One of the most stressful items on your “I do” checklist is creating the perfect wedding timeline. Trust me, even having so many weddings under my belt I stressed about my own wedding timeline. There are so many questions and most don’t know where to even start. I am here today to help you plan your perfect wedding timeline!
The first thing I recommend to my couples when creating their timeline is to start with deciding if you will be seeing your husband or wife to be before the ceremony. This is often referred to as a first look. Why should you base your entire day around this factor?
Deciding if you are going to see your spouse before you walk down the aisle determines the amount of time you will need to a lot for photos after the ceremony. Seeing your husband or wife before the ceremony allows you to get your full bridal party photos taken care of and out of the way. Then you are able to go immediately into family photos and husband/wife portraits. This cuts the amount of time needed for photos in half and can allow for a later ceremony time.
You certainly aren’t required to see one another before your ceremony but you definitely want to take into consideration how many photos you are going to need to take between the ceremony and reception. Once you have decided on whether or not do a first look, you are then able to determine what time you will start your reception. I always advise my couples to schedule just a little bit of time to rest and touch up before being announced into their reception.
Once you have decided on your ceremony and reception start time, you can work backwards on your timeline. I find this to be the most helpful method for planning a successful timeline. Regardless of whether or not you are doing a first look, I always suggest getting your photos with your bridesmaids or groomsman out of the way first.
Before your bridal party photos you will want to schedule time for the photographer to get photos of your final hair and makeup touch-ups and getting in your dress. This is when you will want to consult your hair and makeup artists to see how much time they will need for the number of people needing their services. Always make sure you as the bride are the last for hair and makeup. This will make sure you are the freshest before your walk down the aisle.
Another important thing to consider is travel time. How many locations will be part of your big day? If you are choosing to have everything in one place then you have no worries here. If your ceremony and reception will be held at different venues you will need to factor in travel time. Will your bridal party be traveling all together via bus or limo? If not schedule a few extra minutes. Let’s be honest, there is at least one straggler in every group. Will you be taking your photos somewhere other than your ceremony or reception site? Be sure to factor in time for that. One thing I do recommend is taking your family photos immediately following your ceremony right at your ceremony location. Family tends to disperse and wander. Having them travel to another location risks people getting lost or forgetting. This can set a timeline back tremendously.
Once you have nailed down your ceremony time, your reception time and your getting ready time you can fill the gaps with the other parts of a wedding day you want to incorporate. Make sure you are prioritizing the things that are important to you. There are so many wedding trends and options. Which one’s will mean the most to you in years to come? There is only so much time in one day.
The best piece of advice I can give my couples is to not short yourself on time. Your photographer can recommend the perfect amount of time for each part of your day. When your day runs short on time it can add unnecessary stress. Your day will fly by. Take the time to cherish the moments. There are typically only two professionals that see every single aspect of a wedding day, your photographer and a wedding coordinator. Its a great idea to run your wedding timeline by them. They have seen enough weddings to help you ensure you have set your day up to run as smooth as possible.
This isn’t the law of timelines. You do not need to follow this guide word for word. Your day is your own and it will be perfect, no matter what. At the end of that very special day, you will marry your best friend. Hiccups will happen. Your timeline might run behind. Just remember, its okay and its YOUR day. Do not stress the little things. Soak in all of the love.