Timeline

♥TIMELINE♥

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!

RULE OF THUMB……Real “activity” should be taking place by 2 pm, if you and your partner want time to party with your guests and not rush from one thing to the next. SOOOO THAT MEANS EITHER A CEREMONY, A FIRST LOOK, OR FAMILY PHOTOS are happening by 2-2;30 PM.

STEP ONE!!!!

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??

STEP TWO!!!!

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……

STEP THREE!!!!

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 ….

Great CON solutions…..

  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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)
  5. 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…..

Although not the responsibility of the photographer, more a wedding planner’s role…

Here are some examples of timelines that provide a nice flow…..choose on closest to the time you are imagining, and then start customizing.


DARBY’S FAVORITE- …. 2:30ish, “don’t miss a thing photo coverage”+ fun flow, no rush, tons of party time….
8- hair and makeup for bridesmaids/moms
10:00-Photographer arrives for detail shots…ring, dress, bouquets
10:00- Bride in chair for hair and makeup (always leave 2 hours for both makeup/hair) detail pics (since everyone is at same time, need many stylists)
12- BRIDE IN DRESS
12:30-1 Bridesmaids pics
1-HEAD TO BOYS FOR LAST MINUTE DETAILS, groom pics
1:30 boys greeting guests!
2 or 2:30 Ceremony
3:00-3:30 Family pics
3:30-4 wedding party pics
4-4:15 Couples pics
4:30- Couple enjoys cocktail hour
5:30 Announcement and straight to dinner with toasts
6:30 ish couple sneaks out for alone time and sunset romantic formals
7:30 first dance
8:00 cake/garter
8:15 Open dance floor- 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),
9:00 photographer has captured dance pics and group shot, photographer leaves


Another similar 2 pm wedding timeline

AKA. THE BONNIE AND JAI WEDDING BONANZA!

9-10 am photographer arrives
10ish everyone starts getting ready…Couple both getting ready at same location, different rooms
12:00- first look-couple takes about 1-1.5 hours of photos just the 2 of them
2:00ish-ceremony
3:00 family pics, wedding party pics
Mingle with guests
4:45 dinner
5:30 toasts
6:15-6:30 couple sunset pics
6:30 first dances
6:45 cake/dessert bar
7:30 garters/bouquets, dancing and party begins
9 pm photographer leaves after reception and group shot


For a morning wedding….10:30 am Ceremony

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 a late afternoon wedding….4:30 pm Ceremony (No first look) note: although beautiful, when ceremony is at 4;30 and wedding ends at 10-11 ish, that’s a whole lot of stuff to fit in 5.5 hours, if you assume 3 hours of that is just for dancing and fun!

8- Hair and makeup for bridesmaids and moms
10:00- Bride in chair for hair and makeup (always leave 2 hours for both makeup/hair) detail pics
12:00 Photographer arrives, last minute details of prep pics
1-Dress on
2-3 Bride and Bridesmaids pics (then back to hiding before guests/guys arrive)
3:00 guys arrive and do last minute getting ready vest, ties, etc
3;15-3;30 guys pics- then go greet guests
4:30-Ceremony
5:00-5:30-Family portraits (half hour and under)
5:30-6:00-Wedding party pics with or without cocktails 🙂
6:00-6:30 couples formals
6:30  Announcement and straight to dinner with toasts
7-7:15 couple sneaks out for alone time and sunset romantic formals
7:30 first dance
8:00 cake/garter
8:15 Open dance floor- 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),
9 pm photographer leaves

But if 4:30 is your jam….here’s a way to make it work…..4:30 pm Ceremony, with first look

8- Hair and makeup for bridesmaids and moms
10:00- Bride in chair for hair and makeup (always leave 2 hours for both makeup/hair) detail pics
12:00 Photographer arrives, last minute details of prep pics
1-Dress on-RUN ON TIME! Do not run late for first look
1:30 boys last minute details, get ready close to one another to keep things on time!
2- FIRST LOOK-couples pics
2:30-4:00 bridal party pics and couples pics
4:00 guys greeting guests, as girls refresh
4:30-Ceremony
5-5:30-Family portraits (half hour or so)
5:30-6 Couple enjoys cocktail hour
6  Announcement and straight to dinner with toasts
7-7:15 couple sneaks out for alone time and sunset romantic formals
7:30 first dance
8:00 cake/garter
8:15 Open dance floor- 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 late afternoon wedding….5:30 pm Ceremony With first look
9:00- Hair and makeup for bridesmaids and moms
11ish – Bride in chair for hair and makeup (always leave 2 hours for both makeup/hair) detail pics
12:00 Photographer arrives, last minute details of prep pics
1-Dress on-RUN ON TIME! Do not run late for first look
1:30 boys last minute details, get ready close to one another to keep things on time!
2- FIRST LOOK-couples pics
2:30-4:00 bridal party pics and couples pics
4:00 guys greeting guests, as girls refresh
4:00-4:30 family pics
5:00 gals in hiding while boys greet guests
5:30-ceremony
5:50-6:15 last minute pics/cocktail hour
6:15 Announcement and straight to dinner with toasts
7-7:15 couple sneaks out for alone time and sunset romantic formals, earlier if lighting is good
7:30 first dance
8:00 cake/garter
8:15 Open dance floor- 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),
9 pm photographer leaves

