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Make a Rough Wedding Timeline in 10 Minutes

help with wedding timelineWhat time should the ceremony start?

If you haven’t planned a wedding before coming up with a general wedding timeline can seem daunting. Fortunately, we’ve seen about 1000, so we have some experience. :)

The first question is the ceremony. Personally, I’m always of the opinion that they should happen a little earlier than later. Why have so many people come from so far away only to hang out with them for a couple of hours? Another practical reason not to have the ceremony too late is dinner. You don’t want to pump people full of booze and not feed them till 8pm. Keep in mind, most of the people that are going to be there, especially if they have kids, probably ate around 12 or 1.

Ceremonies that start between 4 and 5 give a good amount of time for the reception and get dinner going before people get too hungry.

Once you know your ceremony start time, you can start thinking about a couple of other questions.

Do you want to attend your Cocktail Hour?

For me, this is the next question because of how it affects the getting ready timeline and the timeline immediately after the ceremony. If you’d like to attend your cocktail hour, it is very tough to do so without doing seeing each other and doing the bulk of the photos before the wedding.

Scenario 1: WithOUT a seeing each other before the ceremony

I would say that we do about 1/2 with a First Look and 1/2 without it. If you don’t want to see each other before the ceremony, we still recommend doing a lot of the photos before the ceremony. Many of the photos that we do don’t involve the couple, so if planned correctly, we can knock out a lot of the photos between getting ready and the start of the ceremony. We’ll just need to coordinate before about who needs to come a little early – mostly people who would already be there, anyway.

Getting Ready: ? – 3:30pm (start time depends on how many getting ready)
Photos of Groom with Groomsmen and Immediate Family: 3:30 – 4
Photos of Bride with Bridesmaids and Immediate Family: 4 – 4:30
Freshen Up / Guests Arriving: 4:30 – 5pm
Ceremony: 5:00 – 5:30pm
Any other group photos: 5:45 – 6:15pm
Bride and Groom Photos / Cocktail Hour: 6:15 – 7pm
Announce / Blessing / Start Dinner: 7:00
Dinner: 7:00 – 8pm
First Dances: 8:00 – 8:15pm
Dancing: 8:15 – 9pm
Cake Cutting: 9pm
Dancing 9:15 – 10:45
Exit: 10:45 – 11pm

Scenario 2: See each other before and do all photos before the ceremony

Do you want to do all the photos (bride and groom, family, and wedding party)? Plan for about 1.5 hours. That is a rough amount of time and allots for people walking, chatting, etc. Even if we’re only taking photos for an hour of that time, we’ll need time to walk and set up groups. There is one exception: Biltmore or going off property. If you’re getting married at the Biltmore or you want to go off property of where you’re getting married, all bets are off. Call me and we can chat about your ideas and I can help you get a good idea of how much time to plan.

Getting Ready: ? – 2:30pm (start time depends on how many getting ready)
First Look: 2:30pm
Bride and Groom Photos: 2:45 – 3:30pm
Wedding Party Photos: 3:30 – 4pm
Family Photos: 4:00 – 4:30pm
Freshen Up / Guests Arriving: 4:30 – 5pm
Ceremony: 5:00 – 5:30pm
Any other group photos: 5:45 – 6pm
Cocktail Hour: 6:00 – 7pm
Announce / Blessing / Start Dinner: 7:00
Dinner: 7:00 – 8pm
First Dances: 8:00 – 8:15pm
Dancing: 8:15 – 9pm
Cake Cutting: 9pm
Dancing 9:15 – 10:45
Exit: 10:45 – 11pm

Want advice on other things? Here’s an article on 1 Photographer vs 2 and here’s an article about how much time you might need the photographer.

As always, feel free to call or email and I can help with questions specific to your day!

