planning a wedding day

Mary Dougherty

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I'm a fine art film photographer living in the mountains and traveling to tell beautiful stories

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I don’t know about you, but planning the schedule of a wedding day is hard work. What time should we finish getting our hair done? When will the flowers arrive? How long do we need for family photos? They questions easily pile up until they overwhelm you and you abandon them to be answered another day. For those of you working with a wedding coordinator, you can sit back and relax as they do the work for you. If you are doing the planning yourself, then read on!

Take a step back and ask yourself some bigger questions before you get down to the details. What’s most important to you on your day? How do you want to experience the day – and how do you want your guests to? I’ve written posts in the past about wedding day schedules, and featured different weddings to show the order of events for that particular day. This time I have something different for you.

Recently I put my first wedding photography guide together for clients. I know, it only took 5 years and the pressure of less time due to a baby for me to get my act together. I’m more productive under pressure, which I think works well with being a wedding photographer. In that guide I made a list of the typical events on a wedding day : bridal party photos, ceremony, cocktail hour… the list focuses around events because that is how I approach them as a photographer. There are average amounts of time that people use as well as spaces to include the time each person would like to devote to each area.

The goal is to break up the day into smaller portions so it’s easier to see where your time is spent and make sure you spend it how you want to. I think it’s safe to say that everyone wants to enjoy their wedding day, but not everyone schedules it so they can do so. If you want to see the list I wrote up take a look here and feel free to download and share. However if you copied it and used it as your own guide that wouldn’t be cool. If you look at the document and think – wait so you’re saying I only need 6 hours for my wedding – that’s not exactly true. All transition times need to be added in between each event. Also, this sheet is just a bare bones version of a wedding day distilled from those I’ve encountered and once clients take a look and see what to expect, we still talk through the day and make sure it flows the way they want. It’s not perfect but maybe with your feedback it will be! You’ll have to let me know what you think!

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