Why there are delays in the wedding day (and how to avoid them)

We all went through this – something happens and the program on the wedding day is delayed, and suddenly that hour reserved for the photo shooting evaporates and becomes 15 minutes of chaos with only 25 photos from the party, instead of group photos as it encompasses.
The ability to cope with pressure on a wedding day in which everything is delayed because one thing delays another, with grace and ease, is definitely what separates a good wedding photographer from an amateur.

But the ability to prevent such things to appear on the wedding day, from the very beginning, makes the difference between a professional wedding photographer and a good photographer.

Here are the 5 biggest reasons that tend to delay the program of a wedding day – at least from my experience at the Italian weddings – and the solutions I came with in order to prevent this happening.

1. The Hair and Makeup Artists Don’t Know the Photo Schedule

The problem:
From my experience programming for makeup and hairstyle is the number one factor in making the wedding late.
Without knowing too much (it’s my fault as a photographer), the brides will tell them that they have to be ready by 12 o’clock because the photos will be taken at 12 o’clock – not leaving a length of time to get dressed, to reach to the location, or even if one of them is late.
It’s a certain thing that delays will arrive.

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When you set the schedule for the wedding day, include a longer break for hair and makeup and tell the bride to be ready an hour before the scheduled time.
Emphasizes the importance of this program throughout the planning process.
Also includes some time in the program for the bride to get dressed. Not only will you have more time, but you can be saved if the makeup or hairstylist is late.

2. It is too well known that the family will delay the program

The problem:
The groom’s brother is always half an hour late. He inherited this gift from his mother, who never arrived in time in her life.

Tell the grooms to communicate a “fake” time for all the family members or those who have the problem of appearing in time for the groom`s preparing or for the group photography.
The golden rule is to be 30 minutes earlier than it should be. Also, when you do the venue group photos, communicate them an easy-to-find meeting place, such as the villa’s lobby or entrance. Are the easiest of locations to be found.
Sometimes the family is late because they do not have a place to meet with the grooms. Expecting the delay of the family members will save your health. Believe me!

3. The grandma did not know about the family group photography

If the couple chooses to make the First Look photos then all the group photos will be made before the ceremony. However, it may happen that nobody has told his grandma that she must arrive earlier, which means that after the aperitif you have to gather them again for another family group photo.

Talk before with the future grooms to create a clear list of who will appear in the group photos and note the names of those persons who have to appear in the group photo.
This way there will be no confusion about who should appear and when to appear in the photo.
Tell the grooms if someone is missing from your group photo and you will do it later after the aperitif.

4. Group photo – last minute

You’re done with the group photos, but the bride`s mother decides that there are still 10 more photos to take with the family, which will delay the ceremony.

That’s why it’s important to have a firm list of the groups before your wedding day because it will save you from the last minute photos that happen at each wedding.
A month before the wedding create a list of the closest family members (using the automatic form in Tave) and also ask the bride to show it to her mother for a review. Doing the most for them and planning everything in a precise list you should only get a few more special requests.
But if you receive back a very long list you can add time to the program dedicated to the groups or agree with the grooms to take out from the list those persons which are not so important. Remind the grooms that they will want to keep and print memories only with those close to them.
If there are still requests for last-minute group photos, you have the advantage of postponing these requests after the aperitif because both families had the opportunity to specify the requests a long time before.

5. The way to the church time was underestimated

Even if there are 5 minutes up to the church it will become 20 minutes with a retinue of 30 people. The bride is long withheld for the last moment because she has to make the groom to wait. Then it starts but encounters agglomeration on the road.
And works in progress…

Always increase the timers. It takes time to mobilize everyone to move, so instead of forcing them to get out of the door (it will make you look like a desperate) simply schedule more time for moving if you need it normally.
Put 20 minutes instead of 5 and 45 instead of 30 minutes for moving with the car. Plus you can also score extra points in front of the master of ceremony if you get ahead with all the retinue.

#6 Give the couples the information they need
The trick is how to be advantageous when it comes to educating the grooms about their wedding day. The more help you give them in advance (as I talked earlier about the wedding day program and the group photo list), the better the wedding day will be.

Gabi and I have set up a document called Make the Most of Wedding Photography, which is automatically sent to the couples right after they book with us. Includes a list of what I wrote above (plus many more) and an example of how an organized wedding would look like and a list of the family group photos.

In this document, we answer the most common questions of the brides immediately and save us and the bride from losing time.

What kind of information do you want to transmit to the grooms at the beginning?
Include information as well as suggestions and tips – just talk from experience.

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