Asheville Omni Grove Park Inn WeddingAndrea & Gabe

Andrea and Gabe came to the Grove Park in Asheville from New Orleans to have a destination wedding in the mountains. But, even though they were in the Asheville mountains, they brought a lot of home with them, making for a very, VERY fun, but also very personal wedding day.

While the girls got ready with Wendy (from Blush) and Amanda (from Hughes) in one of the sweets, the guys and most of the wedding guests rented out the sports bar and watched New Orleans play Carolina. As soon as the game was over everyone headed back to their rooms to get ready for the wedding. While they were doing that we went with Gabe, Andrea and Caroline (from Asheville Event Co.) to go do the first look. They wanted to do all the photos of everyone before the ceremony to free them up to mingle with their friends and family during the cocktail hour. We scheduled plenty of time for photos, got tons of amazing bride & groom pictures, family portraits, as well as wedding party photos.

The wedding ceremony was very sweet. The groom got emotional (always my favorite), they had very personal vows and used friends and family during the ceremony too. After the cocktail hour they did something I’ve never seen: a New Orleans wedding parade. They had a band leading the way playing typical N.O. music, umbrellas, and dancing. The Grove Park was great about helping figure out a way to make all that happen.

Following that everyone headed inside for dinner, cake and dancing. During dancing, they had the Mountain View Terrace open with a bar for people to enjoy cigars, mingle and hang out in the beautiful fall evening. The dance floor was, of course, packed the entire time and everyone had a blast. We left at 11 and the party hadn’t even begun to slow down.

See the full list of amazing vendors at the bottom of the post

Full list of vendors for the wedding:


Wedding Ceremony Location – Mountain View Terrace, Grove Park Inn
Wedding Ceremony & Cocktail Hour Music – Empire Strikes Brass
Wedding Caterer – Grove Park Inn
Florist – Flora
Photographer – Blue Bend Photography
Reception Music – DJ Craig, Remix Weddings
Wedding Cake – Grove Park Inn
Makeup – Blush
Hair – Hughes Hair Design
Planning – Asheville Event Co. (Liz and Caroline)
Officiant – Rev. Fred Werhan (email: fwerhan@juno.com)

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Do I Need a Wedding Photographer?

Do I really need a photographer at my wedding?

 

Here are some Pros and Cons of hiring a professional photographer for your wedding:

Cons to hiring a wedding photographer:


Do I even NEED photos?

This is a more philosophical question than a practical one, and one that will be different for every person. I see this as the first question that all of us should be asking, because if you land on “NO” you don’t really need to go any further. Realistically, why do we need any of what we have at the wedding? Why do we need flowers? Why are we inviting guests? Why do we need rings? Etc, etc, etc. I’m not here to talk you out of photos. I’m just trying to be fair to both sides. For those of you that are still of the opinion that, yes, you’d still like photos at your wedding, what about some of the other options?

It’s pretty expensive for a good photographer

This is probably the biggest argument against getting a photographer. On average a decent photographer costs about $2500 for the day, $3500 for a really good one, and about $800 for one just starting out. Obviously, that money could be spent elsewhere, right?

Everyone at the wedding will have their phones and a few will bring cameras

It’s 2017. I don’t know anyone without a smart phone anymore. On top of that, almost everyone I know has a really good smart phone that has a camera that is many times better in quality to the film that was used for weddings 15 years ago. If you are diligent about creating a hashtag for Instagram, collecting photos from guests afterwards via Dropbox or something and then doing some basic editing on them, I’m sure that you could get a ton of pretty good photos to help you remember the wedding day and for you to share with people that couldn’t come.

A friend or relative can be your photographer for free

I’m sure you have an uncle or cousin or a friend of a friend that has a good camera is pretty good at taking pictures. They could bring their camera to the wedding and take photos. That with all the photos you get from other cameras and phones will be a ton of photos.

