DIY Wedding Forum

Need help with short reception timeline

astropghel1astropghel1 member
edited July 2017 in DIY Wedding Forum
So, my wedding is way on a budget, so I was only able to get 4 hours of professional photography. I need some help planning my reception timeline to get all the important stuff photographed. I am having a friend who plays around with photography cover getting ready and after the photographer leaves. 
I am having a fairly short ceremony with a cocktail hour in between to do posed photos.
My meal is buffet style. So I want to try to cover first dance/parents dance, toasts, and cake. I do not think we will be having a bouquet toss, etc. I don't want to make everyone wait to eat while we crank out everything. Suggestions please!

Re: Need help with short reception timeline

  • SP29SP29 member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Sorry, long response...

    I think you will be fine with 4 hrs.

    Honestly think about what kind of photos you want- would you put X photos in an album or print them to hang in your home?

    X photos that come to mind are getting ready photos and dance photos.

    I did have a couple of "getting ready" shots, but we were all already ready. One is of my Mom putting on lipstick in the mirror, another is of my shoes under the dress. But these photos could be taken at anytime. Photos at the dance portion (if you are having dancing) are not going to be the "greatest"- it is generally dark with various coloured lights from the DJ, lots of people packing the floor and moving. Not that you couldn't get some fun candid shots, but people dancing in a dark room with green strobe lights aren't what I think of when paying thousands of dollars for professional photos. I think you can hope for some good guest photos for this section. (You can't ask people to take photos for you, but if you have some guests to happen to be taking photos, you can ask if they wouldn't mind sharing them with you afterwards).

    I would have the photographer come for about half an hour either before you leave for the ceremony, or at the ceremony site prior (with you and FH kept separate, if that is your plan) to do separate bridal party and family photos (30mins FH's side, 30 mins your side). The ceremony is your big priority (how long is that?). And then your cocktail hour is where you will do the majority of your posed photos. Create a list of all the shots you want (i.e. Bride + Mom, Bride + Mom + Brothers) and have someone who is directing the list "Mom, you're up next". The group family and WP shots will go by quick this way. Your photographer should also know where they want to take photos. Then you can do the shots of you and your FH. All of this should be able to be done in an hour. Then any additional time can be given to your first dance or venue pics.

    We had our photog for 6 hours and it was more than enough time. We did some WP photos prior to leaving for the ceremony, our ceremony of course, then posed photos during the cocktail hour. We did our First Dance as part of our entrance to the room before dinner, partially because it seemed a neat way to enter, and partially because we got it out of the way and the photog was there for that part. During dinner our photog took some photos of decor, food and our rings. Beyond that, I didn't feel we needed a professional photographer.

    Just to add- we had hundreds of photos taken. Out of those hundreds, there are about 20-30 that we LOVE and have either put into a photo album or gotten printed. Sure, you need some variety to find those "love" photos, but you don't need hours to achieve these photos- focus on the important events, and know what you really want beforehand. We had some extra time during our cocktail hour, so our photog started thinking up different ideas and poses we could do, but really, they weren't the photos that we gushed over.
  • Sample Timeline (assumptions: non-Catholic mass ceremony, ceremony/reception close by, have an organized photographer with a list of shots and can do that in less than 1 hour, not a large guest list as buffets can take a while to get people through, toasts are 1-2 max at 1-2 minutes each ... with this you might be able to squeeze 30 minutes of pre-ceremony photography)

    5pm ceremony

    530pm cocktails begin (and you do photos)

    630pm dinner (toasts just before and just after dinner)

    800pm first dances

    830pm cake cutting

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