    3:00:  cocktail officially begins for guests (if they arrive early, they will have some light refreshments)
    3:15:  solo B&G pics at the carnival and canal 
    4:15:  intros/first dance/parent dances
    4:30-8:00:  rest of the reception (dinner/cake/dancing/bouquet and garter tosses)
    8:05:  sunset send off (official sunset time is actually 830)
    8:10-8:15:  final pics at the carnival before ending the 9 hours.  

    Total:  9 hours

    But I feel the earlier parts is not enough time.  
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey
    Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member

    Ditto sarahbear.  We had a Catholic wedding mass, no first look, and 8 hours of coverage.  We had the photographer from 3 to 11.  She left the reception with 1 hour left to go, but we had all of the standard events of a reception scheduled prior to 11.  I also knew many of my guests would not stay till midnight since many of them were older.

    Our ceremony started at 5.  Our photographer requested that the BMs be dressed and ready, and me with my hair & makeup done already.  I also had a 2nd shooter, so the 2nd shooter was at my MILs house with H and the GM for pics and the main photog was with me and the BMs.  We did as many pictures as we could before the ceremony.  We skipped a receiving line and went right into pics of H & I on the church grounds (we did table visits instead).  We also made the last 15 minutes of our cocktail hour.

    BeeRod82
  • Also, we have 2 photographers so the 2nd shooter will be with my fiance and the groomsmen.  And my hair will be ready prior of my photographer showing up.  The makeup part will already be in progress when she's shooting detail shots.  

    I'm just a little annoyed by photographers pushing for first looks when not all weddings start at 4pm.  Yes, I would love to have golden hour pics but it is what it is.  We want our last pic being us riding off into he sunset in a convertible.  
  • Which leads to my next question: is the makeup shots necessary? I'm letting my BMs get ready on their own as long as they're at the house by 1115. I def. want the detail shots (something blue shoes, Mrs. hanger, the dress of course). The good thing is almost everything is within 5 miles from each other.
  • BeeRod82 said:
    This is what I came up with for 9 hours (like I stated on the original post, I book for 8 hours but we're thinking of extending it to 9) on my end.

    10:45:  detail pics 
    11:15:  makeup and bonding with BMs
    11:45:  putting on the dress
    12:00:  portraits with parents
    12:30:  portraits with BMs at a covered bridge on the way to the church
    1:00:  travel time to church
    1:15:  arrive at the church 
    1:30:  ceremony begins, at that point I'll see my fiance
    2:15 or 2:30:  ceremony ends, formals at church (guests will travel to the reception)
    2:45:  bridal party pics at a carnival 
    3:00:  cocktail officially begins for guests (if they arrive early, they will have some light refreshments)
    3:15:  solo B&G pics at the carnival and canal 
    4:15:  intros/first dance/parent dances
    4:30-8:00:  rest of the reception (dinner/cake/dancing/bouquet and garter tosses)
    8:05:  sunset send off (official sunset time is actually 830)
    8:10-8:15:  final pics at the carnival before ending the 9 hours.  

    Total:  9 hours

    But I feel the earlier parts is not enough time.  

    You will probably not care much about these photos in a couple of years.  IMO I wouldn't be hanging pictures of me with my face half on all over my house.  To help you out (a bit) this is the timeline our photog followed at our wedding on Saturday:

    9:00AM arrive at wedding location and take all detail shots (dresses hanging, flowers, the room, etc)

    9:15AM begin photos of groom alone, groom with groomsmen, groom with family etc

    10:00AM Bride finally arrived..take photos of bride putting on dress, bride photos, bride with brideamaids and bride with family.

    11:00-11:15AM Some hanging out, goofing around photos before ceremony started.

    11:30AM Ceremony

    11:45AM Exiting ceremony, photos with rented horse and carriage.

    12:00PM Bride and Groom solo picures (so WP/Family could get a bite to eat and a drink)

    12:30PM Bride and Groom with WP and Family

    1:00PM Reception Started

    5:00PM Photog leaves with 8 hours of photos!

  • SP29SP29
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    8 hours should be plenty! 

    We had mainly one photographer (6 hours), and a second shooter for 2 hours. 

    The ceremony was at 3:30pm, we left my mom's house just before 3 to get there.

