4 Tips to Save Time on Your Wedding Day
Wedding days can be LONG – as the one vendor who arrives while you are getting ready in the morning and doesn’t leave until after you leave, we, as wedding photographers, probably know this more than most!
As you start to plan out your special day, you might soon realize just how long that day becomes.
If the Wedding Photography Collection you purchased comes with a limited number of hours, you might be debating whether it’s worth it to add on more time with your photographers, or if there are things you can cut from your wedding day timeline to make it work with the number of hours you’ve purchased.
While this decision is entirely personal and might be based on a number of other factors, we’ve put together a couple of sneaky tips and tricks to help save you time on your wedding day!
1) Streamline & Prioritize the Getting Ready Photos
What moments during your getting ready process do you want captured? On the wedding day, our wedding photography studio tends to photograph ANYTHING and EVERYTHING as it unfolds. But when pinched for time – are there unique and specific moments you’d like to prioritize over others?
If considering cutting back hours, we encourage our brides to prioritize and focus on the moments that matter the most to them.
The wedding day is a combination of stylized portraiture (both candid & posed in nature) as well as unique and special moments that tell the story of your day. Our advice is to prioritize the key portraits and moments that are the most important to you, and to cut back mercilessly on the lackluster moments that may be devoid of emotion or meaning. These are incredibly personal decisions to make – and decisions that only you have to be happy with at the end of the day.
2) Limit the number of Wedding Day Locations
Another factor to consider in shrinking back a photography timeline is to reduce the number of locations used on a wedding day. With fewer locations, come fewer opportunities to travel and fewer opportunities to get stuck in traffic. Every time a new location is used, time is required to break down and pack up gear, lug said gear into a vehicle, drive to the next location and maybe get stuck in traffic along the way, get to the next location, find a parking spot/ pay to park, unpack said gear, and get gear set up and established before photos can be taken again.
By limiting the number of locations used on your wedding day, the less time will be spent in travel & re-establishing gear again.
Fewer locations = less travel time & more photo time!
3) Group reception activities together
There are two ways to schedule your reception events (ie: first dances, cake cutting, toasts, bouquet/ garter toss, etc) – You can spread them out throughout the evening or schedule them back to back.
This decision might very well depend on the amount of time you have allotted for this portion of the day. After cocktail hour (1 hour) & dinner (1 hour) is done, how much actual reception time do you have left?
If you have 3 or 4+ hours left after cocktail hour & dinner, you have a longer reception! Spreading out your events throughout the evening is a nice way to break up your time. Rather than having 4+ hours of endless dancing, you have an event to look forward to every hour or so.
On the other hand, if you have 1-2 hours left after cocktail hour & dinner is said and done, spreading out your events throughout this 2 hour window will result in a break every 10-30 minutes. You’ll have just enough time to start a conversation with a friend before being whisked away for the next event.
If you find yourself with 1-2 hours left for your reception, we highly recommend scheduling your events back to back (where it makes sense). This ensures you’ll have at least an hour – hour and a half of uninterrupted dancing time, and uninterrupted time to mingle with the family and friends who came to your wedding.
Examples of grouping like events together would mean that your first dance, father-daughter dance, and mother-son dance happen back to back. If you held off until scheduling these dances for after dinner, you could also add in the cake cutting & toasts immediately after. As an added bonus, you & your guests would also get to eat dinner immediately after cocktail hour.
4) Stage an early send off/ No send off
The last tip we have for you to save time on your wedding day is to stage an early send off or go without one.
If you don’t care much for send off photos, you can cut your photographers’ coverage at some point during the evening once enough reception photos have been covered.
If you would prefer to have these send off photos, you also have the option of staging a send off earlier in the evening.
During a typical reception, the crowd tend to thin out as families and elderly guests start to leave. Staging an early send off will often act as a cue for these people to leave at that time, leaving the fun party animals behind to dance the night away!
If you have a smaller guest count to begin with (less than 100), staging an early send off will ensure there are more people to see you go & you’ll have send off photos with the majority of your guests.
At the end of the day, you always have the option to add on more time with your wedding photographers. However, if you would like to stay within your purchased number of hours, you have several options available to you if you’re looking to save time on your wedding day.
- You can streamline & prioritize the photos taken during the getting ready portion of the day.
- You can limit the number of locations to reduce travel time.
- You can schedule your reception events back to back.
- You can stage an early send off, or cut it all together.
I hope these tips and tricks help!