For a night wedding…. 7 pm Ceremony, with first look

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
4-5:00 pm First look and family shots
5 PM Wedding party fun shots and couples portraits
6;15 head to reception with time to freshen up
7:00 -Ceremony
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

IMPORTANT NOTES:

-Everyone you love is in town to see you. Take advantage of that. Picking the world’s most beautiful winery that you can only use after it closes, means you don’t get to see anyone until 5 pm….and then hardly have time to “play” since you have to be out by 10…so keep that in mind when venue hunting.
-Since everyone is in town, start early! Pick a time that is early but not so early you have to serve 2 meals. having your wedding at 2 means 2 more hours of fun time, that you may not get if your wedding is at 4, without scooting things around. Maximize your time for fun and visiting on this expensive day!
-Plan a wedding where all reception activities are done by 8:30-9 pm. SO YOU CAN CUT LOOSE… cutting a cake at 10 is crazy, and old people who want cake have already left! Plus, I will have left, therefore no cake pics. If I need to stay because the timeframe got messed up, its $200 per hour.
-Hair and makeup make weddings late. each service takes about 30-40 minutes. That means makeup is a half hr minimum each girl. Hair is a half hour minimum each girl. Hiring one makeup artist, and one hair person for more than 4 people each, means you either must start early, or hire more people.
-Tell hair/ makeup artists what time you need to get into your dress as the cutoff time while they are planning, not the time of your ceremony to be ready.
-If you want time to take bridemaids pics/bridal portraits at the location you are getting ready, make sure 45 minutes is added into timeline for that location.
-Don’t schedule boys putting on tux right when bride is putting on dress. One of you guys should be earlier than the other. In general, if you are not getting ready at same general location, boys will arrive in pants and shirts, no accessories to wedding venue, and do last minute details there.
-Remember drive times when making timelines.
-Bridesmaids should be dressed and ready BEFORE bride steps into dress. Mom needs to get dress on when bridesmaids are or before.
-Look at your timeframe when ordering your florals. you need your bouquets delivered early for detail pics and for bridesmaids pics. Again, give your florist time to be ready times, not ceremony times.
-As you can read from my reviews, I will do all I can to keep you guys on time and be doing everything ya’all need to be doing. That said, if no one else is enforcing a timeline and your man is totally over being bossed around, keep flexible. know I will pressure when needed while still trying to let him have fun. Something may not happen, if he’s had enough 🙂
-Have someone awesome, flexible, but in charge of checking in and making sure everyone is on time, including vendors. This designated person needs to be available and running the show all day if you did not hire a planner.

WEDDING PLANNERS:

1/2 the weddings I do have planners….which means 1/2 don’t. It’s up to you, really based on 2 things. Budget, and man power. If you have a limited budget, it means all friends need to be hands on setting up both before hand, and day of to have the day run smoothly. If budget allows, your wedding planner will help walk you thru the process, and be there for both the physical set up and running of the show the day of. If chosen correctly, planners are a dream for brides, their Moms, and the boys ( so they aren’t doing all the work the morning of).

Timeline and planners: Typically a wedding planner will make your timeline. Most of them are fantastic. However, most of them are not photographers. So if they have sunset photos scheduled at 8:20 (cause they have googled sunset time), we will need to fix that 🙂 since it will look like dump. lol….also taking into consideration that the toast speech might drag on or dinner might be late, and then it is dark, with no time for the photos you want!!!!

Therefore, I think it best to take one of these timelines closest to want you want, screenshot it and send it to your planner early on, saying this is from your photographer’s website regarding the best flow for photos…..please customize.

As you read elsewhere hire a great planner, or go without. Nothing is more shitty than an overpaid planner who doesn’t work well with anyone.

Some I love are:

Alexis Solano @ 707-481-7059

Rie, CERANCH Events @ 707-548-9737

Amanda Vineyard @707-799-5244

Maura @707-486-2500

Jenny Anderson Reich @707-776-7801

NEED HELP BUT NOT A WHOLE PLANNER????

SEE A TIMELINE YOU LIKE BUT DONT LOVE????

HAVE VENUE YOU ARE CRUSHING ON BUT ONLY USE OF IT FOR 5 HOURS????

NEED HELP WITH AN OVERALL THEME/VISION?

You can now hire me to help. What I can do in an hour or two, from helping create a vision board, to colors, bridesmaids dresses, customized timelines, layout suggestions etc…..is kinda well, legendary lol.

$200 per hour.