When it comes to having a smooth and stress free wedding, having a rockin timeline is key! I have been fortunate enough to photograph a lot of beautiful couples on their big day, and the brides who seem to have less stress are the ones who have built out a strong timeline, and are able to delegate, but that is a whole other blog post.
So you are planning one of the biggest events of your life. You are spending thousands of dollars on catering, florals and let’s not even get into the cost of that wedding gown. You’ve booked your wedding photographer for a particular time and you want them to capture all the awesomeness. This will just not be possible unless you have a detailed timeline that allows time for the photographer to capture those important details, here are a few tips to making a stress free timeline.
Make sure you know what time vendors will be dropping off and set up completion. Your florist for example, should have timeline for drop off times, as well as how long it will take them to set up the ceremony, venue, and everything else that may be included in your floral package. This will be the same information you will want for the baker, caterer, ceremony and venue. You want to know what time these areas will be totally set up and ready for pictures. When it comes to your make-up artist and hairstylist you will want a timeline for their start and end time. I personally like to use the hair/make-up time to photograph all of your wedding details. Having your empty ceremony and venue pictures done is something you will want to have built into your timeline.
First look vs. non first look can be a stressful decision as some may feel like you are breaking a tradition where others want that extra time. If you decide to do a first look, you can also build in time to do bridal portraits as well. Most photographers will still want sunset portraits so build in an additional 15 mins for sunset portraits if it works with your day. If you are on the more traditional side then you won’t want to see your fiance prior to the ceremony, however building time in prior to the ceremony for your individual portraits, bridal party, and family portraits can really save you time. If you hired a second photographer they could be photographing the groom portraits, groomsmen, and his family as well. That way at the end of the ceremony you are mainly taking group shots and you can still enjoy some of your cocktail hour with your guest.
Give yourself buffer time for make-up/hair and your ceremony and round up on things like grand entrances and cake cutting. If you build in buffer times and things get behind this will take off a ton of stress.
Allow for drive time. Always include drive times if you your bridal suite, ceremony and reception are all in different locations. If it takes you 30 mins to get from point A to point B that should be added to your timeline.
I would highly recommend moving toast to the end of the meal. Your guest are probably hungry and ready to eat and more then likely you just did your first dance and to be honest it gives your photographers a bit of a break, they have been shooting non-stop for probably 5 or more hours. I may have a lot of people up in arms about this, another option would be to do them during dinner, so then you would just need to build in an hour somewhere else for your vendor hour break.
Check out this sample timelines:
12:00pm-1:00pm Bride getting hair done
1:00pm-2:00pm Bride getting make-up done
12:15pm-12:30pm Photography team arrives and scouts location
12:30pm-2:00pm Photography team photographs bridal prep and wedding details
2:00pm Florist arrives
1:30pm-2:00pm Groom details and getting ready shots
2:00pm-2:15pm Groom individual portraits
2:15pm-2:30pm Groom portraits with family
2:00pm-2:15pm Bride puts on gown
2:15pm-2:30pm Bride individual portraits
2:30pm Baker arrives
2:30pm-2:45pm Groom portraits with groomsmen
2:30pm-2:45pm Bride portraits with family
2:45pm-3:00pm Bride Portraits with bridal party
3:00pm Bride and Groom freshen up for ceremony
3:00pm-3:30pm Photograph ceremony venue
3:30pm-4:00pm Photography reception venue
4:45pm-5:45pm Cocktail Hour
4:45pm-5:00pm Extended family portraits
5:00pm-5:15pm Bridal Party Portraits (Grooms & Bridesmaids Together)
5:15pm-5:45pm Bridal Portraits
5:45pm-6:00pm Bride & Groom alone time and guest are seated for dinner
6:00pm-6:10pm Bride & Groom grand entrance
6:10pm-6:20pm Bride & Groom 1st dance
7:30pm-7:45pm Sunet Portraits
7:45pm-8:00pm Father & Daughter, Mother & Son Dance