It seems like something so complicated: plan the timeline of your entire wedding day, even though you’ve never planned a wedding before in your life! Thankfully, there are some tips that you can keep in mind to help you plan out and organize the time needed for the events on your big day. Here are a few:
– Allocate more time than you think you need for all events: The makeup artist took longer than expected. The dress had wrinkles and needed to be steamed prior to wearing. The limo was delayed by road construction. The florist didn’t arrive on time with the bouquets. The dinner took an hour longer than the catering company anticipated. If something were ever to be delayed, chances are it would happen on your wedding day. So make sure to plan in more time than you think you need to accomplish everything, and you can probably accomplish all of your events without adding additional stress.
– Delegate, delegate, delegate: Prior to your big day, make sure to delegate any tasks that must happen on the day itself (paying any vendors, organizing posed photo subjects, announcements, etc) to members of your wedding party or family. This will help things run much more smoothly and quickly.
– Leave plenty of time for your first look or couple portraits: Many times people don’t give much thought to these photos, as they are more concerned with figuring out the configuration of each family portrait. However, the portraits of the bride and groom alone often end up being the most cherished photos of the entire day. These are the ones you gift to parents, relatives and friends, as well as hang on your own wall. Make sure to plan at least half an hour for your portraits (and more if you are able.)
– Be at the ceremony location a minimum of 30 minutes prior to the ceremony: You’ll want to be finished with all hair, makeup, photos and travel well before the ceremony starts. It is safest to plan on being ready at the location 30 minutes, and sometimes one hour, prior to the ceremony. This way you are prepared in case something runs too long, or at the very least you have time to breathe and relax before the big moment.
– Plan 3-4 minutes per photo grouping: When planning out how much time you will need to get formal photos with your family, bridal party, etc, a good rule of thumb is to add 3-4 minutes per photo (assuming all participants in the photos are ready when needed.) And don’t forget to make sure everyone needed for the photos is aware of where they need to be prior to your day! (I’m personally guilty of that one – sorry Laura!)
– Arrange for most reception activities to happen early: Once the dinner is over, make sure to plan the cake cutting, first dance, father/daughter and mother/son dances, bouquet toss, and any other events, early in the evening. Often times, many relatives and friends won’t want to stay too long after dinner, so you want to make sure as many people are still available to watch the fun!
If you can keep these tips in mind while planning out your wedding timeline, you will be much more likely to keep your day running smoothly – helping to alleviate any unneeded stress on one of the biggest days of your life. Best of luck and happy planning!
Looking for More Advice and Opinions? Check out my other help articles:
To Look or Not to Look? Having a First Look on Your Wedding Day
Wedding Day Photography Tips
Engagement Photography Tips
Top 10 Things to Look for When Hiring a Wedding Photographer
Should You Have an Unplugged Wedding Ceremony?