10 THINGS TO THINK ABOUT WHEN CREATING YOUR WEDDING DAY TIMELINE

Hello Bride-to-Be!
Before you get too far in the wedding planning process, I wanted to take a second and share some tips about wedding day timelines with you! I wouldn’t want you to get a month out of your wedding and realize that you only have 40 minutes to take all the pictures that you need. And for many people, this is their first time at planning a wedding, so I want to get this post in front of you now so it can help you determine your pre-ceremony, ceremony time, reception time, if you wish to do a first look or not, how much time is needed for pictures, etc.

So here are my 10 TIPS to think about:

  1. Check the sunset time for your wedding day! Type into google “sunset time, {Wedding City} {Wedding Date}.” Use this as the center of your timeline. If you’re having an outdoor ceremony, schedule your ceremony start time to be anywhere from 60 minutes – 2 hours before sunset time for optimal lighting conditions. This is known as the golden hour, and your pictures will be dreamy and gorgeous!! If you’re doing an indoor ceremony and not doing a first look, make sure you give your photographer 2 hours to complete Bride and Groom Portraits, Family Formals, and Wedding Party Formals before heading to the reception. *THEREFORE, Do not schedule your ceremony 30-60 minutes before if you are doing portraits after, then you’d want to schedule is 2-3 hours before sunset.

2. If you are doing a first look, it’s a great idea to do ALL your formal pictures before the ceremony begins so you can enjoy most of your cocktail hour! Ideally, 2 hours of picture time is necessary to get all the magical moments and ensure a stress-free portrait time! 2 Hours include Bride and Groom, Family, and Bridal Party photos TOTAL. If you have a large bridal party and a large immediate family, allot for about 30 minutes. I’ve personally only heard only great things about doing their formal photos BEFORE the ceremony!

3. Schedule hair and make-up to start two hours before you think you need to, and if you have a large bridal party, make sure you have more than one hair and make-up person. Giving yourself ample time in the morning is ESSENTIAL. Plus, if you’re done early, there’s more time for champagne and dance parties, right?!

4. Keep in mind how much time it takes to travel between all your venues (Getting Ready, Ceremony, Reception) and account for this in your timeline and your hourly coverage. If you have an hour of travel, ask about adding an hour to your contract to account for possible missed photo time. Having everything at the same place is ideal, but I know it can’t always be the case. I do recommend booking a nearby Airbnb for getting ready that has lots of windows, white walls, for beautiful lighting and short travel time! And if you book two nights, you can use the same place to go back to that night with just you and the groom, which means you don’t have to pack EVERYTHING and get it all out that same morning.

5. Keep ALL your details in one place in the morning when the photographer arrives. I provide a list of everything I will want to photograph, which saves a TON of time in the morning if it’s all ready to go to start the detail shots!

6. Give the photographer time to capture the Reception details untouched! If your portraits are all happening during the cocktail hour, make sure to give your photo team enough time to go into the reception space before your guests do to capture the details, the room untouched (with no people in it), and to set up their lights. Fifteen minutes is usually sufficient! But this can get difficult if only one photographer is hired, you do not opt to do a First Look, and the location to photograph the portraits after the ceremony is not at the venue. There would be no opportunity to do this. These are all factors to think about!

7. Pick a location that is close to your ceremony and reception venue (or better yet, they’re all at the same place!) A lot can happen when a lot of travel is involved, so to ensure things stay on time make sure you’re close! This also gives you more time to hang out with friends and family and less time driving around stressing out about things!

*Lighting is everything!!* The worst thing you could imagine for a photographer or hair and make-up artist is a windowless room or a room with tiny windows. Look for a bridal suite that has an abundance of natural light streaming in! So feel free to check out the local Airbnb listings in the area of your venue (if there is not a home to get ready in that is near it). Most Airbnb’s are super cute with minimal things on the walls, making prep pictures look much cleaner and inviting. The times I’ve had the pleasure of shooting prep in an Airbnb are my favorite prep photos to date. You can also typically find an Airbnb that fits your wedding style, so all your pictures are cohesive rather than in a modern or outdated hotel room. Hire a day-of wedding coordinator to help keep all vendors on time and ensure the day runs smoothly. They also take care of any hiccups that happen, such as but not limited to: your bouquet not being the right flowers and needing to be redone. Having the wrong lipstick color, or forgot to buy flipflops to have when your feet start hurting, etc. Don’t let this fall onto your bridal party or family members to fix, and they’re here to enjoy the day too! I have become this role in many ways since I help uphold the timeline, but days are always better with one and is something many brides regret not having.

8. Hire a day-of wedding coordinator to help keep all vendors on time and ensure the day runs smoothly. They also take care of all hiccups that happen, such as but not limited to: your bouquet not being the right flowers and needing to be redone. Having the wrong lipstick color, or forgot to buy flipflops to have when your feet start hurting, etc. Don’t let this fall onto your bridal party or family members to fix, and they’re here to enjoy the day too! I have become this role in many ways since I help uphold the timeline, but days are always better with one and is something many brides regret not having.

9. If your photography and video only cover a set number of hours, make sure all your essential reception events fall into the time that they are there. I usually advise doing it all at the front end so that you can truly relax after you eat and dance the night away!

10. HAVE FUN. Because at the end of the day, no matter what tiny details go wrong (which something always does), you are still marrying the love of your life. Marriage is the biggest thing you need to prep for! But of course, I want to ensure your special day goes the best that it can as we PLAN!!! Whether it be planning the wedding day or prepping for marriage, I want you to be proactive, rather than reactive!