Timelines, timelines, timelines! That word might just be making you cringe like it did when I was planning my wedding day 6 years ago. As a bride who is most likely getting married for the first time, you don’t know exactly how your wedding day should look. You’re doing your best to juggle #allthethings and make sure everyone know where to be at what time. It’s tough – I completely understand! That’s why I want to provide you with some tips and considerations to help make your wedding day run as smooth as possible.
A friend once told me her best wedding advice: “If you ever have any wedding related questions, ask a photographer, they have seen it all!” I couldn’t agree more! I have seen wedding days go smoothly and I have seen wedding days go not so smoothly. This is why I always try to be proactive by teaming up with my brides and providing them with as much information as possible based on my experience to help you design a timeline that is realistic and allows time for you to truly enjoy your day and soak up the love-filled moments.
Here are my top tips for creating a stress-free wedding day timeline:
No matter how many hours you put into planning your perfect day, how many maps and labels and planning tools you use so everyone knows what to do (trust me, I was once in your position as well!), there will always be something that will not go as planned on your wedding day. So, if you can accept that there will be at least one small hiccup now, you will be able to roll with the punches much easier on your actual wedding day. Since I know that a schedule is never perfect, my best strategy for making up for delays is to plan buffer time throughout the day. Hair and makeup not complete on time? No problem, I planned an extra 15 minutes between that and your next event.
I know that first looks are certainly not for everyone! I didn’t do one at my own wedding. But for some people they can be a really great way to not only ease your nerves of seeing each other for the first time in front of all your guests, but first looks are also a great way to knock out a ton of pictures before the ceremony so you can get back to celebrating with your family and friends quicker! If you decide to have a first look, I will also suggest planning time to knock out your wedding party pictures, family pictures and some bride and groom portraits before your ceremony even starts. And for any images that we are not able to get before the ceremony, I will be sure to snap them right after, but you can be sure that the majority of your important images are already done.
It sounds great to get your hair done in your hotel room then drive to a scenic mountain top for your bridesmaids photos then have your ceremony at the venue and go to another scenic location for your bride and groom portraits and head back to your venue for the reception – but the reality is that with that many location changes, there are a lot more chances to start running behind schedule due to traffic or waiting for people to arrive. I suggest limiting the locations you have to drive to on your wedding day. If you can get mostly ready at your venue and I can arrive there at my start time, that is ideal. If you can’t get into your venue with enough time to get ready then get ready in a nearby hotel or bed and breakfast that is surrounded by great scenery for pictures and is a short drive to your venue.
Trying to cram as many things as possible into your wedding day may not be the best way to go. The less you have to do on your wedding day, the smoother it typically will go. Things that you can do to simplify are get your nails done, decorate your venue, steam your dress and pack your bags the day before. Another way to simplify your day is have all the important things in one place. Put your shoes, jewelry, rings, marriage license, and emergency kit all in one place so you know exactly where to go the day of your wedding when people need these items. Also, don’t underestimate how long it will take to complete hair and make-up. Allow for at least a half an hour of buffer time for hair and make-up as I consistently see hair and make-up as a delay in wedding timelines. Have your jewelry, invitations, shoes, rings and veil in one bag so when your photographer arrives, they can grab that bag and start shooting detail shots immediately. Trust me, the less you have to do on your wedding day means more time for sipping mimosa’s with your besties and busting a move on the dance floor with your family and friends.
Family portraits can be one of the most stressful times because everyone is excited to get a glass of wine and start celebrating, you’re trying to track down grandma because she ran off to the bathroom and your mom is in the corner chatting with a childhood friend. There are a few tips that I suggest to make family portraits go quick and smoothly. First, create a realistic list of family portraits that you want. I will provide you with a sample family shot list that suggests sticking to your siblings, parents and grandparents. Second, assign a person from each side of your family who can help with rounding people up as I don’t always know who all of your family members are. Lastly, make sure your family knows ahead of time the location and time for family portraits so they can be prepared and ready to rock out the photos.
I always remind my brides that in the end, the only thing that truly matters on your wedding day is that you two actually get married. Be prepared to roll with the punches because you probably will face something that didn’t go as planned. But, I always work closely with my couples to be proactive in helping them design a timeline that matches their day and their needs. If you have any questions at all, I’d love to chat some more! I want to make sure you feel confident that you are making the best decision for you and the day you wed.
If you want to talk more about your wedding day timeline, just send me an email – I’d love to chat!
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Meet Larissa. Larissa is an adventure wedding and elopement photographer based out of Colorado. She’d take and adventure in the mountains over shopping any day and prefers and date night snuggling on the couch over dinner and a movie. Larissa’s obsessed with: morning snuggles with her rescue pup, Hazel, hot chocolate, a good book and yoga pants. She believes in making you forget a camera’s even there, that your story is the actual thing she wants to capture on camera and that real, raw moments are more important than perfectly curated poses. Book your Colorado wedding photographer today!