Tag Archives: Frequently Asked Questions

Wedding Day Schedule – Get your timings right on your special day

Wedding Day Timings

Wedding photographers in Stirling - JB Moments Photography

If you’re struggling to put together your schedule and don’t know how long to factor in for each element of your day then don’t worry, you are not alone!

Wedding day timings are possibly one of the hardest things to gauge, particularly if your wedding is the first large-scale event you’ve ever organised! Whilst there’s no one-size-fits-all template, I wanted to give you a rough guide of how long to allow for each part of your Big Day with some top tips sprinkled throughout!

So let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

Bridal Prep

What time you start your bridal prep and the amount of time you allow for this will ultimately depend on several factors including:

  • The size of your bridal party.
  • The complexity of your hair and makeup.
  • Whether you are having an individual hair and make-up artist or a team
  • How much you prepare in advance.
  • The time of your ceremony.
  • The distance between where you are getting ready and your ceremony location.
  • Whether you plan on having any photos with your bridal party prior to your ceremony.

The best starting point when it comes to working out how much time to allow is to ask the expert! If you are having your hair and makeup done professionally then ask your hair and make-up artist how long they think they will take. I asked my favourite expert Carla Haley and she said as a general rule,  allow a couple of hours for bridal hair and make-up and an additional 45 to 75 minutes for each member of your wedding party).

Work back from the start of your ceremony and factor in travel, putting on your dress (this takes longer than you think so give yourself at least 30 mins!) and timings from your hair and make-up artist. This will give you a rough idea of your starting time!

Top Tips!

Remember to factor breakfast and lunch (and of course a glass of bubbles!) into your bridal prep!

Wedding photographers in Stirling - JB Moments Photography

If your bridal party are doing their own hair and make-up then ask them how long they think it will take them to get ready and then double it! Overexcited bridesmaids will always take longer to get ready than they think!

Leave a margin of error of around 1 hour… This will ensure that you are ready in plenty of time and can enjoy the morning.

The Ceremony

When it comes to your ceremony and timings there are 2 elements to consider:

Firstly, what time should everyone arrive at the ceremony?

As a general guide I usually advise the following:

  • Groom, Best Man / Men and Ushers – 45 minutes before the ceremony.
  • Guests – 30 minutes before the ceremony.
  • Groom’s parents – 15 minutes before the ceremony.
  • Mother of the Bride and Bridesmaids – 10 minutes before the ceremony.
  • Bride and Father of the Bride – 5 minutes before the ceremony.

Secondly, how long should you allow for your ceremony?

This will ultimately depend on whether you are having a Religious Ceremony, a Non-Religious Ceremony, or a Civil Wedding / Partnership…

  • Non-religious Ceremony – 20 to 45 minutes.
  • Civil Wedding / Partnership – 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Religious Ceremony – 60 to 90 minutes.

Top Tip!

You may want to use your ceremony location for some group pictures and the confetti shot. If you do then remember to factor this into your timings.

Wedding photographers in Stirling - JB Moments Photography

Drinks Reception

Allow 1 ½ to 2 hours for your drinks reception as this will give your photographer plenty of time for your group and personal portrait shots. It will also give you enough time to mingle with your guests and enjoy your canapés and bubbles.

Top Tip!

If you want a longer drinks reception then it is essential to your keep your guests entertained and provide plenty of drinks and canapés!

Group & Portrait Photos

The number of group photos you want will ultimately determine how long your photographer will need. However, as a general rule of thumb allow 5 minutes per group photo and at least 30 minutes for your personal portrait shots.

Top Tips!

Make sure everything runs like clockwork by asking your photographer to scope out some potential backgrounds in advance. If they are like me they will do this anyway 😉

At your wedding photographer consultation ensure they make a list of different photos and combinations of your family and wedding party that you don’t want them to miss. Then arrange for the relevant people to gather at a designated spot right after your ceremony so that nobody goes AWOL (to the bar) when they’re needed for group shots!

Give somebody trustworthy (and someone who knows the difference between your dad and your distant uncle) the job of rounding everyone up for group photos and chasing any stragglers! This person should be the photographers best friend by the end of the group photos!

Wedding photographers in Stirling - JB Moments Photography

Seating your Guests

Allow up to 30 minutes for guests to move from the drinks reception to the location of your Wedding Breakfast and for them to then find their seats.

