Your wedding day bridal portraits cannot be left to chance, it requires advanced planning.

Ask any bride and she'll tell you someone tampered with the clock on her wedding day. While we all get the same 24 hours in a day, time just seems to zoom by on your wedding day from the time you wake up till the last dance. But I assure you, and deep down you know it is the same 24 hours. So how do you enjoy your very special day to the fullest? And still manage to get those special images that you will share with your grandchildren? Glad you asked. We're going to make this simple by focusing on the pre-ceremony part of your day and why.

Before we go further, can we just agree that next to the groom, images from your spectacular day rank high on the list and should not be left to chance? Those images are the only memories that will outlast that perfect dress you searched high and low to find, so it stands to reason that we need to involve your photographer early on in the timeline planning. To ensure those images are created, follow these simple 3 steps and you'll go from nice to oh-my-gosh!

  1. Your planner.
    1. An experienced planner will develop a timeline and allocate time for your bridal portrait, but just in case bridal portrait is not a line item on the list, we're going to include it.
    2. This process should start as early as possible and your planner will tell you it is not etched in stone until possibly the week of your wedding.
  2. Hair and makeup.
    1. Ask your hair makeup artist how long it will take to transform you to the queen that you are. Adjust the timeline to reflect the appropriate makeup time.
    2. Be sure you have a dedicated makeup artist just for yourself and another for the girls. Most creatives have partners and will gladly work as a team. At approximately 45 minutes per makeup, imagine how long it will take to transform your 5 bff's.
  3. Photography.
    1. Your photographer would love, love, love you if you could allow 45 minutes for portraits but we're realistic, we know it doesn't always work that way.
    2. Work with your photographer to determine the ideal time for your bridal portraits depending on your wedding style.
    3. Armed with that info, connect your photographer to the planner. Most of us will take the initiative to contact the planner since we're both on your dream team, but just in case the two are not communicating, introduce one to the other and they'll work out the fine details and share the result with you. After all, it's your wedding.

You simply cannot go wrong with pre-wedding portraits whether that's with a first look (my recommendation) or a bride only vs groom only session (depending on your culture and beliefs). This increases the chance of getting spectacular portraits while your makeup is still fresh and the butterflies are still at bay.

Bonus tip:

  1. Allow time for additional bride and groom only portrait during the cocktail hour. You are now Mr. & Mrs., you'll want to commemorate that with your very first official photo. Can you just 'picture' the stories you will be able tell your grandchildren about the day you got married to grandpa? If you have an evening ceremony, the light should be awesome by the cocktail hour and that's even better.

This is just a template for the first part of the day, as in, before the ceremony. I have decided to leave the timeline for the remainder of the day from the ceremony through last dance out of this template since each wedding typically follows the couple's tradition and should be customized. Here's why. While a typical western ceremony may take one hour from beginning to the end, the 'thanksgiving' section of a typical African ceremony alone is close to 30 minutes of praise worship singing and dancing allowing the proud parents to give a prelude of what the reception dancing will look like.

If you need help with coming up with a workable timeline, I'd love to help. If you like what you're read please consider sharing it.

xoxo Ronnie