Plan the perfect day

Your wedding timetable


One of the first tasks for any couple is setting out their wedding timetable. What is your wedding day plan? What should you take into account? To plan a stress-free wedding, there’s a lot to think about. In planning their wedding, most couples focus on what time of day to have their ceremony and whether to serve lunch or dinner.

So far so good. But what would be the best time to capture the kind of images that will show you, and your wedding party, in your best light? What difference does it make, I hear you ask? The truth is that the time of day, time of year and location of your wedding make all the difference in the world to what your photographer can do with your wedding photography. It’s all about one key thing – natural, beautiful light makes beautiful, glowing portraits. It’s that simple!

What most couples aren’t told is that their wedding schedule really can make sure they have a calm, fuss-free day AND truly amazing wedding photos with that WOW factor. Are you nervous about not looking your best? Or do you just want the kind of high quality photos you can proudly show friends and relatives forever? There are 3 simple things you can do when planning your wedding timetable, and these worries will disappear.

While each wedding (and couple) are unique, I can reveal some professional advice that will help you plan your wedding timeline just right. We’re talking the kind of clever wedding planning ideas that can help you take great wedding photos to the kind of photos people talk about for years to come! After all, if you’re a bride or a groom, your wedding is one of the most special, romantic days of your life. Let’s get it right!


Plan your wedding for the best season


You will probably have heard that most couples get married over Spring, Summer and Autumn. Winter is generally the time us wedding photographers wind down and take holidays – we definitely need it!

Summer is great for beach holidays or kicking back by the pool, but in my opinion, it’s not the best time of year for a wedding. Regardless of how lightly you plan to dress, a blazing hot Summer day is pretty uncomfortable for both you and your guests. Think sweaty pits, melting makeup, dishevelled hair… you get the drift. Additionally, the brightness and angle of the Summer sun can be quite harsh. This leads to unflattering photos with lots of shadows, or the need to use a flash to balance things out. (I much prefer natural light wedding photography). Finally, daylight savings can also be problematic. With the sun setting so late in the day, most venues will already have you well into your reception by sunset. This is the time when we should be out taking photos in the soft afternoon light!!

Winter weddings can be quite nice, and also underrated. I personally prefer a colder climate to a hotter one, so this is probably just my preference. But there is something nice about warm comfort food, a nice red wine and a blazing fireplace to get you all warm and snuggly with your new husband/wife! The downside is Winter days are short, which can provide less time to fit everything into your special day before the sunset.

So, this leaves – you guessed it – Spring and Autumn. These seasons avoid the blazing hot Summer sun and cold, short Winter days. My personal favourite time of year to plan a wedding for is Autumn. From a photographer’s point of view, autumn light is really special – very gentle and softly flattering, giving you the potential for some simply amazing wedding photos!


Taking advantage of the golden hour


There is a little secret to making people look awesome in photos – wedding photographers call it the ‘golden hour’. It’s that time of day when the sun is going down (or coming up). Those rays of sunshine create the kind of flattering warm glow that makes people look younger, healthier and happier. Who doesn’t want that for their wedding photos?!! It’s the best possible time to capture your beautiful gown or suit, makeup and hair to full effect.

So when is the golden hour? Depending on the time of year and your exact location, your golden hour might not be an exact hour. Roughly speaking, on the South Coast, it is the hour before sunset. However, in areas close to the mountains or escarpment, the sun may drop behind the mountains up to half an hour before the official sunset time. If you let me know the date and location you have planned for your wedding, I can calculate your very own golden hour. What’s more, I can then provide you with a suggested wedding timetable to make the absolute most of the available light on your wedding day!


Give yourself some flexibility in your wedding timetable


Many wedding timelines are scheduled down to the minute. No, I’m really not kidding here…

  • 3:05pm – get into dress
  • 3:12pm – final makeup and hair check
  • 3:20pm – get into car to go to ceremony
  • 3:30pm – arrive at ceremony, music begins
  • 3:32pm – walk down the aisle

Apart from being incredibly stressful, these kinds of wedding timelines generally don’t allow much wiggle room to absorb any delays. And let’s face it, there WILL be delays. As the wedding photographer, I find that when things are running behind on your wedding day, the first thing to get cut back are the location photos. This results in us being hurried (instead of relaxed and having fun) and potentially missing out on some key locations you wanted photos at. So, you tell me – if this happens, are your wedding photos going to be the best they can be??

When putting together your wedding schedule for the day, I always highly recommend you be generous and allow some buffer in the timeline. The worst that can happen is that we come back from the location shoot a little early. We’ll have gotten all the shots we had planned (and more!) while having a blast! In that case, you can sneak in a cheeky drink (just the two of you, or with your wedding party) and 15-minute breather before hitting up the reception. Every couple I know who has done this has been so glad they did!


What if I can’t get that kind of flexibility for my wedding timetable?


Don’t worry! Sometimes the date and time of your wedding will be less than ideal from a photography perspective. I totally get that  your wedding is not ALL about the photos, and that you have many other vendors to work in with. But let that be my worry, not yours – compromises always need to be made and I can work with any restrictions to get the best possible results. In this case, discussing these restrictions with your wedding photographer really will make all the difference.

Fortunately, as an experienced wedding photographer, I can provide you with the advice you need to plan your wedding to get the best possible photos! My couples get the full advantage of my advice and experience, so we get all the details of their wedding planning schedule exactly right. I always welcome a call to discuss your ideas and find out what I can do to help you plan the best possible wedding schedule for your South Coast wedding.


Top work! You'll definitely want to check out my 10 Tips for Planning an Eco-Friendly Wedding!