5 Tips to Plan the Perfect Wedding Day Timeline | Minneapolis Wedding Photographer
One of the hardest parts of planning your wedding is putting together the perfect timeline for your big day. By planning ahead, you can ensure your day runs smoothly for you and your guests. With a clear and effective schedule of events on your wedding day, you will have more control and reduce the risk of running out of time for the photos, moments, and events you want to be part of your special day. Based on my experience with a variety of wedding day timelines, here are my top five tips to help you get started planning yours.
1. Hire a Wedding Planner
Planning a wedding is a long and involved process that requires keeping track of tons of small details! With so many moving parts , I always highly recommend investing in a wedding planner. After all, you may have never planned a wedding before and don’t have the experience to best anticipate and prepare for every detail and could-be disaster! An experienced wedding planner knows the drill, and can anticipate and prepare for any problem that might arise.
If hiring a planner for a full planning experience is unrealistic for whatever reason, I recommend hiring a day of coordinator. A day of coordinator’s role is to help ensure the day runs smoothly and on schedule. By hiring someone to manage the technical side of your wedding day, you are gifting yourself with the ability to sit back, relax, and just enjoy your day!
2. Consider a First Look
While some couples are hesitant to plan a first look in favor of saving the surprise for the walk down the aisle, many of my past couples felt that having a first look actually made the ceremony even more romantic and enjoyable! It’s virtually impossible to avoid feeling nervous as you make a lasting commitment to your love in front of all your guests, and it can be beneficial to find time to relax during an otherwise stressful day. A first look can give you time alone with your partner before your vows to calm nerves and better enjoy your time at the altar.
A first look is also a way to be alone with your partner on a day that is otherwise focused on socializing with friends and family. This special time alone also gives your photographer a unique opportunity to capture beautiful, intimate images of you and your love on your big day.
Finally, a first look can be an essential tool in making sure the events of your day run smoothly. When we do a first look, it allows us to take all your portraits (couple, wedding party, and family formals) before the ceremony. That means that after you say ‘I do’ we don’t have to squeeze all your portrait time into a tight cocktail hour. It also means that you can enjoy your social hour with your guests right away!
3. Schedule Buffer Time
No matter how hard you try to stick to a schedule, it is still very likely that your day will run behind schedule. This is true at almost every wedding I photograph! To prevent delays from derailing the flow of your whole day, you can set yourself up for success by including plenty of buffer time in your schedule. I especially recommend adding extra time to hair and makeup, and your scheduled portrait time. If your wedding day takes place at multiple locations, make sure to also schedule plenty of travel time. With wiggle room incorporated into your schedule, you will feel less rushed and be able to calmly make your way through all the events of your day.
4. Be Thoughtful in Choosing Your Ceremony Time
Your wedding ceremony will be the center of your special day, so it will likely dictate the flow of events. To find the perfect ceremony time, start by researching the time of sunset for your date. If you want the perfect lighting in your photos, it is best to start your ceremony one or two hour before sunset. If you choose to have an outdoor ceremony early in the day, it’s important to remember that the lighting will likely be more harsh and difficult for me to work with. While I’m experienced in working in tons of lighting conditions, the reality is that no photographer can make harsh light look as beautiful as a dreamy golden hour! On the other hand, if you decide to start your ceremony right at sunset, remember to schedule all of your portrait time before the ceremony so you can have gorgeous natural light in your images.
5. Ensure You Schedule the Appropriate Time for all Your Photos
When the memories of your wedding day fade with time, the photos from your day will live on for generations. Therefore, it’s critical to schedule enough time to capture all the photos you’ll need to remember your day for years to come. While I can make various photography timelines work, I recommend setting aside the following amounts of time (at minimum) to ensure I can deliver you a wide variety of incredible photos from your day:
- Details & Getting Ready : 1.5 hours
- First Look : 30 minutes
- Couple Photos: 30 minutes
- Wedding Party: 30 minutes
- Family Formals: 30 minutes
By setting aside sufficient time for photos, you can prevent the fear that precious moments avoided documentation!
And there you have it! My top five tips to help you plan a timeline for your perfect wedding day! While I do work with my clients a few months before the wedding day to nail down the details of your timeline, I hope these tips help you in the early stages of preparing for your special day!
Want more tips?! Check out my blog on 5 Ways to Add Adventure to Your Engagement Session!