You might get terrible or absolutely no good photos

This is the biggest one for me. Assuming that you want photos from you wedding, there is a very good likelihood that you get not a single photo worthy of printing out and putting on the wall or even on Facebook. I think we can all think of many examples of people telling us that they can do things that just aren’t true.


llama in wedding photo


Pros to hiring a wedding photographer:


Photos are important

Again, this is just an opinion, and one that I wholeheartedly subscribe to, but I believe photos are important. I don’t have a great memory on a day to day basis. I have to keep lists and lists of things and a very detailed calendar just to make sure that I don’t forget things. But the second I have a photo in front of me, I am flooded with emotions and memories. The right photo, for me, allows me to almost relive that moment (and oddly enough, a time period around that moment). Who hasn’t had that experience where you see a picture of yourself on the beach, laughing with a friend next to you. You immediately remember everything about what you were laughing about, who said what, and even a dozen other memories from that day – all from just one photo of you laughing on the beach. So, we agree that photos are important, but why would anyone spend so much money to pay a stranger to take photos?

A much higher likelihood of getting beautiful photos

Personally, I happen to know a lot about science. My mom is a nurse, many of my friends are doctors and I went to pre-med for 3 years. I even got really good (well not terrible) grades in all my biology classes. In fact, I could do your next medical procedure for way less money than those “professionals.”

There is a very small likelihood that you’d live right? This is the main reason you’d hire a professional for anything that you care about the results. Your uncle Bob might get one or two photos that are awesome and you might have something to hang on the wall, but when you hire a professional with a lot of experience, you have a very, very good chance of getting hundreds and hundreds of awesome photos – forget about getting just a couple good ones.

A professional knows photos you will want in 20, 30 or 50 years

True story: When I got married almost 14 years ago I told my photographer to not even BRING color film. I didn’t want it. I didn’t want any color photos and I also didn’t want any posed photos. All I wanted was photojournalism and for him to be there and capture what was happening. Boy am I glad that he knew what he was doing and talked me out of such a ridiculous idea.

Of course, he took tons and tons of photos of stuff as it was happening, but he also lined us all up and had us look at the camera with a beautiful background behind us. He also took tons of photos that he knew my mom would want, my grandma would want, and most importantly, he took photos of stuff that I didn’t even think of back then.

Professionals take photos that tell a story

In my opinion, the real difference between an amateur and a professional is the ability to convey emotion with a photo and have images write a narrative. When I photograph an event my goal is to tell a story. I have the story pretty much written in my head and I just need to find the photos to create the narrative. So, I will leave with this final thought. If you a) think photos are important, and b) think it’s important that you have good photos (not just Uncle Bob), then… hire someone with the experience to get the photos you want your grandchildren to see (and their grandchildren for that matter).

 

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Century Room on the Park Wedding – Asheville, NCMadeline & Cody

Asheville Century Room on the Park Wedding Photo (22)

The Wedding Ceremony – The Basilica

Madeline and Cody’s summer wedding at the Basilica and the Century Room turned out beautifully. They had a great team of wedding vendors, awesome guests and perfect weather. The getting ready started at the Hotel Indigo, including a super sweet moment between Madeline and her dad (check out that view behind them!) and from there they could just walk to the Basilica of Saint Lawrence because it’s so close – probably only a 3 minute walk. Following the ceremony and some family photos, everyone walked over to the Century Room (located on the 2nd floor above Pack’s Tavern, right next to Pack Square) for their wedding reception.

The Wedding Reception – Century Room

Asheville Event Co was in charge of planning the event and everything went perfectly. The makeup was done by Blush, the cake by Short Street Cakes, the flowers by Merrimon Florist, hair by Lola and the John Brown Quartet did the music for the evening. If you’re planning a wedding and would like some more tips, please feel free to download our Planning PDF or our Wedding Timeline Calculator. We love to chat with couples planning their big day and help in anyway that we can; please feel free to call or email :)

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If you’re wondering exactly where this is, here is a map and the contact info for the two venues:

Basilica of St Lawrence – Contact

   Century Room on the Park – Contact

Also, if you’d like slideshows :)

Vatican City WeddingElizabeth & Ken

Elizabeth & Ken’s Vatican City Wedding

The last night that I was in Rome, the three of us, Elizabeth, Ken, and I, grabbed a drink at an outdoor cafe close enough to the Pantheon that the spray from the fountain occasionally drifted onto us. While we sat and chatted about the amazing week that we had, I realized that I wasn’t their wedding photographer anymore; we were friends.