If you are planning on having a receiving line then allow an additional 40 minutes on top of this.

Top Tip!

Designate at least a couple of your Bridesmaids or Ushers to direct guests, assist with the receiving line and speed up any loitering guests!

This is a perfect opportunity for you and your new husband/wife to steal some time together. Whether that’s using the time for a little one-on-one time or indeed to capture those couple’s shots.


Allow no more than 30 to 40 minutes for your speeches with each speaker allocated up to 10 minutes. It is important to try and stick to these timings as speeches that take any longer normally result in fidgety guests and your evening may lose momentum!

Top Tips!

If you ask your speakers how long they think they’ll take always double it! From experience, I have never known a speech to run to time!

Wedding Meal

The best starting point when it comes to working out how much time to allocate for your Wedding Breakfast is to once again ask the expert!

Your caterers will be able to give you a guide on how long they think their service will take depending on the number of guests, choice of food, number of courses, number of catering staff and type of venue.

As a general guide allow up to 2 hours for a 3-course meal.

Evening Reception

Once the evening reception has begun timings can often go out the window!

However, there are some key elements that need to be factored into your schedule as otherwise they can easily be forgotten in the excitement of the evening’s festivities!

I, therefore, suggest you factor in the first dance, cutting the cake and throwing the bouquet no later than 45 minutes after the end of their wedding breakfast. This will also ensure that the photographer manages to capture everything before they leave.

Top Tip!

If you have invited evening guests ask them to turn up at least 30 minutes after your wedding breakfast. If for any reason your wedding breakfast overruns the last thing you want is to have evening guests turning up whilst people are still eating!

Wedding photographers in Stirling - JB Moments Photography

Each wedding is unique and timings will vary drastically between different celebrations. Use the above as a loose guide, but don’t feel like you’re doing it wrong if you want to deviate – it’s your day after all! Also, this covers lot’s of the traditional elements of a wedding and you may want to skip parts of these to suit you as a couple!

Happy Planning!

Wedding Planning – what should I do and when?

12 months + (or as soon as you get engaged)

• Set the date
Start your wedding planning twelve months or more in advance to ensure you get to book the venues and suppliers of your choice at the best prices. You could save money by booking a mid-week wedding instead of a Saturday.

• Decide whether to plan your own wedding
Or enlist the help of a professional wedding planner. You could plan the wedding yourself and call on the expertise of a wedding planner or stylist their experience is often worth its weight in gold.

• Send save-the-date cards
To make sure your guests don’t book their summer holiday and miss your special day. If you are booking a photographer see if they offer engagement shoots and use a cool picture for your save the date cards.

Wedding Photographer in Stirling - JB Moments Photography
My couple didn’t go with this design in the end but I thought it was such a cute idea.

• Set your budget
Make it realistic without going into debt and add in a contingency just in case.

• Draw up your guest list(s)
Try to make it equal and keep both families happy. Have a separate evening reception guest list if you want some work colleagues or friends of the family to come but you don’t know them well enough to invite them to the ceremony and the wedding breakfast.

• Book your venue(s)
The sooner you book your venues, the easier everything else will be to plan. You’ll need to book a venue for your ceremony (either a church, registry office or other licensed civil wedding venue) and a venue for your reception, for your wedding breakfast and disco or other after-dinner entertainment. Take into account seating capacity, room hire costs, catering options, indoor and outdoor settings for photographs. You could save thousands of pounds by booking out of season – many venues have fantastic winter wedding offers too.

• Appoint bridesmaids, a best man and ushers
Choose from close friends and family who are nearby ideally and, ahem, thoroughly trustworthy!

• Book your photographer and videographer
Find a wedding photographer who offers the style of photos you are looking for (traditional, contemporary, reportage style or a combination), meet with them personally, ask to see their portfolio and also a whole album from one wedding. Also, see my blog 10 things to ask your wedding photographer.

• Meet your minister/registrar
They’ll be able to answer all your questions about the ceremony.

• Book a DJ/band/entertainers
You might want to book a DJ to dance the night away or hire a live band or classical musicians for your reception. Some couples like to have a singer perform a live solo piece at their ceremony, others book magicians or celebrity lookalikes for their evening reception just to add a sense of fun!

