Getting Ready vs. Reception Time | Wedding Tip Tuesday

Prep vs. Reception wedding timeline
Prep vs. Reception wedding timeline

I'm continuing the Wedding Tip Tuesday blog series with talking about creating a wedding timeline that works for you! Some people like to have more time for prep photos and some like to have more reception time. I'm going to talk about the questions you should be asking yourself to determine how much time you need, so you can make educated decisions and create a wedding timeline that works for you :)

Getting Ready

This is the time where I capture all the details like your shoes, dress, jewelry, invitations, etc. We'll do some hair and make up touch ups photos, hanging out with the family and friends, putting on the dress/suit and some portraits. I love this time because you can see the excitement and nerves start to build! The details are so important to capture because these are the little pieces that are part of telling the story of the day.

Getting ready photo for a wedding day timeline.
Getting ready photo for a wedding day timeline.

Reception

This is where the party starts and keeps going all night long! We do your grand entrance, first dance and parent dances, dinner, cake cutting, garter and bouquet toss, etc. You may do some of these and you may do all of these, either way you need to know what you are doing and what you want photographed. Receptions are a lot of fun because you get to have fun with all your guests and crazy photos of people getting down on the dance floor :)

Fun reception for a wedding timeline
Fun reception for a wedding timeline

How much should I allocate for our wedding timeline?

In an 8 hour wedding timeline I typically allot at least 1 hour for the prep photos and about 2.5-3 hours for the reception. Receptions there is more time to account for dinner, which can take up to an hour. Deciding where to put your time all depends on what type of people you are. Here are some tips that can help you in deciding how much time to allocate to these two areas.

Getting Ready

#1 Do you have lots of details? If you have lots of details like jewelry, shoes, accessories, etc. and you spend a pretty penny on them you want to make sure there is enough time to capture them! On the other hand if you have limited details then you probably don't need as much time to dedicate to them.

#2 Are there lots of family and wedding party members getting ready with you? If your entourage is getting ready with you and you guys all have matching robes or shirts then we'll want to have a little more time to get all those details and we have to make sure everyone is ready for them as well.

#3 Is your dress a zip up or corset with buttons? If it is then we'll definitely need time here. If you have a complicated dress I highly recommend practicing putting it on and have a dedicated person that knows how to do it and remember all those details? You also have to include time to put them all on :)

If you answered yes to all of the above questions then you might want to add an additional half hour to your getting ready time, if you answered yes to 2 out of the 3 then an hour should be good for you. But if you are unsure it is always better to have more time than less!

Bride getting ready during her wedding timeline
Bride getting ready during her wedding timeline

Reception

#1 How many guests are you having? If you have 200 people at your wedding then you have to take into account the amount of time it is going to take them all to eat. Also the type of food you are serving can make a difference. If you are having a 1 line buffet for 200 it is going to take even more time. To cut down on that time see if you can do 2 or 3 lines of the buffet to make it go faster.

#2 Are you doing the traditional events? When coordinating with the DJ about what events you want to have during your reception make sure to have them finish before the photographer ends to ensure you get photos of everything.

#3 Do you guys hit the dance floor and never get off? If your dance floor is always going to be packed with the party people then you're going to have lots of crazy dancing photos of your guests and there is always something to photograph. If you guys are more of a relaxed type then you probably won't need as much time because once we get photos of the guests hanging out it can sometimes feel like the paparazzi snapping photos of the same guests.

#4 Are you doing a money dance? This is a traditional event where your guest give you money and get the chance to dance with you. These can take up a lot of time depending on the amount of guests. If you are short on time consider having the money dance after the photographer leaves to free up some extra time.

These are all things to consider when determining the amount of reception time you need.

First dance at during a wedding timeline.
First dance at during a wedding timeline.

I hope these tips helped you in determining how much time you want and need for your getting ready photos and reception! Please comment with any questions you have :)

XOXO

Brooke