Elizabeth is a writer. Who can say that? Tons of people claim to be something that they occasionally like to fool around with. She, on the other hand, is a legit, published writer with a sense of curiosity and creativity that makes everyone want to be her friend. Just being around her you get energized to go explore and soak in life like a kid again. Ken is a musician and actually found out while we were in Rome that he was going to be going on tour. The task of photographing the wedding of two such creative, talented and genuine people for a week was a bit intimidating :)

They originally were going to get married in Asheville and then head to Italy for their honeymoon (they both love traveling and go as often as possible). One of them said jokingly, we should just get married at the Vatican! After a ton of paperwork and phone calls, it happened. I found out that it’s not especially easy to get married in the Vatican; quite the opposite actually. Calling and asking me to be their wedding photographer was probably the only really part :)

They kept their plans to get married at the Biltmore Estate (that will be another blog post) the week before Rome and celebrate with their friends and family. One of the things that made it slightly easier to get married in the Vatican is if they were recently ‘civilly married.’ So that’s what they did: got civilly married at Biltmore and then flew to Rome, got married at St Annes in the Vatican and then 4 days later meet the Pope and have the marriage blessed by the him. Sounds like a dream right? It was.

Following a bride (and groom) around Rome in a white dress is an experience I will not forget soon. In case you didn’t know, there are a lot of people in Rome and in the Vatican – like, a LOT! They were being stopped, congratulated and photographed continuously throughout the day. The joy was so palpable that I was beaming ear to ear, as if I had just gotten married. The pinnacle of the day, for me, was watching Ken lead Elizabeth away from me and our route, neither of us knowing his plans, and then watching him spontaneously pull her in for a first dance by a street performer. No planning, no fear, pure romantic. I forgot for about 10 seconds that I was supposed to be taking photos.

There are a week’s worth of stories, and I’m sure that Elizabeth can write about them better than I, but for now, I’ll let the photos do the talking.

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Brown Mountain Beach Resort WeddingLaurie & Jacob

Laurie & Jacob’s Brown Mountain Beach Resort wedding

I get to go to a lot of really beautiful venues as a wedding photographer. This one, though, was exceptional. Brown Mountain Beach Resort is in Collettsville, NC (about 1 1/2 hours from Asheville). It’s tucked in a tight little valley with a beautiful river running down behind it. There is a waterfall just up the road and tons of hiking trails. At the resort they have all kinds of family games, as well as tubing and swimming.

Brendan and I arrived early to get a lay of the land and both immediately regretted not bringing bathing suits. This wedding had a rope swing into a river! I was supremely jealous as I sat and watched in my dress clothes.

Laurie and Jacob made the trip from the other side of North Carolina with their closest friends and family and made a week vacation out of it. Brown Mountain Beach Resort is the perfect location to relax and enjoy company for a week. The wedding itself, had the same type of feel: very personal, intimate and full of love. Both the couple’s dads had a big part in the ceremony, Jacob’s mom did all the flowers, and lots of family members sang and did readings during the wedding as well.

Enjoy the photos of this beautiful couple crazy in love. :)

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Venue Brown Mountain Beach Resort
Event Designer Embellished Blooms – Groom’s mother
Cake/Dessert Sue Ewell- Bride’s Grandmother
Caterer Cookshack Catering
Florist Embellished Blooms
Officiant Michael Allen and Maurice Hagar
DJ/Band A Bride’s DJ
Wedding Dress Designer Muse Clothing