A great timeline can be a game changer. Poorly done, you are stressed, rushed, and worst case scenario, have no time for photos or FUN! Hiring a great wedding planner can help make sure your day runs smoothly, but if you have no money left in your budget for a great day of planner, making and sticking to your own timeline will help!!!! In fact, it helps us both. Nothing is worse than you paying me for my “eye” and then giving me 3 minutes for photos since you are running late. Yes, that has actually happened!
Seriously consider what time you want your wedding ceremony and WHY you want it at that time…..Are you having a morning wedding and serving brunch to keep down costs perhaps, or are you wanting a black tie cocktail party and exchanging vows at midnight. If you are going “traditional” and thinking say,4 pm…..why exactly? Is it the lighting, the venue’s suggestion, just seems like a nice time, weather, etc??
Think about Pros and Cons of the time you picked. If its late, is that too long to expect groomsmen to stay sober LOL….If its the lighting, will it still be that way for photos or too dark…..If it’s too early, will you be expected to serve two meals if the party goes on and on……
Find solutions for the cons. If your heart is set on a sunset wedding ceremony, then you’ll need to do a first look and take your photos before (great option, especially for the grooms and brides that gets stressed easily)…If your heart is set on a brunch wedding, plan a great exit (or a fake one and take pics afterwards) with a fun getaway car, to cue your guests the party is over (before “lunch”)….
Great CON solutions…..
- Always think inside and outside the box….have your dream venue, but only for 4-6 hours? Schedule to take pics before hand with a romantic first look with wedding party/family pics elsewhere or have your ceremony/pics immediately following/and big events at your venue but plan an after party for the real party time elsewhere.
- Getting married after 2:30 pm in Winter? Consider a first look, since it gets dark by abut 4;30…or move up wedding a half hour to ensure you get couples formals afterwards
- Getting married after 3:30 in summer? Same deal…have the beautiful 4-4:30 lighting for photos instead of for the ceremony where it may not be as appreciated in the long run.
- Want an 11-12am wedding? Have additional makeup artists hired so you don’t have to start getting ready at 4 am. (photographers usually don’t want to show up at 4 am lol)
- Getting married at one location and reception far away? Schedule a huge cocktail hour and plan on taking your photos road trip style between the locations.
REGARDLESS…..the goal is to have ample time beforehand for bridesmaids and bride pics…groomsmen and groom pics….and for a first look if need be (for weddings starting after 3:30ish) and for ample time afterwards for family/formals/whole wedding party if we didn’t take them before. SOOOOOO, the better the planning (and sticking to it) the more photos, backgrounds, poses you get! Here’s some great examples of timeframes to work from…..
Here would be some examples of timelines that provide a nice flow…..
and make best use of your Full 8 hours of photo coverage :)…..
For a morning wedding….
6:00- Hair and makeup for bridesmaids and moms: detail pics
8:00- Photographer arrives, Bride in chair for hair and makeup (always leave 2 hours for both makeup/hair)
8:30-Guys do basic getting ready
9:00 -Bridesmaids completely ready, Parents ready and present to greet guests, etc.
9:30-10 guys arrive at venue, photographer gets last minute touches like ties/vests/ boutineer
10:00-Dress on, guys greeting guests
10:30-Ceremony (Anything earlier is hard on moms of brides)
11:00-Family portraits as brunch is put out
1 pm-Send off
1-3:00-wedding party and formal photos
4:00-off to honeymoon! Photographer leaves too….not on honeymoon LOL
For an afternoon wedding-
8:00- Hair and makeup for bridesmaids and moms
10:00- Photographer arrives, Bride in chair for hair and makeup (always leave 2 hours for both makeup/hair) detail pics
11:00 -Bridesmaids completely ready.
12:30-1:15 Bride and Bridesmaids pics (then back to hiding before guests/guys arrive)
1;15 guys arrive and do last minute getting ready vest, ties, etc
1;15-1;30 guys pics- then go greet guests
2:30-3:00-Family portraits (half hour and under)
3-3:30-Wedding party pics with or without cocktails 🙂
3:30-3:45 couples formals
5:00 Announcement and straight to dinner with toasts
5:30-5:40 couple sneaks out for alone time and sunset romantic formals
6 pm first dance
7:00 all big events are done and its time to party and the groom to relax! (goals…to have the groom have 3 hours from venue close down time to have nothing to do but dance with his wife and have fun), photographer leaves
For a night wedding-
12:00- Hair and makeup for bridesmaids and moms
2:00 pm- Photographer arrives-Bride in chair for hair and makeup (always leave 2 hours for both makeup/hair) detail pics
3 pm -Bridesmaids completely ready.
3;30 pm-Dress on
4-5pm Firstlook and family shots (Winter wedding aka new years, first look is at 2 pm)
5 PM Wedding party fun shots and couples portraits
6;15 head to reception with time to freshen up
8:00 immediately followed by Formal dinner
8:30 cake cutting/champagne toasts
9 Pm first dance-
10 Pm. all events done, photographer leaves, time to party til midnight