    The main photog. came to my mom's at 2:00 pm to do group shoots with me and my bridesmaids, me and my parents. The second shooter went to my dad's to take picture of DH and his groomsmen. Had 2 photogs. for the ceremony. Main photog. did our large family, WP and individual photos at cocktail hour. Second shooter did some pics with guests during cocktail hour. Then the reception- photographer left shortly after the dance started. 
  • You could always get the photos of you getting around from a friend. My sister is a photographer so she will probably be doing all the detail shots and etc but then our photographer will get there after I'm dressed to take the posed shots. Like my sisters wedding, I will do many of my bridesmaids photos and family before, then my fiancee will do his. 

    If you want certain pictures and certain times I would give them to the photographer so they have an idea of what you want. 
  • melbensomelbenso Hoth, apparently
    500 Love Its 500 Comments Third Anniversary First Answer
    member
    We didn't do a first look.  Our photographer arrived an hour and 45 minutes before our ceremony.  After setting up, she did some getting ready photos and photos of the separate sides of the wedding party until about 30 minutes before our ceremony was scheduled to start.  She took some brief photos of our rings, my flowers, the reception set up (since all one location) and the ceremony set up while guests were arriving.

    Even with that, she didn't stay until the end of the reception.  After the cake cutting and spotlight dances, she took some pictures of guests sitting at tables and a bunch of pictures of people dancing.  About an hour into the general reception/dancing part, I let her know that she could go if she wanted to.  I think she was planning on leaving anyway.  We had more than 100 pictures of us and our guests dancing during the general reception.  We didn't really need more.

    I think that she was there for about 7 hours total.  So even if there is some travel time to your venue from the church, 8 hours should be sufficient unless there was something specific later in the reception you were hoping the photographer would capture.
    image
  • Agree with PP. The photog needs to show up at the earliest 15 minutes before you step into your dress. That's what we did, and he stayed for 8 hours, and still delivered over 7200 pics.

    Seven. Thousand. Two hundred. Pictures. You do not want this. You do not want to wade through literally thousands of pictures you had him take in the fear that something "might be missed." It is unbearably time consuming.

    The best thing you can do is make a comprehensive list of photos you want your photog to get. Then stop worrying about the timing. They will figure out when the right time is to take them. But you also want to make sure you leave time for them to get the great unpredictable moments.

    Don't overdo it, and think about what you will actually want in your wedding album. Is it going to be stoic pictures of the bridal party lined up like prom shots, or is it going to be pictures of people actually enjoying themselves during your cocktail hour and reception? No judgment on either end. Just make those decisions now. It will help you save time and sanity later.
    [Deleted User]
  • Thanks everyone with your suggestions.  I really hate having a wedding ceremony early but have to because Mass starts at 4pm.  I'm also annoyed how most photographers really push you to do the first look.  Personally, I wouldn't mind it but my fiance is so dead against it.  Even suggesting to do it through a door was a challenge.  And most photographers say that pics looks better at night.  Sadly, I don't have that luxury.  

    Anyway, I could care less for portraits with bridal party because I'm already spending time with them prior of the ceremony.  All I care about is taking pictures with my future husband.  There's two major places we want to take pictures:  the place he proposed and at the local fair.  Both are within blocks from each other.  

    I can also do the exit at the church instead of waiting until the very end of the reception.  I said something like that but one of the women here said it was bad on another thread (and personally attacked me for it).  I want to make sure everything falls into place.  That's why I asked here.


  • Good thing it's a block away (we recently changed venues so the reception is closer to the church and avoid a long gap). In fact, I asked my guests to park at the reception because of church goers need it for Mass later (unless they are elderly guests, which they can park directly behind the church). I think I'm going to change the cocktail hour start time to 2:45 in case the ceremony ends at 2:30. Sometimes Catholic weddings last up to an hour. We're planning give some light refreshments and cookies before opening up the room for cocktails. And yeah we're planning to take pics. Sadly that includes the traditional church portraits and the church send-off pic. After that, it's pics at the canal (across from the reception) and the park where the carnival is held (3-minute drive from the church and reception). No matter what, we're planning a 75-90 minute cocktail "hour".
  • An hour and a half for cocktail hour is fine. Especially at a Catholic wedding. If your guests have been to Catholic weddings before (and I'm guessing many of them have) they will be thrilled they don't have to suffer through a long gap. Add to that a hosted hour and a half of drinks and apps? Beautiful.

