Anatomy of Wedding Timeline

IMG_0003Not quite sure how to plan out your wedding day? As wedding photographers, our team at Saiaf Films has been a part of countless weddings! We are here to share our tips and ideas for planning the most efficient wedding timeline!

Getting Ready:

  • Bride’s hair, makeup and dress: 2 1/2 – 3 hours. Depending on the hair and makeup style that the bride has chosen, two hours will give adequate time to make sure everything is perfect and to make any changes if necessary. This also gives time for any extra adjustments that may need to be made to the wedding dress or veil.
  • Bridesmaids’ hair, makeup, and dress: 2- 2 ½ Hours per person. Again, depending on the selected style of hair and makeup, this will provide enough time for any changes if needed.


  • If you have more than four people getting their hair and makeup done, it can be a good idea to ask your stylist to bring an assistant to cut back on time. Or, if you plan to travel to a salon, be sure to add extra time for travel.
  • Have the bridesmaids go first when the hairstylist arrives. That way, when the wedding photographer arrives, they have the opportunity to catch those last minute getting ready shots.
  • The bride should start with makeup. She can have the opportunity to relax and enjoy the last couple hours of styling, knowing that her makeup is applied and she is picture ready for when the wedding photographers arrive.
  • The wedding photographers should arrive about an hour before the bride is ready to go. This will give an adequate amount of time for them to capture the details (the gown, the shoes, jewelry, important heirlooms, etc.) The exciting and sentimental atmosphere between the bride and her bridesmaids and relatives are an ideal moment to capture on film.
  • If your wedding photographer has a male and female team, like Saiaf Films, they will have the opportunity to capture memorable moments while the groom and his groomsmen are preparing for the wedding as well.

Optional: Pre-ceremony photos & First Look: If you decide to take pre-ceremony pictures and share a First-Look, it is a good idea to allow around 2-3 minutes per shot or more if there is a large crowd. Here, you have the option to have pictures taken of the bride and her family, or the groom and his family, etc. The First Look can be anywhere around 15-30 minutes, depending on how many shots are taken. Also take into account whether or not your crowd is normally punctual or if there may be unexpected delays.

IMG_0268Ceremony & Post-Ceremony Photos:

  • Arrival of groom and groomsmen: This should normally take place around an hour before the ceremony begins. That way, there is time for setup and any final preparations.
  • Arrival of bride and bridesmaids: This should also take place around an hour before the ceremony if the bride plans to take photos at the church. It is important for the bride to stay as hidden as possible to prevent any onlookers from seeing the gown beforehand. Otherwise, if no pre-ceremony pictures are planned, the bride and her party can arrive right before the ceremony begins.
  • Ceremony: An ideal length for a ceremony is around 30-45 minutes. That provides enough time to have meaningful readings shared and any other events to make your ceremony unique and memorable.
  • Receiving line: If you plan to have a receiving line, the time can range depending on the amount of guests. For 100 guests or less- around 15-20 minutes should suffice. With 125-150 guests- around 25 minutes is average. Anymore than 150, you may want to consider holding off on the receiving line and saving the visiting for the reception to cut back on time.
  • Post-Ceremony Photos: If there wasn’t an opportunity to take photos beforehand, post-ceremony photos can be taken in a few variations (Family photos, bridal party, groom and groomsmen, friends and classmates.) You should allow around 2-3 minutes per picture depending on how organized the crowd is. Whether you did or didn’t have a First Look, allow 20-45 minutes for bride and groom pictures.


  • Save group or large photos for during the reception. You can have your DJ make an announcement to gather everyone together for a picture instead of trying to locate each person after the ceremony.
  • It is important to be prepared for the amount of photos or specific types of photos you may want. Discuss your options and desires with your wedding photographer to make sure they are on the same page and know which key moments you would like to have captured on your wedding day. Anticipate where you would like to have your wedding photos taken and plan it ahead of time with your wedding photographer that way there is no confusion in the moment.

