As you begin your wedding planning, you're probably not really thinking about the day-of timeline. There are a bagillion things to consider from styling, vendor selection, food choice, and more, so the intricacies of the wedding day flow are not immediately a high priority. For us as wedding photographers, we are constantly creating timelines for our couples, so when we started our planning, it was one of the first things we did.
The biggest advice I can give when you consider your timeline is to prioritize your time to what is most important to you. For us, we wanted to dedicate time for our private vows, our portraits together, photos with our furkids, and plenty of time to dance. Our separate getting ready time wasn't important to us, so we told our photographer that getting candids of our families during that time was a priority. We also didn't include elements like cake cutting [public or private], toasts, or tosses, so we were able to free up time to include elements we did want, like a paper airplane photo op and the Harlem Shake dance-off.
Wedding day timelines typically fall into a specific pattern, and in most cases, there's nothing wrong with that. For typical weddings, the normal flow of wedding day timelines logically makes sense, especially if you're trying to maximize your time with specific vendors, like your photographer, videographer and DJ. But if you're looking to have an unconventional wedding where you're not truly interested in including certain traditional elements, then your timeline can also be unconventional. You can view our unconventional timeline here:
Another big piece of advice I can give is to allot more time for each event than necessary. We allocated large pieces of time to our family photos and photos with our furkids and ended up being slightly ahead of schedule. This allowed us to have more time together for our private vows and photos. This was even with travel to another location. Typically, one or two things will run behind. Often times, that ends up being hair and makeup and getting dressed, so give yourselves enough time to cover any delays. Worst case, you have more time to breathe if everything runs on schedule.
One of the best decisions we made regarding our overall timeline was to get all the formal photos accomplished prior to the ceremony. We didn't have a formal first look because I couldn't keep my dress a secret from Philip for longer than a day due to excitement, and we were able to get all the family photos knocked out ahead of time. Because we had also done our private photos together prior to the ceremony, we were able to avoid cocktail hour altogether and go straight into the reception immediately after the ceremony ended. To top it off, we didn't sacrifice optimal golden hour lighting to get this all accomplished. It is possible to eat your cake and have it too.
I say all of this bearing in mind that not everyone has the wedding experience we have and I know that not everything works out in an idealistic way regarding the day's flow of events. I will also say that that is why it is important to lean on experienced vendors to help carry you through the infrastructure of your day. This leads to our next topic, when to DIY and when to hire a professional.
Venue: New Holland Parlor
Videography: Native Tree Films
Florals: DIY by me
Hair and Makeup: Amber Amick-Chavarria
DJ: Three the Entertainer with 1800 Media Group