As wedding professionals, not only do we photograph the wedding day, but there is also quite a bit of preliminary planning that we do pre-wedding day. In addition to being there to capture the wedding day, we also work with our couples to put together what we call a "Photography Plan".
What is a "Photography Plan"? - It's a plan that we construct and finalize about 2-3 weeks before the wedding day, and it outlines how the day will flow and where we will plan to be and when.
Even though we are experienced wedding photographers and we know what to look for (I mean, we know a wedding like we know the back of our hands :) we always like to discuss important moments with our couples. We like to find out when and where those things should be happening, and ask about anything that we should keep an eye out for (maybe something that might be out of the ordinary, for example).
The Photography Plan helps us to stay on track, and it also allows our couples to relax and not have to worry about where their photographers will be during the day, because it will already have been planned out and discussed ahead of time! Even though at most all weddings we have to be ready to "go with the flow" it's still very helpful to our couples, and to us, when we work out this plan ahead of the wedding day.
Of course, we highly, highly recommend hiring a wedding planner. Your planner will keep an overall wedding day agenda with ALL of the details and logistics. We like to touch base with the wedding planner before we start on the plan so that we can learn about these details. This way, we can make sure to work the photography plan so that it makes the most since with how the day will flow as a whole.
Below is a sample "Full Day" Wedding Photography Plan, that we've created. Of course, the plan will vary depending on whether or not the couple is doing a 1st look, if they want to schedule more time to do family portraits before the ceremony instead of after, etc. But we have found that this is how many weddings that we photograph tend to flow, give or take an hour or two difference. One of the things we like to do when we can, is incorporate a bit of "cushion time" in case things are running behind, people have gone missing, and things like that. This way, we will still be on schedule if something should run a bit behind, and so the cushion time in certain places can be a lifesaver and a stress reliever in the end!
Take a look below: