Okay, you’ve got your wedding team set, your Pinterest board is full of great ideas and everything is looking good, but now you need to figure out the dreaded timeline. If you are like most of our couples, you really don’t know where to start with this one. Maybe you have been in a wedding party before, and you have likely attended a couple weddings over the years, but you are still left feeling more than a little overwhelmed trying to figure out when everything should take place on your wedding day.
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered as today’s Tuesday’s Top Tips is all about tips for creating your wedding day timeline!
- Start With What You Know
In almost all cases, there are some hard and fast times that you need to account for in your timeline. If you are at a venue that has multiple weddings throughout the grounds, they may have certain time slots to choose from for your ceremony, or if your officiant is part of another wedding that day, they may have to be done by a specific time. Maybe your venue has a recommended start/end time for your meal, or perhaps you have a special event happening that can’t be moved around (fireworks for example). Whatever it is, these set time are a great place to start when you are figuring out the timing for your wedding day.
- Figure Out Your Options
There is no one way to go about your wedding day anymore and at first all of the options can be a little overwhelming, but if you can narrow down a few of them, the rest tend to fall in place nicely. For example, are you interested in doing a First Look (seeing each other before the ceremony)? If so, did you want to do all of your photos beforehand as well (including wedding party and family portraits)? If you aren’t keen on seeing each other before the main event, then you will need to plan some sort of cocktail hour for your guests to enjoy while you are off with your photographer after the ceremony (check with your vendors on whether it should actually be an hour – we always recommend at least 1.5 hours).
- What Do You Want Captured?
You have hired a great photographer to help you remember the day for years to come, so definitely think about what you actually want to be included in their coverage and what can be captured by your (likely drunk) family and friends and their phones. Are you doing a cake cutting, bouquet/garter toss, family dances, special exit, etc.? If so, some of those things may need to be bumped up earlier in the evening than you may think to ensure they are caught properly by the professionals.
Bonus Tip: This is also a great time to check to see if you have enough coverage with your photographer as perhaps you need an hour or so more than you thought you would when you originally booked with them.
- Think About The Sun
Light is obviously critical to getting your images captured. And if you are in love with that glowy, sunset light, definitely keep that in mind when you are planning when your portraits will take place. We like to make sure all the outdoor photos are done at least 30-45 minutes before the sun is scheduled to set. If your portraits will be done much earlier in the afternoon, consider setting aside 15 minutes or so around sunset to get a few extra portraits.
Bonus Tip: Night photos are also a great item to add to your timeline. Another 15 minutes with your photographer after the sun has gone down can give you a completely different looking set of portraits!
- Talk to and Trust your Vendors
When it comes right down to it, the people you hired to help you with your day have attended a lot of weddings – like a lot! They have seen so many different ways of doing things and they can help you out big time when it comes to your timeline. They tend to know how long things typically take and may be able to catch a few things you have missed. So I recommend checking in with your vendors to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything, to make sure they have enough time for their parts of the day, and to see if they have any general helpful tips for you.
- Leave Wiggle Room
Sorry to break it to you, but wedding days are very rarely on time. Even if you are the most Type A person out there, something is going to get delayed. We always recommend adding extra time to pretty much everything in your timeline. It may sound silly, but even getting a bride in a car tends to take twice as long as you think it will (those dresses are big!), and literally any time you get close to a group of your guests, there will be an endless sea of hugs and congratulations (they’re obviously nice, but can really eat into your timeline if not accounted for). And if you end up not needing all of the wiggle room, then that’s really just bonus time that you can use to get a few more photos, some extra hugs from loved ones, or just a few minutes to relax.
When it comes right down to it, there is no right or wrong way to go about your timeline. My best advice is to make sure everyone is on the same page (wedding party, family and vendors) and then try your best to relax and go with the flow once the wedding day starts up.
And if you are really having troubles (and don’t have a wedding planner), ask your photographer for help. We help out all of our wedding couples when it comes to their timeline to not only make it a little easier for them, but also to make sure they are getting the most of their time with us throughout the day.
Want more useful tips and tricks for your big day? Keep an eye out every month for this (hopefully) helpful feature!! And check out past editions below: