An Ideal Wedding Day Timeline

Ah...the wedding timeline! I feel like this is one of the most dreaded parts of the planning process for all of my Brides! I'm here to tell you, it doesn't have to be!

When planning my own wedding, boy was I clueless. It wasn't until I became a wedding photographer and started helping other brides that I realized what exactly was necessary in a timeline for the day to run smoothly and effortlessly. Don't get me wrong, there is always that chance you'll be running 15 minutes behind - or things won't perfectly line up the way you planned. Take a breath and know THAT IS OKAY! However, with a good timeline, you have something to hold in your hands that you can use to help guide that wild bridal party, or family members who seem to disappear after the ceremony. Plus - nailing down a timeline with your photographer means you are giving your photographer the ability to utilize her time with you in the very best way.

Here is a sample timeline that I send ALL of the #savannahwardbrides when we start planning out their day!

Wedding Day Timeline with a First Look

2:00pm Photographer arrival // Photographer photographs details like dress, shoes, jewelry, invitation, etc
2:30pm Bridesmaids get dressed // Photographer photographs last-minute hair and makeup touchups
2:45pm Bride gets dressed
2:55pm Groom departs for First Look
3:00pm Bride departs for First Look
3:10pm - 3:40pm First Look & Bride & Groom Portraits
3:40pm - 4:10pm Bridal party photos
4:10pm - 4:30pm Immediate family photos
4:30pm Bride gets tucked away from early arriving guests and touchups before Ceremony 4:40pm Photographers photograph Ceremony decor
4:55pm Bridal party lines up for Ceremony
5:00pm Ceremony
5:30pm End of Ceremony // Guests head to cocktail hour
5:40pm Extended family photos
5:50pm - 6:10pm Sunset photos of bride and groom
6:15pm Photographers photograph Reception decor and cocktail hour
6:30pm Guests invited to enter Reception and find their seats
6:40pm Grand Entrance
6:45pm Reception Events Begin
10:00pm Hugs & Farewell! 

Now, this timeline above is based off of 8 hours of coverage, and a first look! I plan on doing a blog about the pro's and con's of a first look. That is to come soon! For now, if you already are certain you will NOT be doing a first look - here is another timeline without one.

Wedding Day Timeline without a First Look

2:30 - 3:15pm Photographer arrival // Photographer photographs details like dress, shoes, jewelry, invitation,
2:45pm Bridesmaids get dressed // Photographer photographs last-minute hair and makeup touchups
3:15pm Bride gets dressed
3:15pm - 3:45pm Bridal Portraits & Bride + Bridesmaids photos
3:50pm Bride gets tucked away from early arriving guests and touchups before Ceremony
4:00pm - 4:30pm Groom Portraits & Groom + Groomsmen photos
4:35pm Photographer photographs Ceremony Decor
4:50pm Bridal party lines up for Ceremony
5:00pm Ceremony
5:30pm End of Ceremony // Guests head to cocktail hour
5:40pm - 5:55 Family photos
6:00pm - 6:15pm Bridal Party Photos
6:15pm - 6:30pm Romantic portraits of bride and groom
6:35pm Photographers photograph Reception decor and cocktail hour
6:45pm Guests invited to enter Reception and find their seats
6:55pm Grand Entrance
7:00pm Reception Events Begin*
10:30pm Hugs & Farewell! 

*If you decide to not do a first look, that leaves about 15-20 minutes for Bride & Groom portraits. And while it is totally possible to get plenty of beautiful images in that time, I always love to have the extra few minutes that I can with my couple. I highly suggest SUNSET PORTRAITS during the reception! Even if it's only for 10 minutes, take the time to go with your photographer for sunset portraits! The guests will be busy dancing, and you will be happy you took the extra time to have incredible portraits with your new spouse. 

 JC & KC had already had their "Bride & Groom portraits" before the reception. But right before I left, we planned just 5 minutes to sneak out of the reception for portraits in the beautiful golden light. They ended up being the favorite images from the wedding day!

JC & KC had already had their "Bride & Groom portraits" before the reception. But right before I left, we planned just 5 minutes to sneak out of the reception for portraits in the beautiful golden light. They ended up being the favorite images from the wedding day!

Here are 10 things to keep in mind when planning your wedding day!

  1. Travel time between ceremony and reception locations!
  2. Think about the portraits you want of you and your groom! Give your photographer 30-40 minutes for a First Look / Bride & Groom portraits, and about 20 minutes in a day for the Bridal Party portraits!
  3. Be sure to let your photographer photograph your reception details BEFORE any guests touch it!
  4. Plan to have your family in ONE place for the family formals. If you are a #savannahwardbrides you will receive a questionnaire that has you list these family members so we know ahead of time who needs to be there!
  5. If you have a HUGE bridal party with a lot of bridesmaids, have more than one hairdresser available!
  6. Go over your timeline with your wedding coordinator. If you need one, I can send you a list of recommendations! (It's also a good idea to go over this timeline with your family and bridal party!)
  7. Steam your dress BEFORE your wedding day! Don't wait to do this till the day of. 
  8. Always plan for extra time getting ready, something is bound to take longer thane expected! (For example...fake eyelashes)
  9. Have ALL of your details ready for your photographer when she arrives! This will save tons of time!
  10. Take a breath and relax! This is the best day of your life.

Now I could seriously go on and on about this topic. I absolutely LOVE helping my clients with this because I honestly feel it helps them relax and enjoy their wedding day! Hope you enjoyed the first blog post in my Wedding Tips series! I will be back Wednesday with more!

Feel free to comment below with more tips for brides on how to plan the perfect wedding day!

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xoxo,

Savannah