Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Photog Marc Anthony Matteo Talks Timelines

There are so many wedding pros involved in a couple's day, and we thought today it would be interesting to bring you ideas from someone other than a coordinator. Marc of Marc Anthony Photography shares his thoughts on the timing of a wedding day, along with a sampling of his work, below. The Philly area photog originally posted this on his Facebook page, but was gracious enough to let us bring it you directly here at TWB. Thanks again, Marc.


Brides and grooms spend months planning for their big day but one thing that doesn't get the attention it deserves is timing. As a photographer who has done nearly 500 weddings I can tell you that I've seen the good and the bad side. And the one factor that makes all the difference in the world is the time you give yourself. Not for photos, just for the day itself. Many brides just don't give themselves time to relax and soak in the day. Ask any bride what their day was like and I guarantee 8 out of 10 brides will say it was all a big blur and went by too fast. One of the reasons this happens is because some couples plan everything so close together.

As a professional I can work in any given situation. Give me 10 minutes for pictures and I will make it work. But shooting in that kind of time frame will make you feel like things are being rushed and that's not going to make you look relaxed in your photos. You need breathing room. So what I have outlined is a simple guideline on how the timing of your day should be scheduled to get the most out of it and not feel stressed. Remember. You only get one shot at this.

9:30 - Hair and Makeup. Plan on two hours for you. Will it take that long? Well that depends on how much the hair dresser and makeup artist talk. I've seen hair and makeup get done in an hour and I've also seen it done in nearly 3 hours. There's nothing like being late to your ceremony because of hair and makeup.

11:30 - Chill out. Eat. Drink. Hang out with your girls. This is my time to capture a lot of candids as well.

12:30 - Start to get dressed. It may take 5 minutes if you have a zipper or up to 20 if you have a corset. So let's say 15 minutes.

12:45 - Bridal portraits, formals with family, pictures with bridesmaids.

1:30 - Limo comes to take you to the ceremony.

2:00 - Ceremony starts.

3:00 - Ceremony ends.

3:15 - Formal family groups start

3:45 - In limo to go to a park for bridal party pictures.

4:15 - Arrive at the park. It is nice to have at least an hour for bridal party pictures.

5:15 - Leave park to go to the reception

5:45 - Arrive at the reception. Unload the limo. Freshen up.

6:00 - Cocktail hour. Some brides say they don't care about going to their cocktail hour and that is totally fine. But my suggestion is to allow yourself the time to attend it or at least most of it. You need time to unwind. You don't want to end your pictures and then get introduced into your reception. It's too stressful.

7:00 - 11:00 - Dance, drink, and have fun.

Now there are some variables that can make things change a bit. You may not want to drive to a park for pictures. You may want them done at your reception hall. Your ceremony may not last an hour. You may not want to attend your cocktail hour. But this is the average scenario of a wedding day so, if your day is something like this, your timing should be like this.

Looking at this schedule you'll see there is 4 hours between the start of your ceremony to the start of your cocktail hour. Think that's too much time? It's not if you have an hour ceremony, family pictures, drive to a park, bridal party pictures, drive to the reception, and attend your cocktail hour. Remember. You don't know what traffic is going to be like. You don''t know if the priest, rabbi, or minister is really long winded and your ceremony lasts longer than expected. There are a lot of factors that can affect timing. It's better to give yourself too much time than not enough.

Oh, and if you are concerned about your guests and what they are going to do for all that time my answer is simply don't worry about it. First off, your guests are adults and can handle themselves. Second, in my extensive experience, I can tell you that about 60 percent of your guests will actually show up to your ceremony anyway. The other 40 percent just go to the reception. So why rush yourselves for guests that may not even show up?

Now this is a scenario for a traditional wedding. Some couples do a bride reveal where they see each other before the ceremony and do all the pictures prior. If that's the case then the ceremony and reception can be literally back to back since all the pictures were done beforehand.

So, in the end it's really simple. It's your wedding day. Not your parents'. Not your bridal party. Not your guests'. It's yours. And, while it's nice to take other people's feelings into consideration, I say for this one day, be a little selfish and make it all about you.


  1. As a Wedding Photographer myself, this advice is great! The closing remarks are those that I try to deliver to my Bride and Grooms. I cannot stress enough the need for some time for formal pictures so you can enjoy the rest of your day.

  2. Heather - good to hear and thanks for reading!


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