• Book caterers if needed
If the reception venue you have booked is not doing your catering then you’ll need to consider hiring outside caterers or, if your budget is tight, catering the wedding with buffet party platters from your local supermarket.

• Book your cars
You’ll need to book one bridal car for you and the person giving you away and you may also want to book a second or third car for your mother and bridesmaids. If you want to make it easier and fun for all your family and friends – book a bus! You could get some amazing wedding photos of you and your guests atop a vintage double-decker bus!

• Book your florist
Decide how many flowers you would like and where, or if you’re on a tight budget, invest in everlasting silk flowers that can be sold on after the wedding. A combination of real and silk flowers can also work. Ask your local florist for advice.

• Book a toastmaster
You might think you don’t need a toastmaster or master of ceremonies, or be worried that having one will make your wedding day feel too formal. They’re worth their weight in gold for ensuring everything goes to plan at the right time, in the right place and with the right people. A lot of venues offer this as part of their package so be sure and check.

• Book your honeymoon
Whether you’re planning just a honeymoon or a whole wedding abroad, book it in your maiden name and use your existing passport, then change all your documents to your married name when you return.

• Take out wedding insurance
It’s not costly and could save you thousands if a supplier suddenly lets you down. It’s worth it just for peace of mind!

• Decide what kind of wedding dress you want
If you’re having a couture wedding dress made for you then you’ll need to start this process now. If you’re ordering a designer dress then allow 4-6 months and if you’re buying off-the-peg or second-hand, 4-6 weeks before should be fine for alterations if needed.

• Start your healthy eating diet and exercise programme
Whether you want to lose weight or simply tone up for your wedding day and honeymoon, there is no better time to start than now! Go to the gym together as a couple or go with a friend. You’ll never have such amazing motivation to look good again!

6 months +

If you’re planning to DIY some aspects of your wedding – such as making your own invitations, table centres, cake or favours, then you will also need to build in time for practice as well as production – just to be on the safe side! Now is the time to start.

• Order/make your wedding invitations
Don’t forget all the other wedding stationery including orders of service, place cards and thank you cards.

• Order the wedding cake
Or cupcakes or ‘cheese cake’, or have your wedding cake homemade.

• Buy your wedding shoes and accessories
Get your shoes in good time for your first dress fitting, and your tiara and veil in time for your makeup and hair trial. Choose what jewellery and any other bridal accessories you will wear.

• Book your make up artist and hairdresser
Speak to several to find the one that’s right for you, then book a hair and makeup trial complete with your tiara and veil if possible.

• Buy your bridesmaid’s dresses and suits for the groom, best man, ushers and any flower girls or page boys.

• Book the honeymoon suite

3 months +

• Have your wedding dress altered
And then don’t lose any more weight!

• Buy your wedding rings
Make sure they are both the right size and that your wedding ring will sit comfortably alongside your engagement ring if you plan to wear them together.

• Send your wedding invitations
Traditionally they are sent out 6-12 weeks before the wedding but you can send them sooner if you prefer. Include information for your guests on overnight accommodation, transport, parking and any dress code if appropriate. Include reply cards to ensure they all RSVP and ask your guests if they have any specific dietary requirements. Or use a free wedding website like www.gettingmarried.co.uk

• Order your venue décor and table decorations
Including table centrepieces and traditional wedding favours thought to bring good luck.

• Decide if you are having  a gift list
Make it available to all your wedding guests (through your invitations) and your wedding website if you have one.

• Choose wedding music and readings
Your minister/registrar will be able to advise further. Or check out my wedding music blog here.

• Buy gifts for the best man, ushers and bridesmaids
And bouquets of flowers for the mothers of the bride and groom. Personalised gifts with your own message engraved make very special keepsakes.

• Arrange to have any vaccinations done
If required for your honeymoon.

• Start to plan your hen and stag parties
With the help of your best man and chief bridesmaid respectively.

1 month before

• Arrange for a final fitting of your wedding dress
And bring along your mum, sister or best friend too!

• Reconfirm the wedding arrangements with all your suppliers
Speak to them personally and make sure you have confirmation of dates, places and times in writing from them.

• Have your last nights of freedom!
And don’t do anything you wouldn’t want him/her to do… Wear L plates if you want to!

