Let me guess, you’re probably deep into wedding planning. Your day might only be a few months out, and you’re starting to get questions from friends and family like, when should we get there? What time is the ceremony? How early do I need to start getting ready? Lucky for you, at this point, I have helped put together numerous wedding day timelines for each of my couples, and in doing so I’ve learned the ins and outs of creating an awesome wedding day timeline. If you’re begin
ning to work on your own timeline, here are my top three tips for creating an awesome wedding day timeline.
Work with your vendors
This is SO important. Every vendor works differently, so you have to make sure that your timeline gives them enough time on your wedding day to give you the results that you want. Specifically, you’re going to want to work directly with your photographer(me !), your videographer, and your hair and makeup artists. You're paying for their services so it is important to give them what they need in terms of time to meet your expectations
Because I know this is more than likely your first wedding day, I like to be fairly involved in the process of creating your timeline. We will hop on a phone call together a couple of months before your wedding day to go over expectations. These will include your must-have photos and any family requests. From there we will work up and down the timeline starting from your ceremony start time. We will go over any events you have planned in the day as well as the order of events and make sure you have a timeline that works with everything you want out of your day.
By the time your wedding day rolls around, I will have the full layout of your wedding day and you will know exactly what to expect when your day arrives. You and I will both have copies of it and you can distribute it to your other vendors so we are all on the same page.
Set Aside Time for Newly Wed Photos
One of the most overlooked parts of timelines is couples' portraits on your wedding day ! I like my couples to have at LEAST 30 consecutive minutes on their wedding day set aside exclusively for newlywed photos. On your wedding day, if you and your partner get ready for your day separately as most couples do, your couples portraits will be the only time that you two get alone together throughout your entire wedding day !
This is why it is SO important to set aside time for your photos so you two can have some time to be with each other while also getting some great portraits of the two of you that you will cherish forever.
Most of my couples have one of two layouts for their wedding day timeline. They either have a first look prior to their ceremony so that they can spend some time together and get their photos done before all their guests arrive. Or they have their photos immediately following their ceremony so that they can wait until their ceremony to see each other for the first time.
Don’t Fill Your Wedding Day Timeline with Events
Yes, you need to entertain your guests at your wedding, BUT don’t feel like your wedding day has to be this massive production. It’s important to have time to exist and be with your loved ones on your wedding day.
The primary events that for the most part happen on a wedding day include the following:
-First Look (if applicable)
-Wedding Party Photos
-Dinner or a Similar Meal
-Formal Reception Events(dances, toasts, etc.)
Outside of these events, there isn’t much more that you need to pack into your wedding day. By doing the bare minimum on your day, this gives you time to slow down and enjoy your day with your wedding party and your guests. It will also help you to soak in everything that’s happening and really be present on your day with your soon-to-be spouse.
How to Create Your Wedding Day Timeline
It’s all about what you’re looking for and what you want out of your wedding day. I work with each of my couples individually to create a wedding day timeline that fits their vision for their day. We’ll schedule a call or two a couple of weeks out from your wedding day and then walk through the non-negotiables for the day. Typically things like ceremony start time and dinner start time can’t be adjusted once set by your venue so we will use your ceremony start time as a base to build off of.
This along with a handful of other planned calls throughout the planning process help me to make sure that one, we have an awesome timeline for your wedding day and two that we are on the same page in terms of what you two want out of your wedding day.
What a Wedding Day Timeline CAN Look Like
If you’re planning a wedding day of your own, check out this sample timeline from one of my past couples here !
1:00 LAR Photo Arrives
1:30 Getting Ready Photos (boutonniere/flowers/details)
2:00 First Look
2:15 Couples Portraits
3:00 Wedding Party Photos
3:30 Leave for Venue
4:00 Ceremony Begins
4:30 Family Photos
4:50 Leave for Reception
6:50 Cake Cutting
7:20 Dance Floor is Cleared
7:30 First Dance + Parents Dance
7:45 Dance Floor is Open
Party Time !
Use this as a general jumping-off point in creating the rough draft of your timeline, every couple and wedding day is different so don't worry if the example doesn't line up with what you're going for. You're photographer will help guide you to make your own perfect wedding day timeline, speaking of which feel free to inquire here if you'd like me to help you through the process ! I also recommend checking out my insta as well as I post TONS of wedding day tips regularly.