Have you struggled with how to structure your wedding day? Your wedding day timeline is something that can make or break your wedding. Ask us how we know. There are some simple tips and things to consider that can help you create the perfect wedding day timeline!
1. MAKE A TIMELINE
Isn't that what this post is about? Yes. Its that important. Actually sitting down with a wedding planner, your photographer or just your maid of honor and actually writing down a timeline is necessary. Sometimes it is hard to really understand how much there is to talk and think about until you start to write it down.
2. ALWAYS ASSUME YOU NEED MORE TIME THAN YOU THINK
Start getting ready EARLY. There is no such thing as getting ready too soon on your wedding day. Think 20 minutes is enough time to get your wedding dress on? Think again! Maybe plan for 30 minutes or more if you have a dress that buttons. Always over exaggerate how much time you need for things on your wedding day. The WORST thing is when something goes wrong (which they do) and you are rushing around and before you know it, you are behind schedule and later, your ceremony starts 20 minutes late. Avoid the headache and over shoot on time. The worst that could happen is you get to sit around and relax!
3. DO A FIRST LOOK
From every vendor's point of view out there, DO A FIRST LOOK. This helps on so many levels. Yes it allows for more time for photos and cuts down on time after the ceremony, but it reduces stress! After shooting weddings for 6 years, stress is the number one cause for wedding days going wrong. Anywhere that stress can be reduced, it is worth it. From experience, the moment he sees you is just as special as the moment you walk down the isle, if not more so!
If you do choose to NOT do a first look. Make sure to have a cocktail hour with appetizers built in to help guests cope with the time. Another idea is creating an interviewed movie of the couple or a photo collage. Keeping guests entertained goes a long way with the guest experience. Guests HATE waiting and being bored at weddings.
4. CAREFULLY CONSIDER LOCATIONS
Drive time is normally one of the last things you would think about on your wedding day. Seems unimportant. I'm here to tell you, it is important! Considering things such as where you will get ready at vs. where you will get your portraits done are more important than people realize. Having the shortest distances possible between locations really can cut down on wasted time on your wedding day. Think about distance when working on your timeline.
5. DISTRIBUTE YOUR WEDDING DAY TIMELINE
After the timeline is created, it should be like a rulebook for the day. Distributing it to all your vendors, bridal party and family members can help cut down on stress. Even giving it to people who seem like they wont need it, it helps to set a precedence that this timeline IS the plan. This helps to cut down on confusion and mistakes.
6. THINK THROUGH THE GET READY
One of the biggest time consumers on a wedding day is the get ready time, especially for girls. Prior to your wedding day, think through how many girls are getting their hair and makeup done, how long does it take for each girl, are the dresses to be steamed before the wedding day or on the wedding day? Do nails also need to be done? How many hairstylists need to be present to get done in the time allotted? etc. Always over plan for this time of the day and allow more time than you think!
7. DO YOU WANT SUNSET PHOTOS?
What time will the sunset happen on your wedding day? This is something brides tend to forget! You know those absolutely stunning magazine style wedding photos you see online and in bridal shops? Trust us photographers, those were NOT taken at 3pm on a Saturday in June in the middle of a field with no shade. Those photos were carefully thought out, preplanned and probably took hours, days or weeks to prepare and shoot. That doesn't count the post production. Planning for the right time of day for photos can make or break your photos. Is it impossible to shoot at 3pm in June? No. Is is ideal? No. Planning your day so you hit sunrise or sunset will make a huge difference in the result of your wedding photos. Ask for help if you need it!
8. BE DETAILED
There is no such thing as being too detailed on your wedding day timeline. Having every detail imaginable helps not only you stay organized, but every vendor and person involved. Even if it is a fleeting thought, add it to your timeline! I promise, on your wedding day you will forget about that specific thing. Make sure it is there to remind you!
9. LISTEN TO THE PROS.
How many weddings have you planned or been behind the scenes on? Chances are none or very few. Don't take that as an insult! Just like a mechanic wouldn't expect me to know exactly how a car engine works immediately, you are not expected to know everything about how to plan the perfect wedding day. Your vendors and even other married people have more experience. Listen to their advice! Chances are, they have a reason for telling you that information.
10. AT THE END OF THE DAY, BE PREPARED TO THROW OUT ALL OF YOUR PLANS
What? Why are we talking about this then? At the end of your wedding, the main goal is to BE MARRIED. If that is accomplished, you have had a successful wedding day! Isn't that the reason we are even here in the first place? You found the love of your life. Remember that this day is about you joining together and vowing to love each-other for the rest of your lives. Things happen on a wedding day that no one can predict. It rains when it is supposed to be sunny, the hairstylist gets lost and is an hour late, the cake gets knocked off the table, the dress gets dirty or the best man forgets the rings when the pastor asks for them during the ceremony. (yes, all of these have happened at weddings I've shot) Learn to laugh it off! This is the main reason vendors suggest over planning. Just settle yourself now, something will go wrong or not how you pictured it. Its part of life. Have fun! You don't want to look back on your wedding day and think about all the things that you DIDN'T get. You want to think back to that time when the best man forgot to bring the ring during the ceremony and you had to "fake place the ring on her finger." I promise, you will laugh after.