Timeline Tips: Planning Your Wedding Day (with photography in mind)

Crafting a photography schedule that ensures you capture all the beautiful moments of your special day can sometimes seem overwhelming, but don’t worry, with the support of your vendor team, spouse and your planning committee, you’ve got this! As a wedding photographer, I understand the importance of a well-planned timeline in creating stunning and stress-free wedding day memories. Here are my top tips for planning a realistic and seamless photography schedule that allows you to savor every moment.

Start Early

Begin planning your photography timeline as soon as you’ve secured your venue and booked your photographer. Early planning allows you to allocate sufficient time for each part of the day and ensures that you’re not rushing through precious moments. Also, please don’t worry or let this stress you out! Your wedding day timeline is still fluid this early in the planning process. Just because you wrote it down or typed it into your spreadsheet doesn’t mean it is now written in stone and you have to commit to those times.

Consult with Your Photographer

Your photographer is your trusted ally in crafting the perfect timeline – aside from your planner of course! However, not everyone hires a planner as part of their vendor team. So be sure to schedule a consultation to discuss your vision, preferred photography style, and must-have shots. Your photographer can offer valuable insights and recommendations based on their experience, your wedding day vision, and which moments will mean the most to you and your partner.

Allocate Time for Getting Ready

Start your day off on the right foot by allocating ample time for getting ready photos. Plan for hair and makeup to be finished at least an hour before your photographer arrives, allowing time for candid moments, detail shots, and relaxed portraits.

Factor in Travel Time

If you’re moving between multiple locations throughout the day, such as from getting ready to the ceremony site and then to the reception venue, be sure to factor in travel time when planning your timeline. Allow extra time for unexpected delays, traffic, or parking issues.

Consider Having a First Look or Bride & Groom Portrait Session

Consider scheduling a first look or a dedicated bride and groom portrait session before the ceremony. This not only allows for intimate moments between the two of you but also frees up time after the ceremony for family photos or enjoying cocktail hour with your guests. Please know, that while this does free up time later in the day, it is not necessary if you have your heart set on the first look being at the ceremony. You can still have a wonderful timeline, and refrain from having a first look! Make sure you do what feels right to you and your partner, not what anyone else thinks would be best for you and YOUR day.

Be Realistic About Family Formals

Family formals are an essential part of wedding photography, but they can also be time-consuming. Work with your photographer to create a list of must-have family groupings and allocate sufficient time for each grouping. Consider doing these immediately after the ceremony while everyone is still gathered together. If you have a larger family, that is perfectly fine! Just remember that guests will eventually get antsy and tire of waiting around, so pair these groupings together as much as possible to reduce the overall number of group shots on your list. (Not to mention you will want a break after these as well before you start your reception!)

Sunset and Golden Hour Shots

If you’re hoping to capture romantic sunset or golden hour shots, plan your timeline accordingly. Consult with your photographer to determine the optimal time for these photos and adjust your schedule accordingly to ensure you don’t miss out on the beautiful natural light if it a must have moment for you.

Build in Buffer Time

Finally, don’t forget to build in buffer time throughout the day to account for any unexpected delays or last-minute changes. Having a bit of extra time built into your timeline can help alleviate stress and ensure that you stay on track even if things don’t go exactly as planned.

Planning a timeline for your wedding day may seem daunting, but with careful consideration and collaboration with your photographer, you can create a schedule that allows you to relax, enjoy, and savor every moment. By starting early and being realistic about timing, you’ll set the stage for a stress-free day filled with beautiful memories captured for a lifetime.

Happy Planning!

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