FAQ: Wedding Day Timelines

As my wedding season is about to kick off in full swing, I’ve been emailing back and forth with a lot of my brides about their wedding day timeline! I’m SO thankful that they are asking my advice because a good timeline can really make or break your wedding day! The wedding days that have seemed to be the most stressful are typically the ones where everyone is pressed for time and worried about everything running late! I tell all my clients to build wiggle room into every single step of the day! Is it going to take 15 minutes for you to put your dress on? No, probably not, but its good to budget it because it IS very likely that your hair and makeup could run 15 minutes late! I have a little hand out that I try and send out to all my clients a month or two before their wedding and it has two suggested timelines in it, one including a ‘first look’ and the other one doing the portraits after the ceremony. Here’s a sample timeline based on 7 hours of coverage: You will find that the first timeline seems to flow a lot nicer. You actually get to participate and attend every moment of your reception! ¬†That is one of the biggest advantages of doing a ‘first look’ is that you get to join the party right when all your guests do! You want to plan to be totally ready when I get there except for the dress. That means hair and make up are scheduled to finish at least 15-30 minutes before I get there. Inevitably, things will run a little late, but by building in an extra 5 or so minutes into every step of your day it will make it that much easier to get back on track! I’m so much rather see a bride sitting around chatting with her bridesmaids and being excited then seeing her scramble to finish her make up or set up that one last detail! The key here is wiggle room! Do I really need a full 30 minutes for family portraits? Not usually, but if one important family member is running late and we end up waiting around for 5-10 minutes, we will be really glad that we added in a little extra time! Or what if the ceremony runs late, which pushes all your portraits back, and we end up with only 10 minutes left to do the portraits of the two of you before you have to be introduced to the reception? That has definitely happened before and it breaks my heart because every couple deserves TONS of portraits of the two of them, and I hate hate hate to see that time for the two of you taken away because things run behind schedule. And that half an hour of down time before the ceremony? Perfect for retouching make up, bathroom breaks, sitting in the AC, grabbing a snack.. it helps you to just RELAX and enjoy your day! The goal is to have a stress-free, amazing day CELEBRATING with your family and friends!

Hope this is helpful to those of you thinking of your own wedding timeline! If you’re one of my fabulous brides PLEASE don’t hesitate to contact me and we’ll customize your wedding day timeline so it flows perfectly for your day! :0) Happy Monday!

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  1. amanda says:

    This is so fabulous Jessie!! As a bride and a new photographer, this is so so unbelievably helpful!! Thank you for sharing!!!

  2. Katie Wilson says:

    Thanks SO much for sharing this timeline. I am starting a photography business and it’s so nice when experienced photographers share their secrets! This was extremely helpful.

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