We’ve had a full day of Christian Oth goodness and I for one am a little bit giddy and a LOT inspired. It’s been one insanely beautiful wedding after another and before we let Christian go, we HAD to get a little insider info from him. You know, the good stuff that you always wish you knew but is so hard to find out. So, we asked Christian to stick around and give us a little advice that we could share with all of you brides-to-be who are finding themselves stumped when it comes to figuring out your wedding day schedule. Christian has some GREAT tips so make sure to bookmark the page! And if you still haven’t had enough, click here to see all of Christian Oth Studios gorgeous work.

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click here to see Christian and team’s insane portfolio and some gorgeous real weddings!

From Christian…Coming up with a good wedding day schedule can be challenging–you have hair and makeup, bridesmaids and family members coming and going, and photographs being taken. You want to make sure that your big day goes smoothly, but at the same time, it’s your wedding so you want to have fun and be relaxed. Planning ahead and coming up with a realistic schedule with your photographer can help to avoid some of the confusion and lead to better, more natural-looking photographs.

In general, most couples hire a photographer for a minimum of eight hours. This allows enough time to capture the getting-ready process, portraits, the ceremony, and the majority of the reception. Also keep in mind that you will have to allow for travel time if you are going from one location to another (i.e. ceremony to reception, etc). Below are some tips to help you plan ahead for your big day.

Getting Ready: Some of the best candid photographs are captured during the getting-ready process, so it’s important to schedule about two hours of time with your photographer for this part of the day. Your photographer doesn’t need to be there at the very beginning of the day when none of your bridesmaids have their hair or makeup done, but enough time should be set aside so that they can get some great shots of you and your wedding party. Typically, the bride’s makeup will be applied last so that she looks fresh for the ceremony, so make sure that your photographer arrives before this to capture those beautiful shots of blush and lipstick being applied in the mirror.

Couple and Family Portraits: When you meet with your photographer before the wedding, you will go over which portrait combinations are important to you, and that will have an effect on how much time you will need to set aside. However, make sure you edit your list down to only the necessary shots that you will want for family posterity. Taking pictures of every possible combination of the wedding party and bride and groom could take hours, and if you have hired a skilled photographer, they will capture shots of you interacting with your bridesmaids and groomsmen organically. As a general rule, you should set aside one hour for your couple portraits, and one hour for your family and wedding party portraits. If you are shooting in more than one location, you may need more time than this to allow for transportation and set-up.

Some couples enjoy the tradition of not seeing their partner before the ceremony, so they take family portraits beforehand and their couple portraits afterward during the cocktail hour. However, I recommend that you try to take all portraits before the ceremony if possible so that you are not rushed to get to your reception and can take time to enjoy the session. The best natural light occurs in the late afternoon, so it’s ideal to take your portraits at that time of day before evening falls.

Ceremony and Reception: The remaining time with your photographer can be spent capturing all of the special moments that occur at the ceremony and the reception. Most ceremonies will take up about an hour of the photographer’s time (allowing for guests to enter and be seated, and exit afterward). This will leave about two hours at the reception to photograph important moments like the first dance, the cake cutting, the bouquet toss, and any other memorable events that you have planned. You’ll also be able to get some great shots of your guests on the dance floor, but your photographer will have made their exit by the time the open bar becomes a little too much of an indulgence for some of your guests!

A little planning ahead can really make a difference in getting relaxed, natural looking photographs. The key to a wedding day schedule that works is communicating with your photographer about the events of the day and your must-have shots. After that, you can just relax and let your photographer take care of the rest.

We asked Christian a question that we’ve gotten a lot about photographers: “What do I do if I can’t afford a great photographer for 8 full hours?” Here’s what he said…

If price equates quality I would go for a better photographer for less time and go for more before and ceremony coverage and do only the first hour of the reception venue. However, most photographers won’t book a less than 8 hour day a year in advance. With that said, there is an in-between solution. To book a photographer with a renowned studio who educate photographers and have an emerging talent pool. What the client gets is an emerging talent whose images are quite good, albeit can be a bit experimental and not as polished as the bigger names.

Well said. Thank you so much to Christian Oth and team for sharing his day with us and giving us a glimpse into the beautiful work that he is out there creating. We heart you…in a big way.