Reception Order of Events

  • First dance: This event normally takes place after the bride and groom enter the reception. Although, you can always waitIMG_0794 and perform the first dance following the end of dinner.
  • Father & daughter dance: Usually follows the First Dance.
  • Mother & son dance: Here, you can choose to perform this dance following the father and daughter dance. Or, you can choose to do it simultaneously with the father and daughter dance.
  • Welcome toast:  These can be given by the father of the bride or by the bride and groom.
  • First Course Served: (Salad and/or appetizers)
  • Toasts: This can be a good time to begin the toasts. You can start with the maid of honor, then to the best man.
  • Second Course Served: (Main Dish)
  • Toasts: If desired, this can be a great time for the bride and groom to give a toast.
  • Let the Dancing Begin: Get the party started by opening the dance floor and allowing guests to begin dancing!
  • The Cutting of the Cake: You usually want to do this about two hours before the reception ends. That gives adequate time to ensure everyone gets a piece and enjoys watching the cake cutting moment.
  • Bouquet & Garter tosses: At least two hours before the end of the reception.
  • Late-night Snacks: This can be a good idea to help refuel your guests if you are planning a longer reception.\
  • Farewell: If you plan to grand exit, have your DJ or Band Leader make an announcement to have everyone line up at least 10 before the reception end. This is a good time to do a sparkler farewell. If you’re doing a sparkler farewell, for example, have guests start lining up about 10 minutes before you plan to exit.

Six hours is an ideal length for a reception. This allows time for a cocktail hour, about two hours for dinner and toasts, than about 3 hours for dancing. Any longer and you may have people needing to leave early, causing them to miss out on important reception events. Any shorter, and it may feel hurried or rushed.

Wedding Spotlight: Tarick & Stella’s Muslim Wedding

Tarick & Stella’s Muslim Wedding: The Hilton in Anaheim, California

Inspired by the work on our website, Tarick and Stella contacted us to photograph their Muslim wedding. After communicating with the couple via phone and email, we finally had the pleasure of meeting them on the day of their wedding. We were impressed by their infectious personalities and immediately knew that this was going to be an amazing event to be a part of. Prior to the wedding, our team started the day off by the beach taking some breathtaking wedding portraits of the lovely couple. They were naturals in front of the camera and their love was easy to capture on film.

Muslim Wedding

Wedding Decorations/Attire:

The wedding flowers were a varied palette of oranges and yellows and were an elegant touch to the wedding decor at this traditional Muslim Wedding.

Stella wore a gorgeous Muslim wedding gown along with sparkling ivory wedding shoes and was accessorized with beautiful shiny earrings that glistened as she danced the night away with her new husband.

 The Ceremony & Reception:IMG_9221

It began with a grand entrance of all family members followed by the bride and groom. After the arrival of the bride and groom, speeches were given by close friends and family. Their accounts were humorous and meaningful and made the couple laugh adding to the already fun and surreal atmosphere in the room.

Being that Tarick is a huge fan of Star Wars, one of his friends brought props from the movie creating a fun and memorable occasion. There was never a dull moment on the dance floor and the wedding DJ never missed a beat! This Arab wedding was a blast for our team to capture and we enjoyed the every moment and person we had the pleasure of meeting.

 Our Favorite Moment:

At Saiaf Films, we cherish inspirational moments. Tarick and Stella’s wedding was full of them! Our particular favorite took place towards the  end of the wedding when all the guests had left. We witnessed a special moment between Tarick IMG_9375and Stella that left a lasting impression on us. The newlyweds were dancing on the dance floor- just the two of them. They looked hopelessly in love and were comfortable  in each others gaze. As wedding photographers, these moments stay with us and remind us that love truly is the driving force of existence. Thank you Tarick and Stella for sharing your amazing and wonderful wedding day with Saiaf Films.

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Enhance Your Wedding Photography Experience

IMG_1358After months and months of planning your perfect wedding day, when it finally arrives, it may feel like a whirlwind of details and events zipping by. The ceremony, the cake, the flowers, the music- but the photos and wedding videography are the sole reminder of what happened on your special day. You owe it to yourself (and your family!) to do whatever it takes to make those reminders fabulous. Here at Saiaf Films, we have the honor to capture those moments for our special newlyweds and we would love to share our best wedding photography tips to ensure your big day is captured flawlessly.

Set a wedding day schedule and follow it the best you can!

