As you're going through all the final wedding details in preparation for the big day one of the most important things is the wedding day timeline. It gives structure to the day and helps you envision your wedding. But much like planning a wedding, putting all these details on paper may seem like a daunting task... I am here to tell you: You. Can. Do. THIS! If done correctly, writing your wedding timeline will surely get you pumped up about your wedding. On the day of, it will serve as a roadmap to your coordinator, photographer and all other vendors to guide you and your S.O. through the most important day of your life.
Here are a few important tips to consider while drafting your wedding day timeline:
1. How to Start Writing A Wedding Timeline
As you begin writing your timeline, there may be a few loose ends to tie up and that is fine. A good place to start is with the last event of the day and work your way backwards. From there you can fill in the other events that have less wiggle room then others. For example, your ceremony start and end time is usually set in stone either by the venue itself or you may have already sent out your invitations. These times can't be changed so write them on your timeline. And just like that, your timeline has taken shape!
2. "Fake-Up" For Getting Ready Photos
Now that you have the start time for your ceremony and your reception end time, you can now think about when you want your photographer to show up at your hotel suite while you and your bridesmaids are getting your hair and make up done. These are great photos for your wedding album and should be included if you can. If you don't have a ton of time to spare, "fake-up" shots before you get in your wedding dress can be done rather quickly.
3. Include all venue addresses
For a wedding day that has multiple locations be sure to include the addresses to every location you want coverage for. This will help keep your vendors on the same page and ensure nobody gets redirected to the inland empire when they should be in Downtown Los Angeles for your wedding!
Secondly, while writing your timeline don't forget to include travel time between locations. It is a great idea to give yourself a cushion when you schedule travel time in the case that things run a little behind. For those you live in Los Angeles, this is a must! There seems to be traffic 24/7....
4. How long should it take to do family photos?
Whether you schedule your family photos before or after your ceremony, family photos typically take about 30-45 minutes depending on the size of the family. To help move things along, give your family members a heads up that they must be at the photo location. To be safe, set aside an hour on the timeline for family photos even though it likely will not take that long. If your photographer gets done early, that will allow more time for romantic photos or for you to enjoy your cocktail hour with your guests.
Bonus Point: On the timeline, you should definitely include a list of the family members you want pictures of! You can use abbreviations like M.O.G. for mother of the groom or M.O.H for "maid of honor."
5. Cake Cutting, Bouquet & Garter Toss
These events don't take that long so it is a safe bet to cram these 3 things into a 15 minute time slot. Plus, it gives the reception good momentum and gets your guests out on the dance floor! Write it in. And move on!
6. Dancing Photos- how much time do you need?
Speaking of dancing...
Every bride and groom wants shots of them and their guests cutting the rug on their dance floor. If you're pressed for time, rest assured that your photographer will be able to get great shots of you and your partner dancing if you allotted about 15 minutes. There have been more then a few occasions where the bride and groom are rushing from event to event at the beginning of the wedding and when we get to dancing, they will set aside 2 hours for dancing photos. This isn't to say you should cut your dancing time short with your guests. Keep in mind your photographer doesn't need an extended time to get great dancing photos. So if you're looking to shift some items around on your timeline, this might be where you want to start!
7. Schedule Time For Romantic Photos
I will admit this is a bit selfish of me but I think romantic photos of you and your partner is a must have for your wedding. These are my favorite photos from the wedding day because it showcases the pure joy between two people on the biggest day of their lives. So much of the day is dedicated towards celebrating with family and friends but it is incredibly important to carve out some alone time for you and your partner. Romantic photos is a great time to do just that!
Bonus Point: Another thing you might want to consider is stepping away from your reception just as the sun is setting to take photos. In about 15 minutes or less you and your photographer can get some phenomenal photos with gorgeous light. And just think, you'll get to catch your first sunset as a married couple. What is more romantic than that?
So there you have it. I hope this helps you think about things as you're writing your wedding day timeline! If you have any useful tips you used on your wedding day please add your input in the comments below!