Crafting wedding day timelines can be an incredibly daunting task. Most couples have no idea where to start, what to include, how long to allot for XY and Z and for many couples, this is their first time planning a wedding. Luckily, it is not your wedding photographers' first time creating a wedding day timeline - it is not, as we say, our first rodeo.
The most important lesson in creating your wedding day timeline - staying on time early in the day will make the rest of your day run smooth. What can cause you to get behind in the morning? Staying up late the night before, not eating breakfast, traffic and one of the biggest factors - hair and makeup running late. This is incredibly common and not something most brides think about - your hair and makeup artists are as perfectionists as we are and will not let you out of that chair until they're satisfied. Running as little as 30 minutes late can completely throw a timeline off, putting more stress on you and your vendors throughout the rest of the day, trying to get back on target. We always recommend adding a buffer of an additional 30 minutes to hair and makeup - just in case.
Factoring more time for portraits and not needing it is always better than not factoring enough time and rushing through them. Depending upon your list of requested family portraits, sometimes couples spend more time taking pictures with their family and friends then with each other. This is your wedding. Not theirs. While we don't require a minimum number of minutes for couple portraits, many photographers do. Ideally, we would like 45-60 minutes for couple portraits. If we get done early - fantastic! More champagne time for you!
When crafting your wedding day timeline, it's important to understand how many hours of coverage you have your wedding photographers and videographers for and make sure that the big story elements in your day are covered. Work with us to decide where we're best needed. If you're doing a grand exit, that's a huge part of your wedding day story and you want to make sure that's documented.
We prefer to start creating timelines at least a month in advance, as they're a work-in-progress up until a few days before the wedding. By starting earlier, we can decide together if you should begin hair and makeup 30 minutes earlier, or if there's enough time allotted for family portraits. With exception of the ceremony and getting ready, many traditional elements of a wedding (toasts, dances, cake cutting, bouquet toss) can be shuffled at the last minute to accommodate last minute changes. Don't stress about these too much. Decisions to do a first dance, bouquet toss, garter toss can even be made the night of the wedding by communicating with your Day of Coordinator, DJ or even us!
Working out a timeline early in the process (6-8 weeks before the wedding) will also allow you to decide if an additional hour of coverage is needed and if your budget can allow for it. 90% of our couples don't need additional hours of coverage, but if you do, it's much better to make that decision a few weeks before, then two days before.
11:30a // Bridesmaids hair and makeup
1:00p // Bride makeup
2:00p // Bride hair
2:30p // Stephanie & Ryan arrive
3:00p // Florist delivers flowers to wedding party
3:30p // Couple First Look & Portraits
4:30p // Wedding Party Portraits
5:00p // Venue access begins, Day of Coordinator arrives, Florist arrives for ceremony/reception set up
5:15p // Family portraits
6:00p // Ceremony detail & arrivals candid pictures
6:00p // Guests begin to arrive
6:30p // Ceremony begins
6:45p // Ceremony ends
6:50p // Sunset portraits (10 minutes)
7:12p // Sunset
7:45p // Cocktail hour ends
7:45p // Guests begin to be seated for dinner
8:00p // Re-Introduction - Couple only and thank you Toast
8:15p // Dinner served
8:25p // Dinner break for S&R (15 min)
8:45p // Passed champagne for Toasts, Father Toasts, Best Man/Maid of Honor Toasts
9:10p // First Dance
9:15p // Parent Dances
9:25p // Cake Cutting
9:30p // Dance floor opens (Bouquet and Garter at DJ’s discretion)
10:30p // Late night Snack
10:45p // Stephanie & Ryan leave
11:50p // Last dance