Having a set wedding day schedule can be a huge advantage in capturing the perfect wedding photography scenes. Time of day can play a major factor in natural lighting, so planning your timing in advance can help guide your wedding photographer to capture ideal photos at specific times.

Share your vision and don’t forget the details.

Everyone has an idea of how they would like to look in photos. If you have a certain angle or a moment you don’t want photographed, let your wedding photographer know in advance. If you have a particular detail (an important heirloom, special wedding favor, etc) or event you would like special focus on, let us know. We want to make sure we capture all the angles you love most.

Have fun and don’t try to hard to make it “perfect!”

As seasoned wedding photographers, we have an enormous amount of experience capturing those perfect moments. Don’t stress yourself out trying to pose certain ways or act in a particular manner because you are being videotaped or photographed. The best thing to do is act naturally, relax and don’t look at the camera the entire time! Savor some of the most important moments of your life and enjoy being hopelessly in love with each other. Instead of stressing about posing correctly or looking perfect, let your wedding photographer capture the story of your day while you live it.

Consider having a “First Look.”

A First Look is when the bride and groom have the opportunity to see each other before the ceremony. This is an ideal way for them to spend a few moments alone and have their wedding portraits done ahead of time. The private moment alone can really calm the nerves and set the tone for the rest of the day. It can also free up time after the ceremony to enjoy friends and family instead of rushing off immediately to take pictures.

Let your friends and relatives relax and don’t let them get in the way!

Occasionally, there may be a friend or relative that wants to show up with their own photo equipment and help out by taking ‘unofficial wedding photos.’ Of course, they may be thinking that they are doing you a favor by capturing more wedding photos. Yet sometimes- they can get in the way and cause your wedding photographers to miss their shots. Unless you prefer to have the additional help, tell them to just relax and enjoy the wedding.Wedding Photographer

It’s not just our job to capture the best wedding portraits; it is our passion! Every little detail counts and our team at Saiaf Films is exceptional at securing those memories. Following our wedding photography tips will ensure you enjoy your special day to its fullest. Remember to relax, and just keep smiling!

5 Awe-Inspiring Wedding Reception Themes

Whether you have a look or feel in mind, or you have no clue where to begin- choosing a wedding theme is a surefire way to create an everlasting impression at your event. Our team at Saiaf Films has experienced and enjoyed a plethora of wedding receptions and would like to share a collection of inspiring wedding themes to help guide you in the right direction for your important day.

Rustic/CountryRustic Wedding Reception

Always a charming and popular wedding theme, rustic/country styled events are gaining fast momentum and popularity. This theme is inspired by rustic decor including mason jars, lace and burlap. With venues ranging from ranches, farms or backyard locations, the rustic wedding theme is ideal for those seeking a mildly laid back and relaxed elegant feel to their wedding. Illuminated by strings of lights or lanterns, a rustic theme reception can be accented with a variety of colors ranging from coral, soft yellow, sage green or even a pastel purple.


Classic Romance

Weddings are the sign of passion and romance, so what better than a classic romance theme? Elaborate flower arrangements, surreal lighting, frosty white color palettes, a romance inspired playlist and beautiful flower petals to line the aisle are perfect additions for those seeking a classically romantic wedding. White floating candles in elaborate vases can be added to accent the perfect table setting at your wedding reception.

Multicultural Wedding


Ethnic and multicultural weddings are ideal for embracing one’s family, cultural, traditions and color! With the use of rich fabrics and vibrant colors, the perfect ethnic feel can be achieved. Enhanced with dynamic fashion and beautiful jewelry, a multicultural wedding can appeal to its guests and bring an everlasting impression. Creative centerpieces paired with flowers and vibrant accents are ideal for the table settings. A key element to a multicultural wedding is lighting. It can be strong and bright to keep up with the other decor, or soft and luminous to create a balance between light and color. Whether it is an Indian wedding or it has the South Asian flair, a multicultural themed wedding is sure to be remembered.

Vintage Wedding ReceptionVintage

A vintage wedding theme is sure to create a delightful old fashioned impression on your big day. With accents of lace and champagne sequins, a vintage color palette can include grey, rose, ivory or even gold. Using chandeliers and lanterns will create the perfect lighting hue and can be accompanied with large floral arrangements placed in vintage vases. Variations can be added by using a vintage car for transport or even a horse and wagon. The possibilities are endless and are sure to capture the elegance and beauty of a bygone era on your wedding day.

