I know you have a lot of factors to consider when choosing your wedding day locations and/or timeline; many of which are out of your control. However I thought I’d weigh in on some relatively minor choices that may have a large impact on your overall wedding day.

Depending on your venue’s popularity and/or wedding date, you may not have a choice on these items but if you do, I’d like to extend the following 3 tips to maximize your enjoyment, wedding budget, and corresponding video coverage 🙂

1) Have a late ceremony start time. Unless you’re having a brunch wedding reception or destination wedding, having a mid day or early afternoon ceremony will not only make things more difficult on your guests (to find entertainment between events and coordinate their transportation logistics) but it will also likely make things more expensive for the following vendors: photography, planning, and videography. The reason it winds up being more expensive on our side (and likely similar with other 2 vendors mentioned) is that it requires packages with longer coverage hours.  We generally recommend starting coverage at least 2.5 hours before your ceremony start time and continuing coverage at least 1 hour after your formal reception events conclude. With an earlier ceremony start there will be a much longer time window to fill in order to do this. Whereas if you have a late afternoon or early evening ceremony start time, you can accomplish all of the same content/coverage in much less time.

2) Have a “first look.”  I know this is potentially more of a personal decision for you than a logistical one but if you’re on the fence about it or do not have a preference either way, I would strongly recommend it.  In case you’re not familiar with the term, a “first look” is a moment setup by your photographer/videographer where the bride and groom see each other for the first time BEFORE their ceremony.  Having this moment allows the photography/video session with your bridal party to happen prior to your ceremony instead of afterwards which allows you to go straight from your ceremony to the reception (and be a part of your guests’ cocktail hour).  It provides the added bonus of being a rare opportunity for your photographer/videographer with just the two of you which often results in capturing the photos/video that often makes the cover page of your wedding album or your wedding film trailer 🙂

3) Don’t cut the prep.  An alternative to above suggestions may be to just skip having photo/video coverage of your “getting ready” or “photo” coverage completely.  However, this is NOT recommended as its usually a very rare moment in your life when you’ll have your closest family and friends all in one private location and you’ll want to be able to relive those memories in photo/video.  Its also a great opportunity for photo/video to capture unique shots that likely won’t be possible later in the day (i.e. of your rings, your dress before its put on, exchange of gifts…)  And if you’re having a planner/day of coordinator, the prep coverage is a perfect opportunity for your family/bridal party to get to know that person and gain trust in them to be able to handle questions/issues going forward.

If you choose wisely for each of above before your wedding day you (and your guests) will be able to enjoy your wedding day stress free and all your chosen vendors will be able to focus on their jobs and maximize your corresponding booked packages.

Of course each couple and wedding day is different so rest assured that all good wedding vendors can adjust their services if all else fails.  I would love to chat further with you about your wedding day timeline so please contact us today!

-John Severson, Smiling Toad Productions

Other sources/suggested reading:

Wedding Bee – Why did you choose your Ceremony time?

The Knot – Top 20 Wedding Photography Mistakes

Huffington Post – 10 First Looks you don’t want to miss