Tips and advice for a carefree wedding planning timeline
You have found and booked your preferred vendors, great! Now it’s time to start preparing your wedding’s timeline. Two people, beyond yourself, would be really involved with that, Your wedding planner and photographer. Let’s dive into why and what.
Timing is everything! You want to enjoy your special day, not running through it but you also want your guests to enjoy it. And you also want to have beautiful photos, like the ones you saw on your wedding photographer’s portfolio.
Think about your wedding logistics.
- Are you & your fiancé getting ready at the same hotel/villa or at different locations?
To make things easier, the simple answer would be that ‘please do!’ By keeping distances close, you minimize transfers needed. Your planner will have one less thing to worry about and your photographer will spend more time do their work than driving around.
- Make up and hair styling
This is really important, so better keep reading. You should inform your make-up artist and hairstylist of the number of people they have to prepare. They should tell you the exact time they need. Add a bit more to that because chances are you’ll need it. Noone never took had their pictures taken under pressure, looking great! Noone. Except you’re a model and know how to work in situations like that.
- Will you be doing a First Look?
You can read more about the First Look idea and why I’m a huge advocate of it, here. Having a First Look incorporated in your wedding day, means a lot to the timings involved. Your planner and wedding photographer will help you with the exact details, but you have to take into account the transportation to the First Look location. Personally, I prefer secluded locations so my couples can enjoy this romantic moment in total privacy. The second question you need to ask yourselves is if you want to have your family formals done after the First Look and before the ceremony. A huge advantage if this would be that you can join your guests at the cocktail area sooner.
- How long is the ceremony going to be?
Every professional from your wedding photographer to the chef in the kitchen needs to know when things are happening so they are equally prepared. Talk with your officiant to know the exact time it will take.
- It’s time for the speeches
Giving a speech can be quite fun or emotional, sometimes both. Some people might get carried away, especially when they witness they evoke feelings to their audience. As much as I truly love capturing these moments, it can sometimes throw your wedding timeline a lot off. I know it might be quite much that I’m asking but you need to ask the people who will be giving a speech to time it so you can properly factor this in your timeline. Help them understand why is important to the rest of your day.
- How many special dances will there be?
I love a first dance, when the couple actually dances as husband and wife for the very first time. Some couples also like to have a father-daughter and a mother-son dance which makes it even more emotional.
- Check if your reception venue has a curfew
That means you’ll have to end the reception at a specific time. This shouldn’t mean moving your wedding day all the way in the morning so you can have time to party with your friends. I’ve witnessed weddings where people were so exhausted by the heat that they had no energy to dance. It’s better to spend some quality time with your guests rather than tiring them. And this will also most probably have a huge impact on your photos as it would mean you will have to take some portraits in the harsh mid-day light. Trust me, you don’t want that.
- Don’t forget the technical details
Check how much time is included in your vendors’ contracts. For how long will your wedding photographer, DJ, band, videographer be present at your wedding? I speak for a lot of chefs here (yes the people in the kitchen preparing dinner) and trust me when I say there is one thing they fear the most. Timings at dinner time getting off. You have invested a lot of money in catering to offer your guests a fine dinner. Trying to serve all meals at the correct timing is not an easy thing and if you ask the caterer to pause and continue, you’re making their lives difficult.
I have prepared a suggested timeline that I’m happy to share with you so you better understand the idea behind it. One thing you must always keep in mind is that there should be buffer zones between activities. That way, if something falls out of plan, you will have room to cover for it.
Another tip I would like to share is about sunset time, as I get asked this a lot. When checking the sunset time on your location, please mind that this time refers to when the sun meets the horizon in sea level. So for example if there is a hill or a mountain west of your reception venue, then ‘sunset’ is going to be earlier. Have a consultation with your wedding photographer to know the exact times. There are plenty of apps for that. I’m sure you would love to have some romantic sunset photos of the two of you, right?
Maybe I shouldn’t say that as it seems trivial but I’ll do it anyway. Make time to have a proper meal. You don’t want to be hangry during the most romantic day of your life.
The more transportations you add to your day, the more complicated your timeline gets. You can run into traffic or miss a shuttle bus and confusion starts. Then things can go south easily. Your wedding day shouldn’t be a choreographed movie of jumping obstacles and running to catch up. It should be a relaxed day to enjoy with your loved ones. Let it be that!
I will dare to open one more chapter of life here. I understand you might need to fulfill some of your family’s expectations or moral obligations. Do that at the degree that it doesn’t affect YOUR day. They should respect it’s your day and you want things done your way. You deserve that.
So, in conclusion, before writing anything in stone, consult with your wedding planner and photographer for a draft timeline of the day. When everybody is on the same page, it’s time to write that on the invitation card!