Secret GardenIMG_6856

Nearly everyone loves and enjoys the idea of a secret garden. So why not incorporate that into a wedding theme? The key to unlocking this particular theme is to locate an intimate and lusciously green venue location which is an ideal spot for beautiful wedding pictures. Using a color palette of berry tones paired with a faded indigo or pastel maroon will enhance the elegance of this vision. Pairing hand-crafted touches with richly gathered floral arrangements adds an aura of wild elegance.

Not quite sure what theme best suits you? Feel free to browse through our portfolio for examples of the beautiful and memorable weddings Saiaf Films has had the privilege to photograph. Our team is experienced with a wide array of wedding reception themes and we are happy to share our ideas and experience to guide you on your way to the perfect wedding experience.

Roxanne and Gustavo’s Arizona Wedding

Roxanne and Gustavo’s Arizona Wedding was beautiful and breathtaking experience for all of us. This wedding was truly fit for a prince and princess. Upon arrival, we were greeted by Roxanne and Gustavo’s friends and family who were already having a great time. The bridal party had a blast with us as we were able to explore fun bridal party shots as the sun was setting. Roxanne and Gustavo were such an easy couple to photograph because their love came easy to them. The photos from this couple captured the true beauty that illuminated them. Roxanne and Gustavo’s wedding could not have been at a better time. With a light breeze in the Arizona air and as the sun was going down, they said their vows to one another. Roxanne and Gustavo’s wedding was a night to remember and our team loved being a part of this day with them.


Mike & Melissa’s Phoenix Engagement Shoot

Mike and Melissa were looking for a local Phoenix photography and videography team and came across our work. Their wedding is taking place in August of 2015 and our team will be covering their beautiful summer wedding. Recently our team covered their engagement “save the date” photoshoot. We had a great time exploring the beautiful painted backdrops and cityscape backgrounds that Downtown Phoenix had to offer. Our photographers captured gorgeous photos of this couple while the city lights lit their smiling faces. As we walked to our scouted locations for the shoot, we discovered gorgeous scenery that we just could not pass up for a photo. On our photo shoots we like to have creative fun when time allows it. at this time, we had gotten all of the shots we needed while the sun was going down so we were able to try out new locations on the spot for a different variety of photos and they turned out great. The photos we captured are all uniquely diverse because we were able to explore the location before and during the shoot. Our team is looking forward to covering Mike and Melissa’s huge Assyrian Wedding in August 2015. Assyrian Weddings are usually very large and Mike and Melissa needed our team here at Saiaf Films to handle the complexity of the wedding.


Lina and Khalil’s Wedding Videography

Lina and Khalil’s Muslim wedding in Arizona was an intimate event with family and friends. Saiaf Films covered their wedding photography and wedding videography for their wedding. Our team consisted of two female photographers and videographers and two male wedding photographers and videographers to cover the female side of the event and the males to cover the other side of the event. The wedding started with a welcoming of the groom into the brides family. We knew that this was a very intimate and special moment for the bride and grooms family so our team made sure to capture this special time with wedding photography and wedding videography. With their videography package, Lina and Khalil received a wedding montage. Their wedding montage was edited by our experienced editors, to music, to capture the elegance and intimacy of their wedding.


Mrwah and Issa’s Engagement Photo shoot

Mrwah and Issa are a Palestinian couple from Michigan, their wedding is on May 24th. Mrwah and Issa’s engagement photoshoot in Phoenix, Arizona gave us the chance to capture some absolutely stunning engagement photos. Mrwah and Issa determindely looked for a skilled Phoenix Wedding Videographer and Phoenix Wedding photographer and came upon our team here at Saiaf Films. Not only do Issa and Mrwah love the quality of our photos but they loved that they that they had the option to be involved with the editing process. Mrwah and Issa’s Phoenix wedding engagement photoshoot was an adventure as we explored local river banks to get the perfect shot, and that we did, and then some. We were really honored to have spent such valuable time with Mrwah and Issa and the team captured some truly breathtaking photos.