Creating a Seamless Wedding Day Timeline

November 30, 2020

When planning your wedding, there’s a lot to think about. And there are some things that you don’t even know you have to think about! Throughout your planning, you will create a rough timeline, but in the few weeks before your wedding, it’s time to finalize it. Here are some tips for your timeline that will help your wedding day go smoothly and allow your photographer to get the best coverage possible (and allow you to not be stressed so you enjoy your day!).

Plan in “catch up” time.

Throughout the day, throw in a few extra 10 min buffers that will allow you guys to catch up if you’re behind schedule, because almost every wedding falls behind at least a little bit. And if you guys are right on time, it gives you a chance to sit down, breathe, rest your feet and drink some water, and take in the day. Your wedding day will be so go-go-go, it will be nice to take 10 minutes to relax here and there.

Plan extra time for getting ready.

You do NOT want to feel rushed before your day even starts. Give yourself PLENTY of time for getting ready. Having this extra time in there also allows me, your photographer, to get more detail shots, flat lays, and all those timeless getting ready shots that you want. If you have a makeup artist, ask them how much time they will need to not feel rushed.

Set your itinerary and follow it.

Follow the itinerary that you give your guests and vendors. This way, everyone will be on the same page and people will be at the right place at the right time. If you start mixing things up as you go, people will be very confused and lost, and your vendors and guests might not be ready for the event you’re wanting to start.

Book the right amount of hours.

Don’t try to cram 8 hours of coverage into 6 – it’s just not possible! Things get too chaotic and that’s the last thing you want on your wedding day! For example, if you want photos of your dress hanging, flat lay details, writing your vows, getting into your dress (the list goes on!), but only have your photographer come 30 minutes before the ceremony, there simply won’t be enough time. Set aside an appropriate amount of time for each event so you can get full coverage of each event. Here’s what I recommend for certain events:

Getting ready: 1 – 2 hours depending on if it’s just you (the bride) or if you have your bridal party with you or if you want getting ready shots of the groom as well.

Set up/details before ceremony: 30 – 45 min. Any less than 30 min, guests start to fill the venue and it is difficult to get wide shots without guests in there.

Group photos: For smaller elopements, I recommend about 30 min, but if you have a full wedding and want group photos with just about everyone, I would say at least an hour. This includes family and bridal party photos.

Bride and groom portraits: 45 min – 1 hr. I always get so sad when there simply isn’t time for bride and groom portraits, so MAKE SURE you set this time aside! This is YOUR day and you should not have to cut out the pictures of YOU guys!

If you’re doing a first look before your ceremony, I recommend doing your bridal portraits right after the first look. If you’re waiting til the aisle, I recommend doing bridal portraits immediately after the group photos.

Of course weddings have way more events than that, but those are the things that will really be affected if time is cut short.

Consider transition time/hiking time.

Many of the elopements that I shoot have some sort of hike or location change. Do research on how long it takes to do the hike (and don’t forget the time it will take to hike back down!). Will you need time to change into your wedding attire at the top?

Many locations in Zion require the shuttle to get there. You may have to wait in line before boarding the shuttle. It takes about 20 min to get from the Visitor’s Center to the Temple of Sinawava (the last stop). Then it’s about a 5 min walk to the main location where I’ve done ceremonies there.

Are you taking your guests back to an Airbnb for a reception afterwards? Calculate how long it will take for everyone to drive from location A to location B and get settled in. Remember, everyone will be having more fun if they’re not feeling rushed!

You deserve a stress-free day!

I realllly hope you found these tips helpful! So as you put together your wedding day itinerary, just remember to plan for “catch up time”, follow the itinerary you give your vendors, and set aside enough time for each event! Doing these things will allow you to enjoy your day more and it will help your photographer get the most complete coverage of your day.

Want more tips? Click here for one more thing that will improve your wedding day experience.