There is so much planning involved in orchestrating a beautiful wedding. It is really incredible how many people, places, and details must fall together for a memorable day. Even with a year’s worth of planning, the wedding seems to go by so quickly. If you have never gone through the process it can be daunting and sometimes overwhelming! But that year of planning is spent leading up to that one moment. The moment you say “I do.” The moment you kiss. It is one of the most significant moments you will always remember. That is why it is so important to enjoy being in that moment. Creating a wedding timeline helps you worry less about time so you can enjoy more of the wedding day.
Knowing how the light is behaving, travel times for multiple locations, length of the Ceremony, timing of portraits and details are all big factors of a timeline. The first way to start building a wedding day timeline is figuring out what the sunset time is. Typically the sunset time is right when the sun dips below the horizon and it starts to get dark quickly. Planning a Ceremony two hours before Sunset allots enough time to capture family portraits and those dreamy outdoor sunset portraits right after saying “I do!” Having a Ceremony take place too early in the day could affect images and portraits depending on where the Ceremony site is being held (outdoors vs. indoors) and the position of the sun. If you’re not sure on where the light will be, we suggest finding weddings with similar setup and times of day to see what your space will look like. Clean even light is typically ideal. If you can’t move a wedding ceremony time that is early in the day, talk with your planner and florist on how to design your Ceremony site to create even light. There may be ways to combat harsh sun by the position of the alter and location of the Ceremony site. Fabrics could even be incorporated into the alter to help diffuse harsh lights. We have even seen big barn doors dripping in florals and fabric used to create even light during an outdoor wedding.
When the Ceremony time is set, you’ll get a base of how to build the remaining timeline.
Working backward from the Ceremony start time you can begin to build the four hours prior with getting ready details, hair and makeup touch ups, bridal portraits and getting into the dress. If you are not getting ready at your venue site and there is an additional getting ready site for the groom, you will want to allot for travel times and may need to plan for extra coverage.
Adding in a First Look to your wedding day, which are typically done an hour and thirty minutes to two hours before the Ceremony, can help alleviate guests from waiting too long after the Ceremony. Once you have your First Look, you can go straight into Bridal Party Portraits! This gives you more time to get those glowy sunset bridal portraits you have been dreaming of. If you are not planning for a First Look, be sure to include enough time after the Ceremony for family formal portraits, bridal party portraits, and portraits of you two. Don’t forget to create your family shot list prior to the wedding day (see more helpful posts below and click on “The Family Shot List” to learn more!) We ask brides one to two months in advance for this. This list will determine if you need more time built in for those larger family portraits.
If you’re Reception is in a separate location, don’t forget to allot travel to get to the venue site.
Working forwards from the Ceremony start time, determine how long your wedding Ceremony will be and we recommend building about 45-60 minutes (with the extra 10-15 minutes built just in case the ceremony is delayed) for portraits. Build in even more if you are opting out of the First Look. With a family shot list prepared ahead of time, you will be able to breeze through family formals and your portraits to get you back to the party! If you’re Reception is in the same location as your wedding ceremony, build in the remaining three hours with first dances, speeches, special traditions, cake cutting, the bouquet toss and exit!
Keep in mind any additional portrait locations or multiple venue locations will affect the timeline.
A wedding timeline is a necessity to have and can be anywhere from 8-10 hours or more depending on your wedding day. Even with a timeline, know that things will get delayed or get moved around. Factors such as weather can delay transportation and wedding guests from arriving, or a snag in the wedding dress can make getting ready go from forty five minutes to an hour and a half. Remember to build in extra 10-15 minutes throughout your day so that if snags happen, you are not falling too behind!
At the end of the day, you will be marrying your best friend so any changes along the way will be minor compared to the lifelong journey you will have together starting off as newly weds. 🙂
Feel free to reach out to us if you are in need of extra help on building your timeline.
FLORALS CREATED BY: Blushing Blooms Event Florist
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