There are a few things to keep in mind when figuring this out:
- How many iterations (versions of photos) will you want to have done? I will work this list out with you prior to the wedding day and I will advise you how long I believe that process will take.
- Will all of the people you wish to be involved in those photographs be present and cooperative? It is strongly advised that you inform the people on the list, that these photographs will take place at a specific time and that they should be present and on time for it. Having to chase people down for photographs interrupts and delays the process significantly. Having to pull them out of cocktail hour is even more difficult and time consuming.
- How long do we have in the church (if applicable)? Some churches, especially Catholic churches, might have activities coming up shortly after the ceremony. You need to be aware of the church’s schedule and we must work within that time. If, for example, you only have twenty minutes in the church before it opens up for other uses, that might dictate whether or not you do any or all of the family photos there. It also might eliminate that lovely receiving line for 150 guests you’ve been thinking about.
- Are you seeing each other beforehand? If you are doing a first look, or otherwise seeing each other before the ceremony, you can knock out some of the family photos at that time. This will lessen the amount of time required to get specific shots after the ceremony has taken place. This can mean the difference between losing your cocktail hour completely and getting to enjoy it.
This process, as with most everything else in your wedding day, should be scheduled with the assumption that it will take longer than you think. It is highly advised that you build in “flex” time throughout the day so that if something gets delayed, it does not throw the entire day into a stressful logistical tailspin. If, after figuring out your family/bridal party photo shot list, the estimated time for facilitation is 20 minutes, give it 30.