• Finalise the seating plan
And make your table planner for the reception so guests know where to sit.

• Contact any guests who have not replied to your invitation
The venue and the caterers will need to know final numbers at least 1-2 weeks before. Parents are great at helping to chase up RSVPs so rope them in to do some chasing for you!

• Arrange a date to pick up any hired suits
And make a note of when they need to be returned – give that honour to your best man.

• Write the wedding speeches
Either have it written by a professional speech writer or write from the heart, and then practice, practice, practice…

1 week before

• Have your hair trimmed and/or coloured
Then you’ll know it’s looking its best for your ‘up do’ or curls on the big day, but only do as planned in your hair trials – this is not the time to experiment with a new colour or drastic style changes!

• Pack for your honeymoon
You’re going on the holiday of a lifetime!

• Wear-in your wedding shoes
Don’t wear bridal shoes outside, but do wear them around the house to make sure they’re comfy on the day.

• Create a wedding emergency kit
Include makeup, a compact mirror and powder, lipstick, tissues etc – anything you think you might need on the day. Ask your chief bridesmaid or your mum to carry your bridal kit for you.

• Order your foreign currency for your honeymoon
And make any other last-minute arrangements.

• Buy ivory wedding umbrellas
If the weather ahead looks rainy invest in some bridal umbrellas or for a sunny day, pretty parasols. Check and see if your Photographer brings any before you buy. Some, like me, do!

• Have your beauty treatments
Go for pre-wedding and honeymoon waxing or fake tanning in good time before the big day. Get eyebrows shaped and anything else that needs attention done the week before, not the day before.

• Find your ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’
Ask your mother or grandmother for something old, the rest is easy and a silver sixpence is meant to bring good luck.

• Hand over the supplier list of contacts to a designated person
Give the list of all the wedding suppliers involved in your wedding day with their contact details and times they are meant to arrive, in case they need to be contacted, to your best man and/or chief bridesmaid and then do not give it all another thought!

The day before

• Have the day off to relax
Don’t go to work, spend the day with friends or family and don’t do anything too exhausting.

• Drop off anything you need to at the venue(s)

• Have your nails manicured
Book it for the afternoon to avoid chips and breaks.

• Try to get an early night
You’re getting married in the morning!

On your wedding day, the one thing you should try to keep in mind is that it’s not the end of your wedding planning, it’s the beginning of your marriage. So whatever may happen on the day, your marriage is what really matters most, and that’s why it will be a wonderful day you’ll remember for the rest of your life.

Wedding photographer in Edinburgh - JB Moments Photography

Happy Wedding Planning!

For more useful info like this please sign up to my monthly wedding newsletter here.

Changing your name when you get married


What’s in a name?

One of the things on your post-wedding to-do list will be deciding how and when to legally change your name after the wedding. Whether you’re taking your partner’s name, sticking to your maiden name or using a combination of both surnames, there are a few options to consider when it comes to changing your name after marriage and some legal requirements you must do to officially change your name.

The ‘to dos’ don’t stop once you say ‘I do’.

Church wedding by JB Moments Photography

What are my choices?

Taking your Partner’s Name

This is the most traditional route that couples choose to go down, with the woman more often than not taking the man’s surname. Although it is less common, there are some men who opt to take their new wife’s surname too.

Double Barrelling

Some men and women decide to adopt a double-barrelled surname. This works well if you both have fairly short, easy to pronounce surnames like “Smith-Beckett” or “Patel-Jones”. Longer, more complicated surnames might be less appealing, but if you wish to “double barrel” your name, you can do so.

Changing Your Maiden Name to Your Middle Name

Another option is to change your maiden name to a middle name, so it is still part of your legal name – and your partner could adopt your maiden name as a middle name too. This is a great choice for women who want to keep in with tradition but don’t want to completely let go of their family name.

Meshing Surnames

A new idea, growing in popularity, is to combine your surnames – also known as meshing. The most famous example happened when the journalist and TV presenter Dawn Porter married the actor Chris O’Dowd and changed her name to Dawn O’Porter.

Fusing your surnames is a good choice if you want to make a statement – and a totally fresh start – as a new married couple, and it’s seen as a good choice for equality. Do be careful if the new name you create sounds silly or is chosen with tongue in cheek: remember that this is going to be your legal name from now on, and a name you’ll pass on if you have children.

