Often the schedule of the wedding is out of your hands – the church says you must be out before 2pm, but the reception site can’t let you in before 5pm, and so on… These kinds of restrictions leave you with either large gaps of time to fill, or no time at all!
The first step is to talk to your wedding professionals. They have been through this a hundred times before, so they will have suggestions to help with your timeline and planning. Better yet, if you have a wedding planner (and invaluable asset in our book!), have them handle your schedule.
As wedding photographers, we will take as much time as you will give us! The more time your photographer has with you, the better chance of having epic, amazing images. If you don’t have lots of time, here are few options:
• Consider seeing each other BEFORE you walk down the aisle.
If you have a tight schedule, this will definitely make the day run much more smoothly. Your photographer and videographer can still make this a special moment by setting up the meeting in a picturesque location and having you come up behind your groom and tap him on the shoulder. You will still get that “moment” when he sees you in your dress for the first time, and the rest of your day can unfold at a much less hurried pace. You can also gather your family to do your formals following this session.
• Have someone designated to gather family for your formals.
Assigning this very important role to a friend or family member will help the formals just fly by! (And lets face it, everyone wants to get to the cocktail hour, right?). Your photographer and videographer don’t know what your Aunt Sue looks like, so it will be hard for them to track her down.
• Skip the receiving line.
Receiving lines are a wonderful way to make sure you speak to and thank everyone who came to your wedding, but chances are, you will also make the rounds at your reception – so essentially you will be completing this task twice. Removing this element can save you anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour!
You can have your minister or officiant make an announcement before the end of your ceremony that there will not be a receiving line, and that the happy couple will greet you at the reception, OR to please make their way to the outside of the church for your exit (that is, if you chose to do the bubbles, rice, etc). Logistically this is pretty simple – after the ceremony, make your way down the aisle (please smile for the cameras!) and then duck into a room off to the side or a quiet corner. Your bridal party will follow and they can keep you hidden from guests (if you don’t have a room or an area to retreat to) until you are ready to make your grand exit. If you plan on returning to the church for your formals, just duck into your limo for a few moments or find a side entrance to re-enter the church.
There are of course tons of other ways to save time – and if you have any great ideas, please share them in the comments below – we would love to hear from you!