So, with the whole spring forward over the weekend, I’d had great plans to write about my thoughts on wedding timelines and how to create a great one…. and then I got called away to a meeting yesterday :-/ And then I checked back online last night and realized Southern Weddings put together a great one…. with pretty graphics and all! (seriously, I wouldn’t expect anything less though!)
There’s some great advice on there, and I really encourage you to go read it if you are putting together a wedding day time line, or if you’ll be helping a friend make one!
I thought I’d go ahead and share my thoughts on the subject too…. A few years ago I realized that couples really didn’t know how to begin making a timeline, and they would book me not knowing when to tell me to start coverage. So… I decided to make them a little cheat sheet. I now send it to all my clients as soon as they book. Part of our contract states that you must include us in your timeline planning…. and that’s not to be all up in your business, but to make sure you get all the photos at the best possible time of all the events happening! It’s just a little double-edge requirement that makes sure you get great photos, and we get the time to make those great photos.
Rule #1: Work Backwards.
Start with your reception. What time are you leaving/is the party over? What time do you arrive? How long will it take you to get there (if getting married somewhere else)? Now move on to the portraits. Do you have a long list of groups you want photographed? Plan on 5 minutes per group larger than 8, and 2 minutes per group smaller than 8. It never fails, a groomsman, uncle or flower girl has wondered off and someone has to go find them. This really stops the flow and eats up time. Now, your ceremony…. how long is it, and how long do you want/need to be tucked away before it? We always try and have you tucked away at least 30 minutes prior to your start time… which means you’re likely getting dressed a minimum of an hour before your ceremony (but probably more if you want any photos done before the ceremony)Back to travel… are you riding to the ceremony site from the getting ready site? How far apart are they? Now, hair & makeup……
**How cumbersome is your wedding dress? Will it take 4 people to get you laced up, strapped in? Some dresses take a good 20 minutes to get into! Something else- while it may take you a while to get in your dress, it could also take your bridesmaid a while to locate her bra and shoes. I’ve seen it happen.
Rule #2: Hair & Makeup takes longer than planned. Always. Plan an extra 30 minutes to an hour to whatever they tell you. If you have 5 ladies getting primped, and they tell you it will take 40 minutes for hair and 20 minutes for makeup… that is an hour per lady. Will there be more than one hair/makeup person working at a time? If you only have one, then that’s a good 5 hours of hair/makeup…. and the bride always takes extra time.
Rule #3: Make sure you count travel time. Often times, the 10 minute limo ride gets left off the schedule…. but 10 minutes often takes 30. It takes a while to get everyone and their stuff loaded. Don’t leave this out.
Rule #4: Sunset is a gold on a wedding day. Most photographers will want to do a few photos during this time. It offers the prettiest light, with a different feeling. Even if you’ve completed the “portrait” section of the day, your photographer will likely want to grab you just for a few moments at this time. Make sure you know what time sunset happens on your wedding day.
The last thing you want is to feel really rushed on your wedding day!