Planning your wedding day can be extremely overwhelming - especially since you probably haven't done this before! While each day is unique and things can happen in any number of different ways and places and time of day - here are a few helpful tips when planning your wedding day timeline.
1. Ask for help! I know that as brides, it is expected that you will take control and do everything yourself when it comes to wedding planning - but it doesn't have to be that way. There are lots of people around you who have gone through a wedding day start to finish and would love to share their experience! Me (your photographer) for example! I have been through a couple of weddings (wink wink) and love to help plan the day.
2. Talk to your photographer. This is still really kind of the same as asking for help, but here's why you should talk to your photographer specifically:
- I have done this before.
- I know how long different groups of photos take.
- It gives us an opportunity to talk about what shots are important to you.
- I know what kinds of things can add time - if you have a videographer, for example, your photographer needs to know because often they require a little extra time than what I would normally allow for a certain group of photos.
- I have sample timelines that I give out to all of my brides to give them an idea of how a typical wedding day goes.
- I know when light is best for photos and can help suggest when and where for various portraits.
3. Keep in mind how long your photographer will be there and what events you want covered.
- Are you interested in getting ready photos? Do you want a lot of end of the night coverage?
These are important questions that will help determine your photographer's start and end times. Look at your photographer's work and see what photos you like!
4. Look at a sample timeline (like this one below):
This is from an actual wedding of mine that went so smoothly. Obviously, each wedding is different, and you may be doing things in a different order - or maybe not having a first look, BUT, in general, this is how long various groups of photos take and the mental checklist of photos that I have going into each wedding. This timeline is for 8 hours of photo coverage, with a first look, and WITHOUT a videographer.
Note: if you are having a videographer, encourage your photographer and videographer to connect and talk about how much time they both need. Chances are, if you are having both, you will need extra time for each group of photos.
11:30am – Lee (bride) begins makeup
1:00pm – Kendra (photographer) arrives, takes photos of dress, flowers, jewelry, last minute getting ready, etc.
1:15pm –Lee gets dressed, puts dress on, photo ready, photos of dress getting zipped up
1:30pm – Erin drops Lee off at First Look location
Ladies continue to get ready, finishing touches before guys join them at McLaughlin’s
1:40pm – First Look (Lee and Brandon, and photographers) + a couple of quick photos of just Brandon "getting ready" (bride and groom photos typically take 30 minutes or so)
2:15ish – Lee and Brandon come back from First Look, eat and gather with everyone
2:30 – 3:30pm – photos with bridal party and family + a few more of bride and groom (generally, 15 minutes for each set of photos - bride with girls, groom with guys, entire wedding party, family - often these photos don't get taken until after the ceremony, but for this particular wedding, everyone happened to already be present)
3:30ish – Carol, Brian, Beth, Bob, Brandon, and all groomsmen go to Cedar Lake
Lee and bridesmaids stay at McLaughlin’s, touch ups - photographers take this time to go to ceremony location and take photos of all decor + guests mingling
4:00pm – Mix and Mingle begins
4:30pm – Ladies pack up and get ready to head to Cedar
4:45pm – Prepare for ceremony
5:00pm – GOEMAN to the CHAPEL and GETTING MARRIED!!!
Lee and Brandon will do a receiving line and guests will walk back to reception area
Family photos after the ceremony -15 minutes or so
Cocktail party begins after ceremony until 6:15
Speeches begin - Erin, Brad, Brian, Prayer from Bob
7pm - Dinner served
8pm - Dances begin and the party goes on!
9pm - photographer coverage ends