Creating A Wedding Day Timeline

Requesting a wedding day timeline from a bride generally leaves us with blank stares. With all of the detail planning, this is generally one detail that is often left until the last minute. I hope this blog post will help fellow brides plan their special day! We will start with an example timeline:

12:30 Bridal preparations begin
2:30 Bride leaves for Inn
3:00 Bride arrives at the Inn
3:00 Groom & Groomsmen start getting ready
3:15 Dress is on and final touch ups on hair and makeup
3:30 Shoot with Bride, bridesmaids, first look with her dad, etc at Inn & in the city
4:15 Groomsmen and Groom photos around the city
4:15 Bride & girls relax – cocktails etc
5:00 Groomsmen and Groom get into cars and go to ceremony location
5:15 Bride and her Dad get into the car
5:30 Ceremony starts, Bride and Bridesmaids arrive
5:45 Ceremony ends  & Family photos begin
5:45 Cocktail hour starts
6:00 Shoot with Bride & Groom
7:00 Dinner starts
Bride & Groom exit

The number one question I am asked, “When do I start getting ready?” Whether or not your hair stylist and makeup artists are able to come to you, we suggest 2-3 hours prior to the ceremony or first look. However, if you are traveling to the salon, make sure you figure in travel time. The key is timing it just right to ensure your hair and makeup remain in tact and fresh, but it is better to err on more time than less. You will want to plan for 30-45 minutes of relaxing time and or for a buffer, in case you have an emergency or to alleviate panic mode when you realize that you forgot to paint your nails!

Hands & Feet
We also suggest manicures and pedicures the morning or afternoon of the rehearsal. For evening weddings, pampering yourself the morning of is a great idea. However, for those of you with a late morning or early-mid afternoon ceremonies, planning for the day of the grand event, may have you setting your alarm for the wee hours of the morning or being little more than tardy! Try to minimize your prep list the day of the best you can.

Begin with… Hair or Makeup?
Most brides, including myself, do not enjoy their photo being taken when their face is a bare canvas. So because of this, we generally plan to arrive after the makeup is on – then capture or stage touch-ups. This allows the bride to feel beautiful as we snap a few shots of her hair being styled.

Putting on the Dress
Do not underestimate how long it will take to put on your dress. If you have a lace up, you will want to allot about 30 minutes. Most bridesmaids have never laced up a dress and it can be tricky business! On numerous occasions I have had to set aside my camera to lend a hand. If your dress has a zipper, you can plan for 10-15 minutes. Remember to step into the dress and not slip it over your head – you do not want to mess up your hair or get makeup on the dress! To ensure you do not rip or dirty the dress, find a clean floor area, have a bridesmaid or your mother reach down through the center of the dress, opening a space til they can see the floor –  they may need help from another bridesmaid to reach under the dress to make sure your feet are not pinching any part of the dress.

Pre-Ceremony Photos
One of the major concerns for Brides and Grooms as they are planning the wedding is trying to squeeze in time for photos without using up too much time. We have two suggestions: Formal Bridal, Bride & Bridesmaids, Groom & Groomsmen before the ceremony and/or a “First Look”.

I mentioned a “First Look” before, but some of you may be wonder what that actually is. A First Look is when the bride and groom plan a special moment to see each other before the ceremony. Not only does it allow for additional and a more relaxed time for photos, but also gives the bride and groom a unique and much more private way to share their first time seeing each other, all the while being photographed!

For the more traditional brides, have no fear, you don’t have to keep your guests waiting for your arrival at the reception. The more organized you are, the better. Work with your photographer in the weeks leading up to the ceremony. Discuss where you want your post-ceremony photos taken. This will help the photographer to visualize the photos before hand and should help to get you to the reception to kick-off the party!

Typically we scheduled 15 minutes for family portraits, with an additional 45 for photos with the bride and groom. Many couples do their best to shorten this time and we often compromise by sneaking them off for a few photos during the reception dinner.

Reception Length
Most couples believe their guests will stick around all night. However, this is not the case. Often, it’s about 2-2.5 hours after the start of the reception when guests begin to taper off the dance floor and out the door. So the idea is to keep the party going and leave right as it peaks. This way your guests are there to send you off with bubbles, bird seed, signs, or confetti, making for some great photos!

I hope you have found this blog post helpful. Please feel free to comment if you have any additional questions or would like some more insight on other aspects of planning your own wedding – I know first hand, as I am currently planning my very own wedding!

Much Love,

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