Your Wedding Day Timeline

February 21, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

In this post we wanted to share some thoughts about your wedding day timeline - what it is, and why it is important to have one.

What is a timeline? A timeline is basically a schedule for all the things that need to come together on your big day. It is important to have a timeline to make sure your day unfolds as you planned, to help reduce stress, and to make sure all the people helping you,  including your florist, your photographer, and your vendors - even your wedding party know where they are supposed to be and when. A timeline can be simple, or very detailed depending on the complexity of your wedding day - are you getting ready and having the wedding and reception at the same place?, or, are there multiple changes in location requiring travel between locations for you and your bridal party?

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For your wedding photographer, the timeline is really important. The photographer needs to know where to be and the flow of your day. It is also important to have your photographer involved in building of your timeline, or minimally be able to provide input to it. Why? If you want the best wedding photos you can get, and not have anything missed, your photographer needs to know things like where are the bride & groom getting ready, when the flowers are going to arrive so they can be in photos, the flow of the ceremony and reception, and how much time will be needed for family photos following the ceremony. Your photographer can also spot challenges with your schedule to avoid things like over-lapping events, or not enough time allotted for the photographs you want. While your timeline can slip a bit during the actual day, you don't want a single moment missed!

If you are using the services of a wedding coordinator, one of their primary jobs is to help you develop a timeline for your wedding day, and help coordinate with your vendors to make sure your special day flows smoothly. Many times there may be a coordinator for your wedding venue, and another for your reception venue, each will have their own parts of the timeline.

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Your wedding day timeline will probably start in the morning of your wedding day, with the schedule for when the bridal party is supposed to show up to get ready, and end with the close of the reception. It should include the small steps and events along the way. While no two weddings are the same, here are some basic steps in typical wedding day timeline:

  • Bride preparation start time & end time
  • Groom preparation start time & end time
  • Groom & groomsmen photos start & end (boutonnieres need to de delivered by then)
  • Bride & bridesmaids photos start & end (flowers need to be delivered by then)
  • "First Look" start & end (where the Bride & Groom optionally see each other before the ceremony)
  • Travel to the ceremony start & end
  • Ceremony start & end
  • Formal photos start & end (families, then Bride & Groom)
  • Travel to reception start & end
  • Pre-reception cocktail hour start & end
  • Reception start
  • Bride & groom arrival & announcement
  • First dance
  • Parent dances
  • Food service
  • Cake cutting
  • Bouquet toss
  • Garter toss
  • Dancing begins
  • Reception end time

When working with our clients, we will help you create a wedding day timeline, and continue to refine and validate it up to and including the wedding day. We also check with the venue(s), coordinators, and other vendors to ensure everyone is working from the same schedule - that way we won't miss an important moment, or the photographs to go along with them. Not all photographers will do this level of help, so if you don't book us as your wedding photographer - be sure to ask them about it!

Leave us a comment to let us know what your thoughts!
 

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