You probably haven’t planned very many weddings, so getting the inside scoop from those of us who play integral roles in multiple wedding days every year can be invaluable! Timing is everything on your wedding day…and it’s often not what you expect it to be and that’s ok, as long as we can plan for the unexpected.

All of what you are about to read should go under the major heading, “you can never have too much time for photographs.” Because, at the end of it all, the photos and videos of your wedding day are what will keep the memories of this amazing day alive for generations.

If you are looking for tips of how much time to schedule for each part of the day, you’ll want to hop over to my How to Create the Perfect Wedding Day Timeline post next. But first, read on for 7 Wedding Timeline tips that you may not have even thought of yet!

1. Get Ready Close to One Another

I highly recommend for couples to get ready as close as possible! I have had it happen in the past that the couple was over 30 minutes away from each other. This may cause some troubles in the timeline as we may have to spend a lot of time driving in between locations instead of capturing moments!

2. Getting Ready at a Hotel vs. Getting Ready at Home

There are some pros and cons to getting ready at a Hotel vs Home. Let’s start with getting ready in a hotel.

First off, there is going to be less clutter in a hotel room! When there’s less clutter, it’s easier to find good, clean light. It’s one thing for us to move a chair in a hotel vs. a chair, some decor and 3 picture frames that would be in your home. Corner Suites and exterior wall Conference Rooms are usually the best because they have lots of windows and enough room for hair and makeup to be happening in a separate space from where you will be getting into your dress. If your hotel only offers standard rooms, consider getting two rooms so that one can remain clutter free for photos while the other can be used for hair and makeup. Another big pro is that everyone is in one spot. This easily allows for us to go back and forth between the guys and girls, capturing far more moments.

The biggest reason for getting ready at home is for storytelling. I recently photographed a wedding where the bride got ready in her family’s home, surrounded by her grandparents’ wedding photos. If you have always dreamed of walking down your grand staircase to dad seeing you for the first
time, then do it! If there is a home that has been in your family for generations and having it be part of your wedding day story would mean the world to you, I want you to smile ear to ear – and maybe even shed a tear – when you look back at your wedding photos years from now. 

3. Skip the Receiving Line

What starts out as a really nice cushion of time for photographs is suddenly whittled down to 15 minutes because no one ever realizes how long a receiving line takes until they’re actually in one. As a good rule of thumb, you’ll need to allow about 15 seconds for each guest. So if you have around 100 guests, now you’re looking at 20-30 minutes of just standing in a line. Consider dismissing guests by row after the ceremony, visiting the guests at their reception table, or (if you choose to do a First Look with your soon-to-be spouse) spend cocktail hour with your guests instead!

4. Make Natural Light a Priority

It is the biggest point of photography – lighting. It creates each photo, gives a uniqueness like no other, and makes everything better! Natural lighting is not only flattering, it’s all around fabulous! And for the most important day of your life, you want to be sure and incorporate as much of it as you can into your
schedule, especially for photographs. Wedding party, family, and your portraits are best taken in natural light because it creates the best aesthetic for the photographs. What you love about my photos is the natural-ness… and lighting plays a huge part of that! So, can you still have a candlelight dinner reception or a sunset ceremony? Totally! Just make sure we work together to create a schedule that allows plenty of time to capture your important photos ahead of time.

5. Exchange Letters and Gifts

Handwritten letters will never go out of style, but they are definitely few and far between these days in the age of social media, text messages and emails! So, what better occasion than on your wedding day to spend a bit of time expressing why you love each other. This is by no means a requirement or expected, however your wedding can be the perfect opportunity to write a letter or give a gift to the people who mean the most to you.

6. Reveal With the People Who Matter Most

Do you love the idea of doing a first look, but you don’t want your love to see you before walking down the aisle? Consider doing a first look with your bridesmaids, dad or anyone else who holds a special place in your heart!

7. Be Adventurous, Be You!

When you open up your wedding album for the first time, I want you to say, “WOW!” Not just because the photos are gorgeous (which they will be) but a “WOW!” from the story it tells. If you want to get ready at home because that’s what is meaningful to you, let’s make it happen. If you decide to not have a “just married” creative session and go see your grandma at the nursing home instead, then let’s please make it happen! If you and your fiancé had your first date at a tiny little ice cream place and it means the world to you two, then by all means, let’s go take some photographs there! Many people worry about where they want to take photographs, rather than thinking of why you want to have photographs taken at a certain location. I challenge you to dig deep and together, let’s come up with a location that will tell your story perfectly.

Bonus Tip: Don’t Sweat It!

Murphy’s law tells us that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. While we refuse to live our entire lives awaiting the pending bad luck headed our way, it’s a good reminder that sometimes we have to let go. On your wedding day, this is even more important! What time the cake arrives, your uncle who is running behind, that button that just broke on your dress… all of these things will seem so large at the time, but they’re really very small. And guess what? You’re getting married!!! Yes, today is that day and it’s all about you! I can’t tell
you how many times I’ve said,

“The [church/guests/officiant/band/servers/you fill in the blank] will wait for you. You’re the main event and the day can’t go on until you’re ready.”

It’s so true because not everything will go as planned and we promise that it won’t matter to you later! So remember, no matter what it is, just say this:

“It’s just a _____. It’s not going to ruin my day!”