Keep it Informal

Another, less formal, compromise is to keep using your maiden name unofficially, not changing your name or email address at work, for example. You’ll still need to let your HR and accounts departments know that your name has legally changed (particularly if you’ve changed the name on your bank account), but you can let your colleagues know that you’d like to continue using your maiden name in a professional capacity.

The legal bit

Once you have decided what you want to do about your name after you get married, there are a few legal basics you should know:

Taking your husband’s name after marriage: you don’t need to change your name by deed poll to do this, but you do need to send a copy of your marriage certificate to all relevant authorities, such as the DVLA, and your bank – check if the organisation you are contacting requires the original marriage certificate or will accept a copy. You will also need to apply for a new passport: if you want to book your honeymoon tickets in your new name, you can apply in advance (see below).

Same-sex couples: if a same-sex couple decides to share one of their surnames, the partner who is changing their name will be able to use their marriage or civil partnership certificate to update their personal records and will not need a deed poll.

Keeping your maiden name: if you decide to keep your maiden name you don’t have to do anything as none of your personal records or accounts will need to change.

Using a maiden name as a middle name: if you choose to do this, you must apply to change your name by deed poll using a specialist agency or a solicitor. You’ll need to supply a copy of your marriage certificate to make this change, and you’ll need to have your deed poll certificate before you can apply for a new passport – so it’s probably safest to book your honeymoon tickets in your maiden name if you’re heading straight off on holiday.

Using a double-barrelled name: If a woman wants to double barrel her surname she will need to change her name via deed poll. If a wife and her husband want to adopt the same double-barrelled name, the man could change his name via deed poll before the wedding and then his wife can simply use her marriage certificate to apply for a new passport/change her records after the wedding (saving on the expense of two deed polls). The same applies to a same-sex couple if one partner changes his/her name before the wedding/civil partnership.

Taking your wife’s name after marriage: if a man wants to formally change his surname to his wife’s, he will need to change his name by deed poll.

Meshing your names: You can mesh two surnames (e.g. John Smith and Jane Doe become John and Jane Smoe) or create a totally new surname to share. Doing this requires a deed poll and if you want to keep your old surname as a middle name, you can do this at the same time.

Who do I need to tell?

  • The passport office
  • The DVLA (driving licence, vehicle registration)
  • HM Revenue and Customs
  • Child Benefit
  • Local Authority (Council tax and electoral register)
  • Land Registry
  • Student Loans
  • Your employer
  • Your bank or building society
  • Your mortgage provider
  • Your pension providers
  • Credit card companies
  • Your phone & broadband provider
  • Your doctor
  • Your dentist
  • Your Vet
  • Your Gym
  • Your motoring organisations (breakdown cover)
  • Utility companies (gas, water, electricity providers)
  • Your insurance company (motor, home, travel, pet)
  • Loans companies
  • Magazine subscriptions
  • Store cards & online accounts
  • Any clubs or societies you are a member of

Useful Information For Passport Changes

You can change your name on your passport up to 3 months before the ceremony.  Your old passport will then be cancelled.

The new passport is ‘post-dated’ which means it is valid from the date of your ceremony. You can’t use it before the ceremony.  Some countries won’t issue visas for post-dated passports so do check with the country’s consulate.

To renew your passport you can either:

  • Apply online.
  • Apply using a standard passport application form which you can pick from any Post Office branch.
  • You must also send A ‘Post-Date Form 2’ along with your application.

The religious minister or registrar who will conduct the ceremony must sign this, as must you with your current name and signature.

This was first published for subscribers of my monthly wedding planning newsletter. If you wish to get helpful hints and tips to plan your perfect day – sign up here.

Update: in Scotland you don't need to change your name by deed poll. Scots law allows you to be known by any name you choose providing there is no intent to defraud.
JB Moments Photography - Child portrait

Frequently Asked Questions


“The important thing is not to stop questioning” – Albert Einstein

In my old life I used to tell my team there was no such thing as a stupid question and it’s true in my photography business as well. If you have a question, chances are loads of other people have had the same question, you’ve just been the one brave enough to put your hand up!

