Your wedding day could go all wrong if you don’t have a well thought out Wedding Day Timeline. If you’re the plannin’ type, you’re probably already skipping ahead to the 5 Game Changers. If you’re not…wait, did you just hit your snooze button?! Bear with me for the next 10 minutes. I can’t stress enough how oh so so important this is!
Me, I’m not a planner by nature. I’m a spontaneous risk taker (sure, lets throw in some cumin into this gluten free brownie recipe, what could be the worst thing to happen?) and I get distracted easily. On top of that, Ideation is one of my top strengths from StrengthsFinders personality test. This means I love entertaining ideas and concepts, lots of them, and how they work and what might could maybe do. When it comes to planning, you need concentration which I just don’t (naturally) have a lot of and keen decision making (but that means saying no to so many ideas!).
Luckily for my now husband and I, our wedding photographer Joleen Willis suggested an amazing day-of timeline. Whew, she saved the day on that one. And because I knew very well that the 10 hours of a wedding day would fly by and that photos would be the only thing you get to keep after the day was over, my highest priority was having time for all the photos we wanted.
Prioritize your timeline to fit your photo desires instead of trying to cram your photographer into someone else’s. You’ll both be so much happier with the results!.
So whether you’re the planning type or not, it’s time to buckle down and make some sense out of what you want to have happen on your day. Plan it out so the hours in your day are set up for ease. Because it’s not just any day, it’s YOUR WEDDING DAY!
1: Dreaming of Epic Bride & Groom Portraits?
Portraits at sunset are always a great idea which are actually done best after the send off!
That might sound crazy if you imagine dancing the night away with your wedding guests but it’s a small price to pay for epic adventure shots (aaand plenty of dancing will still be done!).
The other option is to do your epic bride & groom portraits during the cocktail hour. Things you’ll need to make it happen: a look out, cove, skyline, or rolling hills etc. nearby and 2) all the entertaining things like great food and drink during the cocktail hour and maybe even some live entertainment in case your Bridal Portraits go long.
With either option you will get bride & groom portraits during the cocktail hour but the epicness might be limited by your venue’s offerings and local setting. If you choose to adventure off into the sunset with me you’ll have portraits at your venue AND a private photo shoot!
2: Will You Have a First Look?
From the photography stand point, this is highly suggested, nearly a must because there’s SO many benefits that it just doesn’t make sense not to (hey double negative, sorry to all the English majors reading this…).
a) Emotional Relief!
Walking down the aisle can actually be nerve wracking or even daunting when ALL of your guests are standing up and turned looking at YOU when all you want is to be able to see your almost-husband! Seeing him before hand will put you at ease and walking down the aisle will be a breeze.
2) Private Moments
There are very few moments throughout your entire wedding day where you get to actually just be with your groom or bride.
Imagine 10-15 calm, private, intimate and simple minutes where you get to take delight in all that awaits and your spouse-to-be in their Best Dressed, and getting to have them alllll to yourself?
d) Stress Free Family & Bridal Party Portraits
This one is a kicker for us photographers! Most cocktail hours are an hour or less. An efficient wedding photographer will spend 20 minutes on family, 20 minutes on Bridal Party and 20 minutes on the Couple (give or take across these three groups).
That means for a solid 60 minutes you and your groom are smiling. For 60 minutes! And this means there are 0 minutes wiggle room for straggling family members or wandering bridal party members. There’s pressure with such time constraints that you and your groups will certainly feel. Your bride & groom portraits are also restricted to just 20 minutes or so. 30 if you’ve got great cocktail hour apps.
BUT DESPITE ALL THIS – I believe that first and foremost this is YOUR day and I will honor to the fullest extent possible your desires and preferences for your wedding day. So if you’re a no-go on the First Look please know that it is do-able and your day will be smooth and lovely either way.
Note: having a first look will make for an earlier ‘start’ time (when everyone will need to be full on ready for photos) so consider this when planning your timeline.
3: What Time Do You Want To Go To Bed?
hah, ok before you judge me, read on…
Would you like to enjoy the evening privately with your new spouse? Imagine having some time to yourselves to enjoy all the feels, relive the moments and take delight in more feels before the adrenaline and excitement wear off?
My favorite thing after my wedding was talking about all the moments with my husband on our drive to our hotel (and writing them down because there were 100’s of little things I wanted to remember!). But it was nearly midnight and we were tired and surprisingly dehydrated. More on that later.
4: Are people traveling from out of town?
Ok, confession. I actually grumbled at this suggestion while planning my own wedding because my gut-reaction was…well, grumpy.
I figured if people want to come, they’ll make the accommodations they need slash want.
Which, is true, mostly. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think through the timing of everything to make sure its reasonable (because you totally should).
If your wedding venue is located more than a 30 minute drive (or up to an hour ish) from where most of your guests live, you’ll want to time the end of your reception festivities to a reasonable time of night so that folks aren’t leaving before the cake is cut just to get home (you need them to eat cake to avoid massive leftovers….unlessss your dessert is your absolute fave then leftovers aren’t such a bad thing). But you get the idea nonetheless.
It’s hard to fathom, but guests will dip out if it’s getting late (a very relative term) and they want to get on the road. Don’t we all know that one person who is a stickler to bed time, refuses to drive past a certain time/in the dark, or the worst, insist on being home in time to watch their show or game? *eyes rolling emoji*
5: Are you an early bird or night owl?
This one might go against all the other 5 Game Changers I’ve mentioned but sometimes I’m a total walking contradiction…No one ever said wedding planning is fair (to totally borrow that phrase and make a funny out of it).
If you’re definitely, absolutely, positively not a morning person
then you’ll want to consider the hours needed for getting ready and plan your first photo-op Start Time accordingly.
In order to make this work, go re-read my intro (that you may have skipped – totally fair) and be sure to work out your sleep needs with your photographer’s time needs to make it all copacetic.
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I want to hear from you!
Did these 5 Game Changers open your planning eyes to new considerations?
Are you currently planning or have already planned your wedding? What would you recommend for another #gamechanger in planning your wedding day timeline?
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