When it comes to your wedding day, something you might not think about having to figure out is the timeline. As a guest at a wedding, you don’t really think about the timing or flow of events – you just go from ceremony to reception & enjoy! When it comes time for your own wedding, you realize pretty quickly how many things are included in the timeline & it can seem a little overwhelming at first (especially if event planning isn’t something you’re used to doing!).
If you’re working with a planner, they will be able to help you nail down a timeline for your day. Having a detailed plan allows all of your vendors to make sure they are on the same page to make your day go as smoothly as possible!
When you’re working on detailing out your timeline (whether it’s you or your planner), I recommend making sure your photographer is able to chime in as well. Your photographer is going to be the expert when it comes to how much time is needed to capture various parts of the wedding day, and can collaborate with your planner to make sure everything is lined out to provide ample time for each portion while reducing stress! If there are certain photos that mean the most to you (getting ready, details, bride & groom portraits, etc.), be sure to mention that to your planner & photographer so that they can be sure to build in sufficient time for those topics in particular!
If you aren’t working with a planner, don’t get overwhelmed at the thought of breaking everything down for a timeline. I always send a tentative timeline to my brides & grooms so that they have a starting place to go from, and can see how their selected amount of wedding day coverage will span the day’s events.
Here are a few tips for planning your wedding day timeline:
- Break the day into sections (pre-ceremony, ceremony, & reception) to make it more manageable. Then look at just one section at a time & take a break once it’s planned!
- Know what you want. Will you be doing a first look? Will you be doing a father-daughter first look? Do you want group shots of you & your bridesmaids during getting ready (think matching cute robes or monogrammed button downs!) & once you’re dressed? Are you doing something unique for your exit that you want to be sure you have in photos? Knowing all of the key moments that are important to you (outside of the ceremony) will be really helpful in making sure you can have intentional time scheduled for them!
- Give yourself some cushion. One of my favorite things is when the timeline includes a bit of a breather for my bride & groom (& the rest of the bridal party) prior to the ceremony. I’ll be using that time hard at work photographing ceremony or reception details while you all get to relax, grab a bite to eat, or sip a coffee (or mimosa) real quick. Having a bit of blank time prior to the ceremony also allows some cushion if getting ready took longer than expected, and portraits need to get pushed back a bit.
- Ask the experts. You’ve selected vendors that you love & trust, so let them help you plan the timeline! As wedding vendors, we do this all the time, but you shouldn’t have to feel like you need to be a pro at timeline structure. Don’t be afraid to ask for help in getting it all figured out!
- Plan ahead, but be flexible. Wedding days always have curveballs that can throw a timeline off a little bit, and that’s ok! As your wedding photographer, I am prepared to be flexible (and after more than a decade of planning & running major events, I’ve gotten pretty darn good at adjusting throughout the day!).
For more in the For Brides series, check out these posts: