We take great pride in photographing couples of all different cultures, ethnicities, and traditions – particularly, South Asian and fusion couples. 

And being South Asian ourselves, we know just how important the religious and familial details of your wedding are. Of which there are many! 

To ensure we capture them all, we help our couples create their wedding day timelines.  

But if you’re a South Asian couple who needs a jump start on their timeline or a fusion couple trying to determine what events to include on their wedding day, we’ve got the answers for you here!

For Starters…

In addition to a timeline outlining how your day will flow, your timeline will also help you determine the exact amount of photography coverage you will need.

It’s no secret that South Asian weddings are typically bigger and longer than traditional western or Christian weddings. And for this reason, we at Ishan Fotografi intentionally take on a limited number per year to devote the time and attention each one deserves. 

Additionally, we provide 12 hours of flexible wedding day coverage. In other words, we’ll provide 12 hours’ worth of coverage during the most important parts of your day, even if they don’t happen back to back. For example, it’s pretty common to have a break between the lunch following the ceremony and the evening reception. And during this multi-hour break, we won’t continue to run the clock. 

Sure, we might take some pictures as you change into your second outfit and/or get your hair and makeup redone. But otherwise, we don’t include this time in your 12-hours of coverage. You have flexibility and control of when you would like these 12 hours to be applied. And we’ll help you determine that as we help build your timeline!

How We Create Your Timeline

Photographers and planners all create timelines a little differently. Some start with the beginning of the day and work their way to the end. Others start at the end and work their way backward. Us? We use your ceremony start time as an anchor. Why? Because it’s the most significant part of the day. 

We start on your timeline approximately 3 months before. This way, the ceremony time is (typically) set in stone. And the timing of other major events has been ironed out. 

Using your ceremony as an anchor, we work backward and forward depending on your planned events and priorities. For instance, if images of the various dances during your reception are more important than images of you getting ready, we’ll plan for more time at the end of your day than at the beginning.

 

How to Build Your Timeline

While most South Asian weddings span days, if not weeks, the wedding day itself is commonly split into 4 major sections: Getting ready, ceremony/lunch, an afternoon break, and evening reception. 

Here’s how we typically divvy up our 12 hours of flexible coverage throughout the day:

 

GETTING READY

On average, getting ready consists of about 2.5-3 hours worth of photos, based on wedding parties of 20 people or less:

  • Details shots (Sari/lengha, shoes, rings, and other details): 30-45 minutes
  • Getting ready: 1-1.5 hours 
  • Bride makeup & hair: 20 minutes
  • Bride + bridesmaids robe or pajamas photos: 15 minutes
  • Bride getting dressed: 30 minutes
  • Bride solo portraits: 15 minutes
  • Gift exchange: 10 minutes

As you get ready, one of us will be photographing your partner and the other wedding party members. So, rather than adding more time to the schedule, we save time by photographing both parties simultaneously.

We also recommend the bride get her hair and makeup done first, as it often takes several hours. And, in turn, avoids the risk of running late. If needed, you can get touch-ups done after getting dressed, right before it’s time to head to the ceremony. 

Where to Get Ready

As far as choosing where to get ready, we recommend a room with lots of natural light. Your hair and makeup team will appreciate this too! It’s also a good idea to keep this room as clean as possible, so plan for a quick tidy-up before we arrive. (As hair and makeup start early in the morning, maybe plan to do this before going to bed.) Or, better yet, if you’re getting ready at a hotel, schedule housekeeping to do it!

 

Flat Lays & Detail Images

For images of flat lays and personal details, we recommend collecting these items together the night before or morning of and leaving them all in one place so we can easily find them – as it’s often the first thing we’ll capture when we arrive. These items usually include rings, shoes, perfume/cologne, jewelry, accessories, and the complete invitation suite. This way, 1) we won’t have to bug you for them as you’re getting ready. 2) It’s almost guaranteed that we will capture them. And 3) we can quickly move on to the next set of images on our schedule.

 

CEREMONY

Another big difference between South Asian and other weddings is the festivities before the ceremony. All in all, we usually account for 3-3.5 hours’ worth of coverage during this time.

  • Baraat: 30-45 minutes
  • Details of the ceremony/Mandap: 30 minutes
  • Ceremony: 1-2 hours 
  • Vidaai: 10 minutes
  • Family portraits: 30 minutes

 

Baraat:
A celebratory wedding procession for the groom involving live music and dancing. Click here for more information about the history and meaning of Baraat’s.

 

Mandap:
A 4-post elaborately decorated altar the couple and family sit under during the ceremony.

 

Vidaai:
A farewell send-off organized by the bride’s family that takes place directly following the ceremony.

While family portraits are traditionally taken at the Mandap, every wedding is different because of the number of family members and groupings of family members. As a general rule, it takes approximately 2-3 minutes per grouping. 

To help speed things along and ensure time flows smoothly, we recommend you designate a responsible wedding party or family member – or, better yet, your planner or one of their assistants – to keep everyone in line. Although we will have a portrait list to work from, it helps if this person also has one, as they know your family better and can identify who’s next on the list.

A large part of helping you with your timeline is ensuring this portrait list is planned to a T. This is why we’ll guide you on what is realistic given the time we have planned for them. For example, if you have 50 groups for portraits, we’ll recommend you cut that down to 30. Or, if it’s essential to do all 50, we’ll recommend we take half of them after the ceremony and the other half before the reception. Trust us – you or your family won’t want to stand around for an hour and a half taking photos. That’s fun for NO ONE. 

 

RECEPTION

As we mentioned above, your break is also our break. So while you get something to eat and start getting ready for the reception, we’ll take a few hours to do the same. And when you’re almost ready for the reception, we’ll start back up by capturing detailed images of your second look. And dive into couple’s portraits.

  • Details shots (Dress, shoes, rings, and other details): 30-45 minutes
  • Couple portraits: 1-1.5 hours
  • Family formals: 15-30 minutes
  • Wedding party: 20 – 30 minutes
  • Cocktail hour: 1-1.5 hours
  • Reception formalities (Entrances, speeches/toasts, specialty dances): 1-1.5 hours
  • Open dance floor: 1 hour

Cocktail hour is when it really comes in handy to have two photographers (like us!) on your team. While one of us is capturing your guests mingling and socializing, the other is setting up lights in the reception space and capturing details. We do not DO NOT photograph guests enjoying lunch, cocktail hour & dinner. We try our best to take photos of the setup before guests arrive AND if you have scheduled time for details to be photographed.

When it comes to dancing, we commonly get asked how much time we need to be there for. And the answer is always, “It depends.” If the thing you’re looking forward to most is having fun with your friends on the dance floor, or you’re planning a formal send-off, then yes, us staying throughout the entire night makes sense. 

Typically, though, 1 hour of dancing after formalities is plenty of time to capture memorable pictures of you and your friends on the dance floor.

Remember – every wedding is different. And so is every timeline. 

And if you’re ready for us to start working on yours, give us a shout!