Planning Your Wedding Day with Chelsea Mason Photography

Hi everyone! As I have shot nearly 100 weddings, I have put together a timeline that you should go by when scheduling in your photographer. I have wrote this blog based on bridal feedback and what they would of liked to do differently!  The most popular wedding package is an 8 hour day, which gives you enough time to capture from the moment you wake up until your reception. The suggested times put for each part of the day does not including travelling time between events (if applied).

A typical wedding day is 10:00AM until 8:00PM.
Bridal Prep @ hotel
Groom Prep @ hotel or home
First Look @ bride location
Family Portraits @ ceremony location
Bridal Party & Bride/Groom Portraits @ venue or other location

If you have any questions, suggestions or concerns, please send me an email and we can start looking at your schedule together!

Bridal Preparation:

2 hours minimum. Include longer if wanting hair/makeup covered as well!
I consider the Bridal Preparation to be one of the most important pieces of your wedding day!  I would suggest setting aside at least two hours for photography during your bridal preparation as things tend to run a little behind on a wedding.  By setting enough time aside, we will have enough time to capture your dress hanging in the nicest spot in your location (house, venue, hotel, etc), your shoes, accessories, heirlooms, etc. If you'd like photos of your hair and makeup application as well, I would add on an extra 30 minutes.  This way we will have enough time to also capture your bridal portraits as well some candid shots with your party. 

Groom Preparation:

35 minutes
The groom portion of the day is not nearly as detailed as the bridal!  With this being said, it doesn't take as long; however, it is still an important factor of your wedding story. I would suggest setting aside about 35 minutes for the groom preparation, with the groom being dressed and ready upon my arrival. It's important that he, and his party, are in their dress shirt and pants, ready to be photographed!

First Look:

30 minutes
If you planning on including a "First Look" in your wedding day, I would suggest giving yourself about 20-30 minutes.  This could be done with your partner, or even your family.  Please let me know in advance if you are wanting to include this, so I can prepare how we will set it up!


45 minutes for set up, guests arriving and ceremony time
Don't forget to send your photographer to your ceremony about 30 minutes before it starts as they will need to set up their lighting. Also, so they can capture your guests arriving and being seated; as this is something you will miss yourself!  If you will be having an outdoor ceremony, the best time of the day to hold it is late afternoon. This is typically a few hours prior to sunset!  Never the less, I can work under any conditions! By having an outdoor ceremony later in the afternoon, you will avoid having sunlight coming down on you. This will cause the taller person to cast a harsh shadow onto the shorter person.

Family Portraits:

30 minutes if taken immediately after ceremony, on location, of immediate family
I would recommend taking your immediate family portraits, directly after your ceremony.  Typically, they are done at the ceremony location as this saves your grandparents travelling to a variety of locations.  If you have a long list of "Must Have" shots, please forward me a Shot List prior your wedding day. I will ensure that these shots will get done! It is common to only have your immediate family photos done at this time, the remaining family can be photographed at your reception which gives us more time for your bridal party & couple portraits!

Bridal Party & Bride/Groom Portraits:

1.5 hours if at one location
As discussed in the ceremony section, the best timing for photos is later in the afternoon when the sun is about to set. This avoids harsh shadows and gives you that beautiful, soft, golden look. Normally, the bridal party will travel with the bride and groom to their portrait location (this may be at a near by park or different spot at the venue).  Without a doubt, this is the most important part of your wedding.  You hired a professional photographer for this moment!  If you are wanting that professionally taken portrait, like the ones on my website, you will want to set enough time aside for us to achieve these shots. I would suggest giving yourself at least an hour and a half for this time, as it will ensure that we have enough time to give you a variety of different candid, beautifully posed and dramatic shots which require a little more set up time.  


1 hour-4hours
Out of your entire photography schedule, I would recommend putting the least amount of time towards your reception as the shots tend to get very repetitive as the night goes on.  It is very common for couples to pose their cake cutting prior to dinner :-) It is very typical to have your first dance upon your grand entrance, and having your coverage end about 1 hour into the dancing.

Chelsea MasonComment