    As for the fact that it's called "cocktail hour," it always bothers me when people take that too literally. (Never heard of anyone complaining about a two hour "happy hour...") Often as a wedding guest, I feel like I'm being rushed along to the next event, and I like to take my time to drink and chat with people who might not be seated at my table. Sometimes it takes twenty minutes to even get to the bar!

    As long as there's a seat for everyone, honestly, who cares about an extra half hour?
  • I wouldn't have a problem with a 90 minute cocktail hour if the bride and groom (the people I'm there to celebrate) were mingling with us and other guests.  But to put your photos ahead of celebrating with your friends and family just seems wrong to me. 

    Take engagement photos at that second location and just stick with basic photos at your venue for after the wedding.
  • A first look is a personal choice. That said I had my first look way before any of my guests arrived.
    Keep in mind I had my ceremony and reception in the same place.
    10 am arrive at venue
    10:15 bonding photos
    10:30 men putting on bow ties ect
    10:30 ladies doing our make up/ hair
    11:00 requested shot of center pice ( for cut out in the cover of my album)
    11:15 getting into dress
    11:30 first look and bridle party
    Noon ( food break for all )
    12:30 family photos
    1:00 ceremony
    1:30 ( I am Protestant)- candid photos of everyone
    2:30 cake photos & dancing
    4:00 bride and groom exit in antique Car

    Hope this time line of photos helps a little.
    Some took a lot less time than I thought others seemed to take forever. I had a flexible photographer with an assistant/ second shooter.
    BeeRod82
  • BeeRod82BeeRod82
    10 Comments Name Dropper
    member
    edited August 2014
    But just a simple question @Martha1818, how long were the ceremony-to-cocktails gap?  At my sister's wedding last month, there was a 90-minute gap after their 75-minute Catholic wedding (full mass, may I add), which includes a 30-minute commute time, and 60-minutes to wait before cocktails began.  During the time, there's plenty of lemonade and cookies in the lobby for people waiting for cocktails to start.  Then there was a 90-minute cocktail hour with plenty of food.  Personally, I didn't mind the extended cocktail hour as I was able to catch up with my family.  Plus my sister and brother in law joined us during cocktails after their pictures were done.  By the time we've reached the reception room, I wasn't hungry at all because I was so full from cocktails.  

    Maybe it's a regional thing.  I'm not trying to cause any trouble.  That's why we decided to shrink the ceremony-to-cocktails gap to only 30 minutes or less, in case our ceremony goes longer than we thought.  Plus we want to make it to the last part of cocktail hour and say hi to our guests before intros.
  • I didn't say I've giving my guests only lemonade and cookies during cocktail hour.  I said I'm giving it the guests before CH opens.  We're giving our guests plenty of hot food during cocktail hour

    Can we go back on topic?  All I want to figure out is how to schedule 8 hours pics (or 9) without a first look during the daytime.
  • Cocktail hour should really be an hour. Regardless of whatever is offered - whether it's lemonade and cookies, or martinis and crab cakes - that's all considered cocktail hour. It's not just the hour for which cocktails are flowing.

    I would skip the getting ready pictures and have your photographer show up for the final zipping into your dress, putting on earrings, etc. These shots can even be staged, not happening in real time. You and your friends can take your own snapshots while you hang out - they'll be more genuine that way anyway, not staged, phony smiles.

    Also, I don't understand wanting to say hi to guests BEFORE introductions. Why would you get there, walk around and talk for a while, then leave and make a big introduction? Intros are normally done as your grand entrance.

