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Building a Wedding-Day Timeline

One of the most seemingly simple yet difficult parts of planning your wedding is getting your timeline in order.

Between your vendors, bridal party, family, and guests, it can get a little complicated.

Here's are a few quick tips and guidelines for planning your wedding timeline.



Leave some wiggle room.

First things first, your wedding is probably going to run a little behind schedule. That's okay! Reread that sentence on your wedding day.

Thankfully, there are a few things we can do beforehand to help keep things a little more on schedule. Plan an extra 15-30 minutes into every part of your day. It's so much nicer to have a little extra time than to rush through everything else. If that means starting a little early, start a little early. If you have a wedding day coordinator or designated person keeping everyone in shape, make sure they have all the numbers of important people to be able to check in on anyone.


Check when the sun sets.

The time of year makes a huge difference as to when you may want photos taken. If you're having a July wedding, making time in the evening to escape with your boo is your best bet on getting great photos. In contrast if you're getting married in December, you'll get much better photos if you're taking them in the late afternoon. This will also affect when you may want your ceremony to be, what time you'll want your grand exit, and even what hours to book your photographer.


Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. BEFORE.

The last thing you'll want to be doing on your wedding day is answering everyone's questions about where to be and when. Printing out copies of your timeline and giving everyone in the bridal part a copy will really help smooth things out. Or take a photo and text it to everyone in your group.

If you have members who you are especially concerned about being on time, be sure to emphasize with them clearly beforehand that you expect them to be on time.


This is also true for everyone involved with Formal photos. Be sure to inform Grandparents and other relatives when and where they should arrive for family formals. (And it never hurts to tell them a time fifteen minutes earlier than you actually need them.)


One other thing:

As a wedding photographer, we are almost always more than happy to help you set your day-of timeline. But when it comes to your big day, it is our job to document the day, not make sure that everyone is where they are supposed to be or coordinate the timeline. If you don't have a day-of coordinator, please designate a special relative or friend to be a person who will help wrangle people and push the events along.


General Photo Timeline:

1. Details.

2. Getting ready..

3. First looks.

4. Bridal party shots.

5. Family/special people formals.

6. Ceremony.

7. Bride and Groom shots.

8. Entrances.

9. Toasts.

10. Cake cutting.

11. Bouquet/garter toss, special games, etc.

11. Dances.

12. Send off!


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