All weddings are a messy series of emotional events for the untrained eye. But, when you've been a professional wedding photographer for over a decade, you've seen it all. From the first communication with the couple, you can instinctively feel what the event will be like.
As I met Ida and Michael over video, I instantly knew they'd have an expert-level wedding day. So as the expert photographer I am, I set ourselves up for success by creating a solid wedding timeline for them! As I share their wedding day with you for inspiration, I also wanted to address their timeline and part of my process for each couple I work with.
Why are you so invested in the wedding day timeline? Isn't that the planner's job?
Most couples consider wedding photography one of their most significant and longest-lasting investments. The photography timeline is crucial in ensuring that I can deliver comprehensive and high-quality coverage. Therefore, striving for a seamless timeline will enable me to provide the best possible product to each couple.
I recommend having a great wedding planner to guide couples through every point in their process. Still, I need to do more than rely on each planner to anticipate everything I need from the wedding day to do my job.
Because every couple, wedding, and vendor team is different, I work directly with each client, asking for all the details as early as possible, giving them all the possible input and feedback as they plan to ensure their wedding timeline works for my photography.
Coordinating a Multi-Location Wedding in Puerto Rico
Ceremony time and locations are the ultimate markers for how the rest of the day will fall into place.
Most couples plan for an afternoon ceremony starting 2-3 hours before sunset, but Ida and Michael's ceremony would be at 11 am in Old San Juan.
They would get ready outside the old town, in the Condado district, and their reception would be back in Condado.
This time, we were driving into and out of Old San Juan with the ticking clock of a running wedding timeline. Cue: chills down my spine.
While drafting out a wedding photography timeline with Ida and Michael, I set up an early arrival. I'd start 3 hours before the ceremony, although I usually do 2 hours. I set proper buffers for each leg of the timeline.
I also set reasonable expectations, talking openly about the different timeline challenges. I encouraged the couple to remain open-minded if I had to move things around to accomplish everything on the wedding day.
Groom Getting Ready Portraits at Marriott San Juan Resort
At precisely 8 am, I drove to Michael's room at the Marriott San Juan and Stellaris Casino for his groom shots. He and his groomsmen were awake, dressed, and ready to start with their portraits.
The morning was bright and sunny, so we ventured outside the hotel rooms into the beach terrace downstairs.
Bridal Getting Ready at the AC Hotel by Marriott
After photographing his portraits, I walked to the AC Hotel by Marriot in Condado, where Ida had her finishing hair and makeup details.
I got acquainted with her parents, photographed her bridal accessories, and helped in any way I could to ensure a quick process.
When Ida was ready, and since it was such nice weather out, we went downstairs to photograph her beauty surrounded by nature.
Wedding Ceremony at Iglesia San José in Old San Juan
Even as we were a few minutes ahead of schedule, driving and parking into Old San Juan can always be an adventure. Driving times can double or triple without notice, and parking availability gets complicated. There was an art marked that day, so I asked my assistant to drop me off by the church as he figured out the parking situation.
The ceremony was beautiful, heartfelt, and full of love and excitement. We did all the family and group pictures right after the ceremony ended, before walking out, as the guests would have to start transferring to the last location soon.
Newlywed Photos in Old San Juan at Noon
Having a morning ceremony with no first look, put the timeslot for the couple portraits right by noon, the least ideal time for outdoor photography in Puerto Rico.
I advised Ida that instead of walking around Old San Juan for newlywed portraits, we would better off sticking to tree-shaded areas around the church to avoid harsh lighting and overheating.
Luckily, the couple was delightful, patient, and flexible, braving the harsh sun like troopers.
Wedding Reception at Restaurante Antonio in Condado
For the last leg of this wedding-day marathon, we drove to Restaurante Antonio. There, I photographed the reception decor before the guests entered, did a second round of indoor newlywed portraits, set up lighting for the event, and rested for a few minutes before the cocktail hour ended. Phew!
The protocol started with dances and speeches by Ida and Michael's parents, and then the party started! It is always so fun watching the couples out celebrating with their guests after such a heavy, formal start to their day.
It was an epic, beautiful, and emotional wedding. In true Puerto Rican wedding tradition, there were many locations, lots of energy, and just the right amount of chaos, and we had fun every minute!
Puerto Rico Wedding Vendors
Wedding Planner Jose L. Cabrera Rivera
Venue Restaurante Antonio
Church Iglesia San Jose
Photographer Camille Fontz
Florist Jose L. Cabrera Rivera
Wedding Cake Sabe a Gloria
Ceremony Music Los Violines de Marquito
Reception Music Son Caribe
Hair & Make-up Marta Chaves / Amado Salon / Naji Assaker
Designers and Wedding Party Retailers
Novias Otilio Santiago
Leonardo's 5th Avenue
La Muñequita Atelier
Live Art Creaciones Guiyari
Stationery Emerald Invitations, Quincy MA
Jeweler Kay Jewelers