Wedding days have so many moving parts! It will be one of the very best days of your life. It does involve a lot of planning which can get overwhelming at times.
The biggest way to ensure your day runs smoothly and is stress-free is by creating the perfect wedding timeline. After photographing over 80 + weddings, we've put together our best tips for creating the ultimate wedding day timeline! I hope this helps you with your planning process!
In the world of photography, light is everything! The best lighting always comes about 1 hour before the sun sets. This is when you are able to capture that gorgeous golden light.
When you begin planning your wedding day, be sure to check the time of sunset and plan your ceremony start time accordingly. You really want that last hour of golden light to be reserved for portraits.
FOR EXAMPLE: If I was planning on having a 30 minute ceremony, and the sun is scheduled to set at 7:00pm -- I would start the ceremony at 5:00pm. The ceremony would be over by 5:30pm which gives you a buffer in case it starts late or runs long. You would take photos from 5:40 - 6:40 which would provide gorgeous golden light for your wedding photos!
I always recommend to all of our brides that the begin photographing at least 3 hours before the start of the ceremony. That may sound like a lot of time to you now, but trust me it flies by!
Make sure you schedule time to take your bridesmaid and groomsmen photos before the ceremony. Getting some of those photos taken ahead of time will help mitigate stress and get you into your reception faster.
This is going to sound silly, but if you want to ensure the ceremony starts on time make sure someone is there to seat the guests. Whether you have ushers or a wedding planner there to lead the herd, it makes a big difference. We have seen so many ceremonies start late because guests stand around mingling instead of taking their seats.
After the ceremony, everyone is SO EXCITED! It's a time of tears, hugs, and so much excitement. It's always smart to set aside 10 minutes after the ceremony for these happy moments. That way you won't feel rushed, and can start photos after you've had a chance to gather yourself.
This is one of the most important points! After your ceremony make sure you set aside 1 full hour for photos. This is when the majority of the formal portraits will be taken. This will coincide with cocktail hour, so your guests will be off getting their drink on anyways!
Grand send-offs rarely happen when they are supposed to because it takes a little while to gather the guests -- especially once everyone has had a few drinks.
If you want your send-off to happen at 10:30pm, request that the band or DJ play the last song at 10:20pm. That way everyone has plenty of time to line up, grab a sparkler, and start cheering before the two of you run through for your exit at 10:30pm.