This is by far the most important part of your wedding day next to the actual getting married part, of course. Without the perfect timeline, the entire day has the potential to fall apart. People don’t know where to be, when to be there, how long to be there, or if to be there at all! The photographer timeline for your wedding day and what your planner creates are to help you have the best day ever. I can’t stress enough how EVERYTHING revolves around a seamless timeline.
Planning a wedding day timeline can seem like a daunting task. With a little organization and preparation, it can be stress-free and dare I say…fun?! Here are some steps to help you plan your wedding day timeline:
Start with the ceremony time. Decide on the time you want the ceremony to begin, and work backwards from there to determine the rest of the day’s schedule. This is completely dependent on two things. The time of year, and the time the sun sets. We need enough sunlight to accomplish wedding party photos, couples portraits and (potentially family photos) before your ceremony. Then we also need the right amount of time to get your sunset portraits built into your timeline! You don’t want it to be too early in the day. Then we have to worry about harsh light. You don’t want it to be too late, either. Then we have to worry about no light!
When I say we account for every minute of your wedding day, we’re talking about travel time, too. If you’re getting married in a different location than the reception, make sure to factor in travel time between the two. Also consider where you’ll be doing portraits if in a different location than your venue.
Getting ready has the potential to throw of the entire timeline from the very beginning and ain’t nobody got time for that to happen before the day has even started! Depending on the size of your bridal party, hair and makeup should start about 4 hours before your photo coverage starts, and end 45 minutes to an hour after your photo coverage starts. In your wedding day timeline you’ll see a HARD STOP time for hair and makeup. That is the very last possible minute that things need to be wrapped up. Make sure you communicate this to your artists so they can plan accordingly.
Even the reception has a timeline to help things go smoothly! One rule to follow is don’t stop the music! Once the party starts, it’s hard to get it going again when you sprinkle in events throughout the night. My preferred reception flow is: Grand entrance, welcome toast, dinner service, toasts, cake, first dance, parent dance, OPEN UP THE DANCE FLOOR. It’s time to really celebrate!
Something else I schedule in to your wedding day timeline is a dang break. This is a whole marathon and I want you to have room to let your day breathe. It’s non negotiable to schedule in some downtime for you and your wedding party throughout the day. This will help to avoid feeling rushed and overwhelmed. Even if you don’t think you need it, trust me-you do!
Be realistic: Be realistic about how much time you have and what can realistically be accomplished in that time. Are you having a second photographer? This also factors in to your timeline planning.
Communicate the timeline: Share the timeline with your vendors, wedding party, and immediate family so that everyone is on the same page. With me, you’ll get your wedding timeline as a link to share with everyone. Yay for being on the same page!
Check out this real Wild Arrow Photography Couple’s Timeline below. Inquire with me to have your wedding day planned.