The last thing you want is stress on your Wedding Day. After all you have most likely had enough stresses leading up to this day. While detailed time-lines and strict time limits may seem like a turn off and not very romantic at all, they are key in making the wedding of your dreams become reality. Even if you are the most laid back couple in the entire universe, there needs to be a sense of how the day will flow and decisions made before hand. (will there be a first look? garter toss?) I would recommend a time-line be presented to your vendors at least 2 weeks before the wedding so they can review and agree upon or request a change.
OK, OK, OK, you get it, you just need to jot down a flow chart of the day and you're good, right? Let's go a bit further and look at how much time things actually take!
Hair & Makeup: This can be up to 2 hours/person and is a major cause of time-lines being pushed back or things being left out, plan accordingly!
Bridal Details: Every Bride loves having beautiful shots of her details. It is an important part of the story and it takes time to stage and shoot the dress, shoes, jewelry, invitations, etc. If wanted, at least 45 mins needs to be set aside for these shots. Typically we will cover moments of the bride getting ready while shooting the details. (If in the same room)
Bridal Prep: After details, the dress! A huge moment - Is the mother going to zip you up? will the bridesmaids be present? After in the dress we will generally capture a few bridal shots. This process needs a minimum of 30 mins.
First Look: Are you having one? We understand tradition, however, I always recommend a first look. I could write an entire blog just on why you should have one and may... but please allow at least 15 mins for this.
Gift Exchange: If considering a gift exchange, consider at least 10 mins per gift.
Portraits: If having a first look, now is the perfect time to go into portraits! Please allow 30 mins for bride and groom.
Bridal Party: The rest of the gang shouldn't be far as it is a great time to include them! For the bridal party you're going to want to allow at least 40 mins.
Bride in Hiding: You're going to want have some mental prep time before going down the aisle. We always recommend you allow yourself some time to go into hiding as guests arrive and to take a break before the ceremony. 30 mins
Reception Details: If the reception is in the same location, we will use the bride in hiding time to shoot the reception decor UN-TOUCHED! if in different areas we recommend a cocktail hour away from the main reception so we can have shots of the area before the night begins. Allow 20 mins
Ceremony: Most are 30 mins, depends on you!
Formals/Family Portraits: These generally take place immediately following the ceremony, have you informed your family to hang around???? 30 min will be needed for most formals if you already have a list groupings- no list add 10-20 mins. HOT TIP: We recommend getting with mom, grandparents, etc before hand to make sure you have their input on the groupings...
Just Married Portraits: You're married! why not catch a few moments! 15 mins
Reception: At this point you are. The length of the reception depends, but having an order of events is key. Will you go directly into the first dance once introduced? have you eaten? have you put time in for you to eat? The DJ should have a flow of events and be able to Que you on when things should happen.
Emergencies: Things happen read about our "Just in Case" kit and how we use it to try and keep with the time-line. But, it is also wise to build some padding into the time-line in case things line hair and make-up run over or a zipper breaks, etc.
Faux Exits: This is something to consider that takes no extra time. If you want more to participate in the exit, then this will most likely happen. Grandparents and family that are married with children will not hang around until 11:45-12 for an exit...
Props: Talk to your photographer if you plan on using props! Not a bad thing to include necessarily, but they can extend sections of the day. I would add 5-10 mins per prop. (special signs, glitter poppers,)
Table Greetings: If you plan on going table to table to great your guests, keep in mind it will be 10-15 mins per table. It adds up quickly!
Traffic: Traveling between venues? Plan for the worst- traffic, tire, festivals...
Front Loading: At the reception consider front loading the cake cutting and dances as not to break up the dancing. get with your vendors and DJ and work out what is best for you and your guests.
8 hours: Consider at least 8 hours if most everything is wanted. If the ceremony is longer or other things are needed, consider even more time.