Trying to craft the perfect wedding timeline can be stressful, especially when you just want everything to run smoothly. As a wedding photographer, I've seen a lot of timelines some of which were great and some that weren't so great. So to relieve some of the stress, I wanted to take the time to share with you five of my recommended do's and don'ts when it comes to putting your wedding events into a timeline.
Don' t Do Something Just Because Someone Says You Have To
One thing I often see is when couples try to cram way too much into their timeline because they are trying to appease everyone's suggestions. But here's the thing to remember: Your wedding is your wedding. You do not have to make your day reflect everyone else's suggestions and you also don't have to do every wedding tradition.
When it comes to the things you include in your wedding timeline, make sure that every event is something you and your fiance would want to do on the day of your wedding. If you don't want to do a bouquet or garter toss, guess what? You don't have to. If you don't want to do a first look, guess what? You don't have to.
Again to reiterate, it's your wedding day so you get to choose what's on the wedding timeline.
Set Aside 20 Minutes for Sunset Portraits
If your wedding allows you to take sunset portraits, also known as golden hour portraits, I highly suggest you to take advantage of such beautiful and natural lighting. My couples favorite pictures of them together are always their sunset portraits. They love sharing them and printing them for their home. It's one thing that takes no-time at all and allows you and your now spouse, to soak up being officially married.
Keep Your Family Formals Simple and Concise
Often couples try to over complicate their family formals. What I recommend is to make a photo list of must-have family groupings. Make sure to include details that your photographer needs to be aware of such as stepparents, etc.
It's also important to make sure that anyone you want to have in family pictures know what time to be on-site the day of the wedding. If having pictures after your ceremony, it's extremely important that you inform family not to join the reception or cocktail hour. I can confirm that having to track down a family member once the reception or cocktail hour is going on always slows down the timeline of events.
And, one last note when it comes to family formals... If you do have a larger family, I always recommend having a cocktail or social hour for your guests if you don't want to open the dinner line immediately after. This way your guests don't become bored easily.
Have Your Wedding Details Ready Before Your Photographer Arrives
If you want flatlays and detail shots of your wedding accessories, make sure to have these items collected prior to your photographer arriving. Honestly, one of the best things I've seen is a bride who had hers and his details ready to go in a rubbermaid. They had pre-packed them this way so they wouldn't forget any special details they wanted photographed in their flatlays. It included their save the date, formal invitation, rings, perfume and cologne, cufflinks, jewelry, etc.
Hire a Wedding Planner
Even if you don't need a full-service wedding planner, I highly recommend hiring a wedding planner for wedding day management. You've spent countless hours planning your wedding day, why not hire someone to help make sure the day goes smoothly? A wedding planner will help you finalize your timeline and can often pinpoint logistics that you may not be aware of that need to be factored into the timeline.
These are my five wedding timeline to-do's and don'ts.
And as I wrap up this blog, I want you to know that your wedding timeline can be adjusted on the day-of your wedding. Somethings may take longer than expected while other things may take less time. Your wedding timeline is a game plan for all your vendors going into your wedding day. Know that being flexible with your wedding timeline will also help you with any nerves, too. At the end of the day, no matter what, you'll be married to your best friend.