For the vast majority of my wedding clients, I am with them for almost their whole wedding day - from the start of the day with the bride and groom getting ready, documenting the anticipation of what the day will hold, right through the ceremony (of course!) and on to the reception, speeches and the first dance. I have lost count of the number of times that the bridal party has asked me “what’s next and when do we need to be there?”. And because your photographer is the person that is there with you recording the details of your wedding for the whole day, more often than not we end up being informal timekeepers! In this post I’ll give you some great tips to help you plan a wedding day timeline that will keep you cool calm and collected and ensure you get the most out of the time with your guests, bridal party and your beau.
Talk to your vendors
Ideally you should be talking with your vendors in the lead up to your wedding, but sometimes you just don’t know what to ask! You’ll want to find out from each of your wedding vendors just how much time they need on the wedding day itself for each of their elements. For example,
ask your hair stylist and make up artist how long it will take to complete each person for hair and makeup,
ask your dress maker/bridal store how long it will realistically take you to get into your dress (or have a practice run with your bridesmaids a few days before as this can take longer than you might think!),
If you have to set up anything at your venue, find out when you can get access to set up (bonus tip: ask if they have any tips or advice for setup and pack down, they will have seen it all before!)
Talk to your florist, cake maker and anyone else who is providing a product on the day of your wedding, about delivery timelines
Allow extra time - for everything!
Not only will this help to mitigate the unexpected things (and there usually is a few unexpected things that happen), but it will also give you time to enjoy the experience of your day without stressing too much about the timeline. And when you’re relaxed and having fun, you get great photos too! When planning think about travel times in particular and pad these out a bit because weather, traffic or an unexpected delay can leave you pressed for time.
Consider changing up the traditional order of events, especially if your priority is spending time with your guests.
A first look is a great way to make the most of the time on your wedding day. Many couples use this time to not only connect with each other before their ceremony, but it can also be an awesome time to get your creative and bridal party photos out of the way while your hair and makeup are still en pointe! This also gives you more time to enjoy celebrating with your guests straight after the ceremony.
It’s not necessarily set in stone!
If your timeline changes on the day (which it may well do!), communicate with your vendors. We can help to make things flow more easily if you want to cut the cake first or skip straight to the dancing. Your MC is a great person to do this on your behalf so you don’t have to worry about tracking everyone down. As a photographer, having a tiny bit of notice for changes to the timeline means that I can plan to be in the right place at the right time to get the best photos for you.
I hope that this has shed some light on the potentially overwhelming idea of planning the timeline of your wedding day! If you want to read more about preparing for the day itself, definitely check out the following posts by more of the Wed In Waikato team:
Wedding Day Morning Preparation
Why You Should Do An Engagement Shoot
With love and excitement, Kate Ryan.
[ Written by Ryan's Daughter Photography ]