Regardless of your location, style, or budget, there is something everyone can do to ensure their wedding runs smoothly: create a flexible and realistic timeline. Although not the most glamourous of wedding planning activities, taking a few minutes to really plan out the day can save you lots of heartache and stress.
Consider doing a first look
For those who have not heard of a first look, it’s when the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony. Usually this is a private moment between the couple, and a great opportunity to capture the reaction of seeing one another all dolled up for the big day. Although this goes against tradition, it has become a very common practice and many couples choose to incorporate a first look into their day. By doing this, we are able to take the majority of your posed photos prior to the ceremony, meaning you can actually go to your cocktail hour and spend more time with your guest – double bonus!
Give yourself time, and lot’s of it!
The best thing you can do for your wedding is give yourself lots of time! Meaning add extra time for getting ready, photos, and even your ceremony. This is especially important when it comes to hair and makeup, photography, video, and even design elements. These creative’s need time to do their jobs, and the more time you give them the better your final product will be.
Keep and eye on the sunset
Regardless of the time of year, be sure to look up the sunset time on your wedding date ahead of time. Since more photographers thrive on natural light, you’ll want to ensure there is plenty of time for photos before the sun sets. This is especially important if you do not decide to do a first look, since a large majority of your portraits will be taken after the ceremony. You can use this website to search complete sun and moon data in the US.
The less travel the better
The last thing you want to do on your wedding day is spend hours driving from one location to the next. If at all possible, choose locations that are fairly close to each other. Sometimes this isn’t possible when your ceremony and reception are in different venues, but you can still choose your getting ready location to be close to the ceremony. By keeping your travel to a minimum, you can spend more time enjoying your family and guests.
Ask your vendors for feedback
Don’t be afraid to ask for help! I am always happy to help my couple with their timelines if they are not working with a coordinator, or would like my input. Think of your vendors as your wedding team, we are here to make your life easier so don’t forget to utilize all the resources around you.
Make sure everyone is on the same page
Many vendors you will hire 12-6 months ahead of time, so it’s imperative that you confirm all the details ahead of time. This mean locations, delivery times, and all the details they are in charge of. Unfortunately miscommunications do happen, so to avoid any hiccups make sure you contact each vendor to insure everyone is on the same page for your big day.
I hope this information is helpful, and to get you going, I have included a sample photo timeline to work off of…
Sample Timeline with First Look
12:00 - Photographers arrive to brides getting ready location
12:30 - Guys begin getting ready
1:00 - Bride gets into Dress
2:00 - First Look + Portraits
3:00 - Bridal Party
3:30 - Family Pictures
4:00 - Bride + Groom rest while photo gets ceremony details
4:30 - Ceremony begins
5:00 - Ceremony concludes + Cocktail Hour begins
During this time we can take any extra family photos, a few more portraits, or you can enjoy cocktail hour.
**Sunset at 5:45pm**
6:00 - Reception begins + Guests take their seats
6:10 - Grand Entrance
6:15 - First Dance
6:20 - Blessing/ Welcome
6:30 - Dinner
7:30 - Father/ Daughter Dance – Mother/ Son Dance
7:45 - Cake Cutting
7:50 - Bouquet + Garter Toss
8:00 - Open Dancing