Having a thorough wedding timeline to follow for your day is essential in making the whole occasion run smoothly and stress-free from start to finish. Everyone involved should know where they need to be and when they need to be there.
The team at Wallflower Weddings has captured hundreds of beautiful ceremonies and while there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to planning weddings, these are some of our insights on how you can nail your timeline and flawlessly tailor it to your needs.
You do NOT want to be rushed in the morning. It sets the tone for the day.
Having a late start to your day is a recipe for disaster because everything else will need to be pushed back. The last thing you want is to be rushing in the morning, so we highly recommend allotting at least an hour to an hour and a half of preparation time for each partner. Arrange for your hair and makeup crew to come in earlier, that way they can finish just after the photographer and videographer arrive to get those getting ready shots with your wedding party.
The benefit of having two shooters is that you can cut on those hours spent on preparations because they can be shot simultaneously, and then use that extra time at the end for the reception.
Take note of the travel times. They can eat into your coverage.
A minor thing that couples tend to overlook but make a huge difference is the travel time between locations. It can take up a considerable percentage of your coverage, so keep this in mind when booking your accommodations if you don’t want the shooters to spend those precious minutes sitting in a car instead of capturing memorable shots of your day.
It’s also ideal that the shooters arrive 30 minutes before the ceremony to get all of the set up details and the guests’ arrival before yours. Depending on how long the travel times are, it could either decrease your ceremony setup or the preparations coverage.
Dedicate time after the ceremony for your guests. This is where your photo list comes in handy!
Block about 10 minutes after the formalities to say hello to your guests, as they will want to congratulate the newlyweds before we start taking the family and group shots. This process is more manageable when everyone is still collectively in one place.
Even during the post-ceremony stage, it’s important to timeblock to keep things on track. It can be so easy for things to go off schedule, especially when it comes to managing groups of people! Having your family photo list ready is vital in keeping things organised and preventing us from spending the rest of the afternoon on your group photos, which is why we strongly encourage keeping your list to no more than 15 different combinations. And a 30-minute timeframe for this should suffice.
After having spent all that time on your feet in front of the camera, it’s always good to take a break and enjoy the company of your friends and family. You can take 30 minutes to an hour to mingle and have a cocktail or two with your guests. After all, celebrating your special day with your loved ones is what your day should be all about!
But we don’t want to be losing daylight in the process, as this would be at the expense of your wedding party photos and couple portraits. If that means pushing your ceremony start time slightly earlier, then it’s something we would recommend.
Review the sunset time for your day. You’ll want to catch the dreamy golden hour for your portrait shots.
There should be a minimum of an hour dedicated to portraits. 30-45 minutes of this would be you with your full wedding party, and the remaining time would be for the couple photos at different locations in the venue. A simple Google search of the sunset time on the day of your wedding can help you estimate the best time to set this session so that we can comfortably get started before the sun sets with plenty of time left to capture those magical golden hour shots. Trust us on this, you’ll want the sunset captured!
Let the party begin! Get back to the celebrations in time to prepare for your reception entrance.
After you’ve wrapped up your portrait session, you can rejoin your guests or freshen up before the reception begins, and this will allow your photographer and videographer at least 15 minutes to capture the reception details, from the decor of the room to the wedding cake.
Ideally, you’ll want your reception entrance to be scheduled after sunset. But if this is not possible due to the sun setting late then we can always arrange a bit of time in your runsheet to step out mid-reception for a few sunset shots while everyone is seated and having their meal.
When it comes to the speeches, you may want to consider splitting them between courses if you are having entrees and mains, that way you can finish them off with your cake cut and a lovely thank you speech of your own. Then when you end the speeches, you can have it flow seamlessly into your grand first dance.
Then the party officially starts and everyone can get groovy on the dance floor! One thing we always hear from our clients is that they wished the party could have been longer, so try to get through all your formalities early to give everyone (and especially you both!) more time to party and enjoy the evening, with your photographer and videographer more than ready to capture all the fun.
Download our Example Timeline PDF below to get an idea of what a full day coverage would look like!