    11:30 photographer arrives; detail shots and final primping (B&G separate with 2 shooters)
    12:00 photos with parents (B&G separate with 2 shooters)
    12:30 portraits with bridesmaids/groomsmen (B&G separate with 2 shooters)
    1:30 ceremony begins
    2:30 ceremony ends, refreshments available for guests
    2:30-3:30 portraits at church and carnival
    3:30 entrance/intros/cake cutting/mingling
    4:00 dinner served
    4:30 first dance/spotlight dances
    4:45-7:45 open dance floor/bouquet toss/garter toss
    7:45 grand exit
    7:45-8:30 final photos/drive off into the sunset


    image
    image
  • I agree, a 75 minute ceremony, followed by a 30 minute drive, followed by 60 minutes of sitting around eating lemonade and cookies, followed by 90 minutes of apps and alcohol, and I'm beyond ready to head home by the time dinner is served.  You've now had me for 4 hours and 15 minutes before the reception even starts!
    pinkshorts27
  • @lolo883 Thanks for the suggestion. That's all I'm asking: suggestions what I should do without paying for overtime. And an early congrats to your upcoming wedding in 3 weeks! :D
  • BeeRod82BeeRod82
    10 Comments Name Dropper
    member
    edited August 2014
    adk19 said:
    I agree, a 75 minute ceremony, followed by a 30 minute drive, followed by 60 minutes of sitting around eating lemonade and cookies, followed by 90 minutes of apps and alcohol, and I'm beyond ready to head home by the time dinner is served.  You've now had me for 4 hours and 15 minutes before the reception even starts!



    That's not my wedding.  That was my sister's wedding!  In fact, one of my cousins left before dinner because it was getting too late (dinner was served around 11:30pm).  But this thread isn't about my sister's wedding schedule.  All I want is how to schedule with the photographer.
  • BeeRod82 said:
    @lolo883 Thanks for the suggestion. That's all I'm asking: suggestions what I should do without paying for overtime. And an early congrats to your upcoming wedding in 3 weeks! :D
    Thanks! 

    Honestly I think those sunset pictures are what's gonna get you. You won't be able to have getting ready pictures AND sunset pictures with an 8 hour time slot. I would give some serious thought toward how critical that picture is to have professionally done. If you absolutely need those, you could skip getting ready and have them start at 12:30 on my timeline and squeeze all your parent, detail and WP photos into the hour before your ceremony, but that's tight.

    image
    image
  • BeeRod82 said:
    @lolo883 Thanks for the suggestion. That's all I'm asking: suggestions what I should do without paying for overtime. And an early congrats to your upcoming wedding in 3 weeks! :D
    Thanks! 

    Honestly I think those sunset pictures are what's gonna get you. You won't be able to have getting ready pictures AND sunset pictures with an 8 hour time slot. I would give some serious thought toward how critical that picture is to have professionally done. If you absolutely need those, you could skip getting ready and have them start at 12:30 on my timeline and squeeze all your parent, detail and WP photos into the hour before your ceremony, but that's tight.


    No matter what, we're going to cut something.  I'm going to email my photographer and ask what to do, then talk to my fiance to decide which one to cut out.  Once again, thank you.
  • wrigleyvillewrigleyville Chicago
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    member
    It's really easy to fake the getting ready pictures. My photographer took a picture of me holding the tip of the lipstick to my lip and then got a shot of my mom "adjusting" my veil.

    I'd rather have sunset pictures than getting ready shots, but that's just me.

    BeeRod82Peaseblossom55[Deleted User]
  • It's really easy to fake the getting ready pictures. My photographer took a picture of me holding the tip of the lipstick to my lip and then got a shot of my mom "adjusting" my veil.

    I'd rather have sunset pictures than getting ready shots, but that's just me.
    Nice idea.  So the next question is:  should my photographer's start time be 11:30am or 12pm?
  • BeeRod82 said:
    It's really easy to fake the getting ready pictures. My photographer took a picture of me holding the tip of the lipstick to my lip and then got a shot of my mom "adjusting" my veil.

    I'd rather have sunset pictures than getting ready shots, but that's just me.
    Nice idea.  So the next question is:  should my photographer's start time be 11:30am or 12pm?
    If you want the sunset photos, push it as late as you can. And I think you'll still have plenty of time with the getting ready/family/bridal party pics if they start at 12:30. You still have a full hour to get everything done including your travel time, which thankfully isn't that far. Then you will be able to get the sunset pics during your send off, if you really want them.

    Like @wrigleyville said, it's easy to fake the getting ready ones they miss. You are probably going to reapply lipstick, fix your hair, apply your veil, etc. right at the last minute anyway.
    BeeRod82
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