JB Moments Photography - Child portrait
Me! Ask me! I’ve got a question…

There are some questions I get asked regularly so I thought I’d compile them all into this handy blog post.

I hate getting my picture taken, I don’t want posed photos, how can you help me?
JB Moments Photography - Wedding couple

I don’t like stiff, posed photos either! My aim is to get you to relax enough that you forget you are getting your picture taken. Seriously! I will do this by chatting with you, getting you to undertake certain activities and getting you to interact with other people in the shot. Check out my reviews – it works!

What should I wear to a photo shoot?

It depends on the type of session you are having but generally, I always suggest you keep it simple – it’s best to avoid wearing bold colours and patterns when you come to a session. If it’s a family session try and coordinate your clothes with the other family members. If in doubt a pair of blue or black jeans and a neutral top is always a winner. With babies and little ones feel free to bring a few outfit changes! Once you book a session with me I send you out a handy guide to help you get the best out of your specific session.

Blue jeans and white t-shirt combo - JB Moments Photography

Can I have the pictures straight out of the camera?

I shoot all my pictures in RAW (which is a bit like shooting in film, for those of you old enough to remember!). You need software to convert the RAW images into pictures and like film they need to be ‘developed’. A RAW image straight from the camera is pretty flat and needs bringing to life in post-processing.

When taking group shots I tend to overshoot so if someone closes their eyes I can fix it. You don’t want lots of  varaitions of the same picture so part of the post-processing is to edit and cull the images until you have a beautifully curated set of images from the shoot.

Why do you charge so much for a Newborn, Wedding, etc?

Groom and Groom - JB moments Photography

When you hire me to photograph your wedding, you aren’t just hiring me to photograph you in all your finery. You are enlisting me to help you remember fleeting moments and feelings you just can’t put into words. That feeling when you see each other for the first time on the day. That moment when your dad gives you away and your two families join together through your union.

Likewise, when you hire me to photograph your newborn child, you aren’t just hiring me to photograph your cute wee bundle of joy. You are procuring me to capture that moment when unconditional love took on a real, tangible meaning. The moment you fully transition from being in love to being a family.

In order to provide you with the highest level of service tailored to your needs, I maintain my insurance, training and membership to professional bodies to the highest level. I also ensure my equipment is up to date and my product line is top quality.

I know that your family and loved ones are the most important thing in the world to you, and I know you want images you can treasure for the rest of you life. Every photographer has different ways of operating their business and the quality of the final product reflects that. Make sure you do your research and find the photographer that is the best fit for you.

Why do photographers prices vary so much?

Just as in any other business Photographers have different ways of running their business and have different outlays and overheads that will affect their prices. Doesn’t necessarily mean an expensive photographer will be any better than a cheaper one but they may be more experienced, been in business longer, renting an expensive studio space, etc. Always look at a potential photographers website and portfolio to make sure you like their style.

Some photographers prefer in-person sales (or IPS for short) and this means that you will pay a small, (or sometimes no), shoot fee and will return once your photos are ready to pick and purchase which prints you want individually. Others charge one upfront fee that includes your shoot and your images.

Neither one is better or worse than the other, it all depends on personal preference. Having had a terrible experience as a customer of the IPS version when I felt pressured into buying far more expensive items than I wanted I decided that wasn’t for me. My fees include shooting time, editing and all edited images on a USB device that you can print and share as you wish up to 10×8” size. You can order prints, canvases and books from me via your online gallery or in person – but only if you love your images, not due to a hard sell!

How many photos will I get?

Every session is different but rest assured you’ll get as many as I can. The expected minimum number is quoted on my full services and price list (but I usually go over this!).

Can you make me look younger, taller, slimmer, etc?

My aim is to shoot you in the best possible light and in a way that flatters you. I will retouch images if I think they need it and to help you look your absolute best. I will remove anything that isn’t normally there e.g. blemishes, pimples, strap marks, etc but I won’t change somebody fundamentally. You’re gorgeous just as you are!

Bride close up - JB Moments Photography

How long will you keep my pictures for – I might not be able to afford a wall canvas/album/storybook now but might want one in the future?

I will hold your images for twelve months on my online client gallery. Don’t worry I will contact you before I remove them.

Still got a question that I haven’t answered? Message me and I’ll do my best to help 🙂