As an aid in helping with the planning of your day, below is an idea of what I photograph on a full 12 hour wedding day and roughly how long you should leave.
All weddings are different, the wording below is written for a Bride and Groom, but I am sure if you are having a Bride and Bride or a Groom and Groom you will be able to figure it out. Most of our coverage's last for 10+hours, this should give you a rough idea of how much time to leave. The general rule is the more time you leave the more fun and relaxed your day will be.
Preparations ... I go to the Groom around 3 hours before the ceremony where I spend about a 1 hour photographing details and dressing. I then go to the Bride around 2 hours before they are due to leave for the ceremony, if there is a long drive to church please take that into consideration. If you would like lingerie shots, you need to be ready in lingerie, veil and dressing gown when I arrive. If not I recommend you do not get fully dressed before I arrive as photos of brides maids helping you into your dress, doing up buttons etc really enhance your coverage (and hence your memories). At this location I try to photograph you, bridesmaids individuals, you and parents, you and dog... Whatever I can. I then leave for the ceremony 15 minutes before you.
Ceremony location ... I will arrive at this location at lease 15 minutes before the Bride where I will photograph the Groom, Grooms men, Groom and parents etc. (Please make sure the Groom is at the ceremony location at least 20 minutes prior to ceremony) I then meet the Bride at the car as she arrives, a couple of quick shots and then she is walking down the isle. I photograph your ceremony discreetly so as not to disturb your guests or the flow of the event.
When the ceremony is over you will be left for around 5 - 10 minutes (depending on time you have left and the weather) to get kissed and confettified by your guests.
Family photo’s ... (Allow 30 minutes)
Listed below are the general ones I do but we can always add to them. Some people love family photo’s others hate them, it’s up to you how many different combinations I do.
B&G + B parents, B&G + G parents, B&G + both sets of parents
B&G + B family, B&G + G family, B&G + grandparents
Location Photography ... (allow at least 1 ½ hours plus travel time)
Please remember the location photography is Bridal party only... I need 100% of your attention and time is generally quite limited. With location photography I generally do one main location (where we like you to bring drinks and something to eat, this often is the first time the bride has relaxed all day.) And then we do several minor locations.(arrive quickly do a dozen shots and move to the next location) The more time you leave, the more relaxed your day will be.
Reception ... The images that I take here are quite candid (no I do not set up shots of each table). Please remember that a coverage is often 10 + hours and I do require a meal at the reception. I cover the reception pretty much as it happens leaving you to enjoy the event, but always happy to cater for any requests you have. The reception coverage includes cake cutting, speeches, garter toss, bouquet toss, night shoot, general dancing, bridal first dance, farewells (ie sparkler)
Time summary example... (for say 3pm local ceremony)
Photographer arrives at grooms house at 12.00 noon
Photographer arrives at brides house at 1.00 pm
Photographer leaves at 2.40pm (presuming ceremony is 5 mins away)
Bride arrives at church at 3.10pm (fashionably late)
Ceremony and family photos finished at 4.15 pm
Get to location at 4.30pm (take into consideration the time it takes to get bridal party into cars and travel)
Bridal party get to reception at 6.15pm (as above. Remember 1 ½ hours photography time does not include travel and getting people into cars)
Bride and groom will generally be introduced at 7ish (when guests are seated and bridal party have freshened up.)
Remember this is a rough guide, all weddings are different.