I have been photographing weddings since 2001 and I figured out that I’ve shot well over 500 of them.
In that time I have learned a few things along the way and I thought I would share my experience and knowledge with you.

 

You see, us wedding photographers are rare suppliers as we get to see the whole day. Not only the shiny bit the guests see but all the background prep before.

In this article I will focus on the timings of the day – from the morning, through the ceremony, onto the afternoon and finishing in the evening.

A little guide on how to keep things on track for a smooth, hassle free wedding day!

Everyone who has ever been married will say “The day goes by so fast”. This is so true!

It really does, so its important to have enough time to get the pictures that you want. You have paid a lot of money for your day so you don’t want to feel rushed.

I have divided the timings of a typical wedding into sections of the day to help you out.

The  Morning

 

1. Ensure you inform hair and make-up what time you want everyone finished. Not the time you are leaving. They can then let you know what time they will arrive to ensure everyone is finished on time.
 
2. If possible I will want the bride and bridesmaids in their dresses 20 minutes before I leave for the venue/church. This allows me to capture a nice portrait of the bride and the bridesmaids together.
 
3. If you are getting married at your venue it can be a lot easier to get ready there. You just walk down the stairs five minutes before you walk down the aisle!
 
4. Always try and have something to eat about lunch time. You won’t be eating again for quite a few hours.
 
5. If you are the Bride don’t get your hair and make-up done last.
 
6. Give enough time to get into your dress. Some dresses take longer to get into than others.
 
7. When I photograph the guys getting ready there isnt as much activity as the girls so not much to say here – just relax and dont be shy, I have seen it all!
 
 

 

Arriving at the church or venue

 

If the Groom, all the ushers, best man etc can be at the venue or church at least half an hour before the ceremony starts then this is ideal.

It gives me plenty of time to photograph the Groom with everyone and good candid shots of the guests arriving.

It is helpful if the bride can arrive on time, contrary to the urban legend of the bride always being late! If you are too late then it can hold things up and you might not have the time to get all the pictures that you want.

 

The ceremony

 

As a reportage photographer, capturing the ceremony is very important to allow the story of the day to be told through pictures.

The majority of celebrants welcome the ceremony being photographed but there are still some churches who can frown upon it. This may be because they had an intrusive photographer in the past. It is best to just check if photography is allowed, and please inform the celebrant that I work in an unobtrusive way!

I am happy to sit in the one place if that is required but photographing the ceremony is important to my style of work.

If you have small children at your ceremony and they decide to just do what they want then go with it. Most of the time it can make for the best pictures!

For the timings of your ceremony best to chat to your celebrant for this. Most ceremonies are from 30-40 minutes long. If you are having hand fasting or a few readings this will add to the time of your ceremony. A full Catholic mass is usually an hour long.

 

The Afternoon

 

The time from when the ceremony is finished to the call for dinner is the most important for the photographs.

You must take into account any travel time from church to the venue.

The ideal drinks reception time is an hour and a half. I find this works well. It gives plenty of time for pictures and time for the bride and groom to spend time with their guests which is so important.

As a rule the time it take for the following pictures are –

  1. Couple shots – 15-20 minutes
  2. Family group shots – 5-10 minutes
  3. Bridal party  – 5 minutes

You can read all about my photography for couple shots and group shots in my approach to wedding section of my website.

Click on the link below ro read more

My approach to the set up shots

 

 

The Evening

 

The speeches and dancing are pretty much photographed in a candid way so no set up shots here.

With regard to the speeches, best to have them lasting 30 minutes as that is most peoples attention span for listening.

If the speeches last too long your food will have to be kept warm and your evening guests will arrive before you have finished your meal.

What I can suggest, if couples fancy, is for some sparklers shots or fireworks which work well in the winter.

Also, sunset shots or last light pictures look amazing in the summer months. The sun in summer is lower and warmer in the early evening and is great for pictures of the Bride and Groom. This only takes around 5 minutes and can be so worth it!

You will normally have an hour from when the meal and speeches are finished until they turn the room around and it is ready for the evening reception. So this gives plenty of time for these kind of pictures before any of your evening guests arrive.

Most bands will take an hour to set up and do a sound check.

So hopefully some of this information may be of use to you when orginizing your wedding.

