The perfect wedding day timeline? 10 tips from your wedding photographer.
Being a wedding photographer all my life taught me one thing: weddings are wonderful and glamorous, but they can also be very stressful if not planned correctly. Here are a few key aspects we have observed over the years, while capturing beautiful celebrations and watching the best wedding planners in the industry.
Also, tailoring your timeline will ensure your wedding photographer can capture all those beautiful photos to treasure afterwards. So buckle up, here comes the list!
1. Hire a wedding planner!
We cannot over-stress the importance of having a wedding coordinator! They have done this many times before, so they know where the pressure points are; while you are most likely planning a wedding for the first time. They are the eyes overlooking the smooth proceedings of your day, they see the problems before they even arise and eliminate them seamlessly for you. They make sure the guests are where they need to be, before you walk down the aisle or that the candles are lit at the reception hall. The planners coordinate dining service and entertainment. Even if you are planning your wedding yourself, we beg you, have a coordinator just for the day! All you need to do is enjoy and take it all in.
2. Don’t pack your timeline too tight.
Wedding are notorious for random things popping up, no matter how perfectly planned. We strongly advise to leave a few minutes here and there, so if anything unexpected happens (the groom’s formal jacket is still in Dad’s car, we cannot get the bridesmaids infinity dresses figured out, etc).
3. Have your accessories ready for photos.
All those pretty things that form part of your wedding attire need to ready and in one spot. This will allow your wedding photographer to capture them well, without having to run around trying to figure out which suitcase the perfume is in. Also, take your gown out of the bag and hang it somewhere, so the creases can unfold.
4. Create timeline for your vendors.
This goes especially to the makeup artist and hair stylist. Let them know what time you want everyone to be ready, so we have plenty of time to take beautiful portraits of you and your retinue. Remember, bridesmaids need to be completely ready first, then they help you into the dress. Leave at least an hour after your makeup and hair is completed.
5. Breathe before the ceremony!
Be a relaxed Bride that slowly walks down the aisle. Give us time to capture the moment when your eyes first meet! Also, brief your bridesmaids to walk slowly (for the same reason, galloping down the aisle never works). Effortlessly elegant!
6. Create a shot list for family photos
But please, don’t make it too long! You don’t want to spend an hour of your wedding day smiling for photos with every one of your wedding guests. To make it easy for your wedding photographer, give the list to a bossy bridesmaid that knows everyone in the family. She will ensure the guests are ready when you want to take a photograph with them. It’s quick to take a photo, but it takes a lot longer to find grandma that just wondered off into the garden.
7. Don’t let the cocktail hour drag.
Guests want to spend time with you and your newlywed partner, don’t leave them for hours! What works well is spending some time with your guests first and sneaking out for photos later. Factor in the sunset time: you want the last “golden hour” for your photos! The light around sunset is magical and makes for the most beautiful wedding photos and video. Your wedding photographer will confirm!
8. Remember to snack on something!
Arrange with the venue to deliver snacks to your photo shoot location. You would have been on your feet for hours already and you still have a bit to go. Having a nutritious snack is essential.
9. Cut the cake on arrival!
We see these days couples slice the cake the moment they enter the reception hall. Great idea! Cake cutting is wonderful, but it gets tricky to slot in between the speeches and the dance. Get it done straight away!
10. Put time limit on the speeches
There is nothing awkward about telling the best man he’s got 15 minutes to complete his speech. One of the worst party killers are lengthy speeches, with people sobbing on a microphone. Kindly ask the individuals that will address the speeches to be prepared and put a time limit on their speech. Also, don’t have too many guests speaking, it delays the rest of the evening (like food service and dancing).
BONUS: Talk to your vendors about overtime.
In case something does run a bit late, find out from the vendors how their overtime works. You might want to capture the last hour of the party on camera or you want the DJ to play just a bit longer while you dance your heart out with the girls. Have those conversations before the wedding, so you are prepared in case there is a delay.
Oh, that seems like a lot, but it really helps to be prepared. And if you are working with a good wedding planner, they will hold your hand all the way. We wish you to have the most magical wedding and we hope to be there to capture all those breath-taking moments on camera!
Here are a few wedding planners we adore working with:
Lots of love, the Vizion team.