One of the most stressful things you’ll do during your wedding planning is creating your Wedding Timeline.
There are a million things to think about, and how do you make sure they’re all taken care of? We’ve got a few tips, and a few printables to help take some of the stress away.
Tip #1 – let your photographer help you with your timeline. 😉 I’m biased … but seriously. Yes, we can shoot quickly, but if you have ideas you want to try or if you want us to really get creative and not cookie-cutter, our advice will help a lot.
Things you’ll need to know right up front:
What time do you have access to your venue?
What time do you need to be out of your venue (cleanup included)?
What time does sun set (approximately) on your wedding day?
First Dance, Father Daughter Dance, Mother Son Dance, Bridal Party Dance
From these things, you’ll get a better idea of when and how things need to happen. It’s easier to work backwards, so the first things you’ll note is what time you get access, and what time you need to be out.
Next, you’ll decide when you want your ceremony to start. A few things to keep in mind for this:
The later your ceremony, the later your dinner.
Mid day ceremonies (1pm to 3pm) in the summer make for really harsh lighting. White dress + sunshine = a white blob of a dress (unless you’re saying your vows inside or under a shaded area). Tip: Visit your venue in the same season you’ll be married in, and at the same time of day, before choosing your ceremony location or position.
How creative do you want your photos to be? If you want them to be fun, playful and unique we recommend choosing to do photos before the ceremony (which also means you’re not away from the party too long).
Remember that you have a LOT of things to pack into your reception.
Made a decision? Good! Pencil that in. I think you’re ready to see a few sample timelines (download links will be at the bottom of the post).
Click the link to open the larger image.
6pm Ceremony, Photographer’s Ideal
6pm Ceremony, Realistic Timeline
11am Ceremony Before
Click any image to see the larger version
A few things you might notice:
Plan for about 2 hours for bridal hair & makeup
Plan 30 minutes to an hour for each type of photos needed. We may not use all that time, but better to have more than less.
Plan plenty of time for extended family photos. Getting 20+ people in a single photo organized and focused takes time.
Make sure to give your cleaning team time to tidy up before you need to be out of the venue. No one wants overage charges because of cleaning.
Remember that the timeline is just a guideline.
Life happens, and the only one who will know we’re off schedule is the bridal party. It’s your day, so go with the flow and enjoy it as it unfolds. No one wants a time-nazi on their special day.
You can ALWAYS call me for help. I’m willing to hash it out over email, phone, skype or even over coffee.