One of the biggest aspects of wedding planning is making sure you have a good timeline. A “good” timeline sounds subjective, but what I mean by that is a timeline that ensures you have enough time throughout the day for photos and time set aside to enjoy your wedding day with friends and family. Something we tell every one of our couples is that your wedding is not a photo shoot. Your wedding day is about so much more than just photos, although photos are an important piece of the day. I work alongside every one of our brides to make sure the timeline is as optimal as possible, for you to enjoy your wedding day to the fullest.
Usually, I send out a sample timeline that can help with the bones of the day – this is almost always tweaked, as every wedding is unique. On a typical wedding day, we are usually shooting for about nine hours, so the below timeline reflects that timing. I thought this would be helpful to share with any of you brides who are looking for tips on how to think about the timeline of your day.
1 hour getting ready candids, details, getting dressed
– any travel time to photo location
30 mins: bride and groom first look and portraits
30 mins (usually less): bridal party
30 mins (usually less): family photos
– any travel time to ceremony
30 mins pre-ceremony: bridal party tucked away from arriving guests
30 mins: ceremony
– any travel time to reception
1 hour: cocktail hour
2 hours: dinner, speeches
30 mins – 1 hour: dancing
In an ideal world, your ceremony and reception would be at the same venue to eliminate any travel time between the two. However, since that isn’t always the case, make sure you factor that into your timeline (add some buffer for traffic, road construction, etc). Also, please please please think about attending your cocktail hour with your guests! This is the only time all of these people who love you will be in the same place so make sure you are available to spend time with them! You have a whole hour to mingle, so make sure you take advantage of this time by actually attending your own party! By doing photos before the ceremony, most of the key portraits are done (excluding any sunset photos). Skip the party bus and bar hopping and go hangout with everyone at your cocktail hour!
As I mentioned earlier, every single wedding is unique and will have to have it’s own specific timeline, but the outline above should get you started in the right direction. Happy planning!