I always say to my couples to contact me at anytime if they have any queries about timings for the day.

Enjoy your planning!

This was my first visit to the amazing Cow Shed at Crail, and it did not disappoint! I love this area of Scotland and I have now found a new favourite venue of mine in my favourite place, what could be better!

Emma and Stuan’s wedding was, like many others. meant to be in 2020. After several attempts at trying to get a new date they decided to leave the planning for a while. After things were looking a bit back to normal they got their date in April 2022.

The Cow Shed is really a blank canvas for couples to have their wedding exactly how they want. So many choices of beautiful interior spaces to use for the ceremony and drinks reception. Furniture is hired in so no wedding ever looks the same. I loved the rusic feel of the place and the grounds were amazing for pictures.

Stuan and Emma were so laid back on the day and they were fantasic to photograph. They really did just laugh all day and it think it really shows in the pictures.

Here is how the day went.

 

Other fantastic suppliers-

Planning – Fin Flükra
Venue – The Cow Shed
Film – Edinburgh Wedding Videos
HSS Celebrant – Kathryn Ross
Catering – Spitting Pig Scotland
Bar – The Campber Bar Company
Pianist – Andy Lucas
Piper – Euan Anderson via The Piping Experience
Florist – Blue Poppy Florist
Decor/Styling – Frill Factory
Furniture – Virginias Vintage
Linens – 88 Events
Cake – Cake Couture by Caroline
Transport – Classic VW St Andrews
Hair – Nichë Salon
Make up – Bang Bang Beauty
Evening food – Dough Man’s Land
Evening band – Bahookie

 

 

 

I was so pleased to get to photograph Sharon and Jamies’s micro wedding. Due to Covid rules they had a small wedding which suited them down to the ground. Not only was it their wedding day but it was both their birthdays! That day will forever be a celebration.

Their wedding was to be held at Glasgow City Chambers and the reception at Kimpton Blythswood Square hotel.

Although the couple had a small wedding because of restrictions it was just perfect in every way, for them and their guests. Such a joy and privelage to be asked along! G x

 

So Laura and Kevin’s wedding, like so many other couples, was meant to be in May 2020. Then it was changed to May 2021, and finally they got their day at University of Glasgow in October 2021.

I so admire couples who have persevered through many date changes. To keep going and constantly contacting suppliers many times, changing dates, must have been so hard.

The reception was held at Oran Mor, also in the west end of Glasgow. It is a converted church building which had the most amazing ceiling I have ever seen (excluding the Sistine Chapel!).  It really is a must see.

What a great day!

 

It was one of those beautiful, but cold, winter days for Alison and Peter’s wedding at Lochside house hotel, in New Cummnock.

What a great day! G x

 

Some of their other lovely suppliers-

Make up – https://www.facebook.com/Lesleyneilmakeupartist

Hair – https://www.instagram.com/nafisahmohammedhair/

Kilts – https://www.kilts-4-u.com/

Brides dress – https://www.eleganza.co.uk/

DJ – https://www.devotion-weddings.co.uk/

Piper – https://pipingservices.com/

Celebrant ( Martin Turner) – https://www.humanist-ceremonies.org/celebrants/

 

 

 

Lynsey and Paul’s wedding was one of the first to be cancelled beacuse of Covid way back in March 2020. I was so glad that they got their day all 18 months later in the beautiful Friars Carse hotel near Dunfries. They were lucky enough to get a beautiful sunny day for their wedding which allowed their ceremony to be outside.

I had never been to the hotel before and was amazed at the grounds which were right beside the river Nith and backed onto a beautiful woodand area.

Here is how their beautiful day went. G x

 

 

 

It was the turn of Emma and Rowlands wedding at last. After serveral changes of date because of Covid they got there in the end and it was well worth the wait. They were married at The Dalmeny Park Hotel just outside of Glasgow and what an amazing day it was.

Emma had arranged for Rowland to be picked up in an amazing 70’s car as a surprise, he loved it. They also ahd an ice cream cart all day and night for their guests, the kids were in heaven!

Here is how their amazing day went. G x

The beautiful wedding of Emma and Michael at Western House hotel in Ayr.

 

Jusy an amazing day for this lovely couple. I talked them into going to Ayr beach after dinner for 10 minutes for some pictures and I am so glad they aggreed. Great location, great couple!