Planning a wedding is just plain hard. If it wasn’t difficult, there wouldn’t be an entire profession centralized around doing just that; planning weddings! That is why we try our hardest to provide our Intriguing Brides with as much information about the wedding day, so they can enjoy a carefree day that is as perfect as they have always imagined it to be. And one of the biggest parts of planning a wedding, is planning the timeline of the day’s events and how the various vendors will fill that wedding timeline out. It can be a very tough challenge to take upon yourself to complete. That is why, we are divulging some of our wedding timeline tips to you in this very important blog post! Keep reading for some of our wedding timeline tips and tricks; and if you still need assistance, reach out to Jeff and myself at Intrigue Photography, so we can work out a custom wedding timeline with your exact plans in mind!
Bride & Bridesmaids Getting Ready – About 1.5 Hours
Bust out the mimosas and get ready for a whirlwind day consisting of makeup, hairspray, and perfume. This is a time to have fun with all of your girls and to also, get ready. (No brainer, right?) Well, our tips for you for the getting ready period of your day are as follows:
• Have all the details you want captured together, and set aside for your photographer. This includes, but is not limited to, the dress, veil/hair pieces, rings (all three), shoes, bouquets and boutonnieres, jewelry, perfume, invitations, and your borrowed & blue pieces.
• Have a couple of portraits taken with you and your girls in your robes, before sending your girls to get dressed in their gowns.
• Mother of the Bride and all Bridesmaids should be completely dressed and ready before you start to put on your dress.
• Have a cleared area to put your dress on! You don’t want bags and undergarments in these portraits, right? After your bridesmaids are dressed, have them clear a spot for you to get ready in. Preferably in front of a big window.
• Do a last minute checklist check for the essentials you’ll need throughout the day. (IE: Wedding License, makeup for touch-ups, dancing shoes, etc.)
Groom & Groomsmen Getting Ready – About 40 Minutes
Guys are a bit more loud and messy usually. However, this is still a great time for some amazing portraits to be captured. Some tips for perfect getting ready guy portraits are:
• Have the guys in only their pants, and dress shirts when the photographer arrives. This way, the photographer can capture the vests, ties, jackets, boutonnieres, cuff links, and other getting ready details, as they happen.
• Boutonnieres should arrive around the same time as the flowers, and should be ready to be placed on the jackets by the time the photographer arrives.
• Make sure to have some sort of prop for the guys to use for a congratulatory portrait! Make sure the guys clear a space for this, if this is to happen in the room.
Romantic First Look and Bride & Groom Portraits – About 45 Minutes
Here’s that pesky First Look being mentioned again! If you don’t know what this is, or why you should have one, read our blog post here about how important this is to your wedding day. This is where the fun part begins. The tension will most likely be rising by this point, but don’t worry, the First Look will knock that back down in no time. Some tips:
• Schedule the first look about two hours before the ceremony. You don’t want to rush throughout the day, and this will ensure that everything stays laid back and relaxed.
• The bride should hide in an approved area while the photographers get the groom in place for the First Look.
• Wow your groom with your amazing wedding day look! However, leave the veil out until your walk down the aisle. (Ask us why during your complimentary consultation!)
• Keep this a private moment, between yourself, and your groom. Your bridal party should be working on moving everything from the getting ready areas to the appropriate getaway vehicles.
• After the first look, move directly to the Formal Bride and Groom portraits. These are the artistic ones that you truly want to hang all over your walls. Keep the initial first look feelings going and love on one another.
Bridal Party Formal Portraits – About 45 Minutes
After the First Look and Formal B&G Portraits are finished, it’s time to get crazy with the Bridal Party! These are your best friends and maybe even some of your family too. Have fun with them. Sure, get some “serious” formal pictures for the album, but also let loose and enjoy the company of those closest to you. Some tips:
• Start with the entire group together, and then whittle it down to just the individual portraits you wish to have with each bridal party member.
• HAVE FUN! We honestly cannot stress this point enough.
• Bring some props! Seriously, if you want to have a lightsaber war with your bridal party, then please do so now.
Bride in Hiding/Reception Details (if at same venue) – About 30 Minutes
Time to hide the bride! This is the last few moments to touch up make up and to get ready for the walk down the aisle. If you didn’t wear your veil for the First Look and other portraits, now is the time to wear it. If your reception is at the same venue as your ceremony, your photographer will quickly come into the reception hall to get a few portraits of the details before they’re touched by your guests! Tips:
• Make sure you have everything you need for the wedding. Rings, Vows, Veil, etc.
• This is the perfect time to touch up your make up!
• Sneak some tissues into your bouquet, or give them to your Maid of Honor. (Even if you don’t end up using them, she might!)
Your Dream Ceremony – About 30 Minutes
Here comes the bride! Yay, it is time to marry your best friend. Put your best foot forward, and remember to smile! Some tips:
• Bridesmaids: Be sure to smile the entire way down the aisle (and again when the ceremony is over). Also, keep your bouquet held at your belly button, and relax that arm!
• Brides: Walk slowly. You’re excited, but don’t race your way to the alter. Take your time, and watch your groom’s reactions. Trust us, even with the First Look, there will still be a reaction to enjoy! (And it’ll be even better because of the First Look!)
• Grooms: Let those tears flow! And if you’re not going to cry, that’s okay. Watch your beautiful Bride as she makes her way to your side at the alter.
Family Formal Portraits – About 30 Minutes
After the ceremony, then comes the fun part! This is when we get to meet your family!! We really love this part of the afternoon because it gives us an even closer glimpse into your lives, and why you are, the way you are. Some tips to make this part of your day go smoothly:
• Let your immediate family know, before the wedding, that they should remain at the ceremony location after the ceremony, and stay there until they are dismissed by your photographers.
• The Brides’ Family usually goes first, and then is followed up by the Grooms’ family.
• Family portraits start with the biggest group first, and then down to the smallest. That way, grandparents and children are usually dismissed before everyone else.
• Trust your photographers to pose your family in a pleasing way. Some people won’t smile, and that’s okay!
• If you have cousins and other extended family members who wish to have portraits with you, we recommend having them all taken at the reception when there is more free time.
• Ask your officiant to wait until after these portraits are done, so you can send your family to the cocktail hour, before signing your marriage license.
“Just Married” Portraits – About 15 Minutes
We really feel that this is just as important as the Romantic First Look is. You just married your best friend after all! Take a few moments to step away from everyone and enjoy that newly married feeling with one another. Also, you might as well have a few portraits to commemorate this, am I right? 🙂 Some tips:
• Keep your veil in for this portraits. Remember, if you followed our advice for earlier in the day, you’ll want to have some portraits with your veil on too.
• This is the perfect time for a “Veil Shot”. What is that? Well, you know that amazing look where the wind blows the veil out, and just looks romantic and dreamy? Yeah, that’s the one. You can even see an example of it above!
• This is also a perfect moment to give each other your gifts! We know a lot of people do this before the wedding ceremony, but honestly, why not do it now? It gives you both a little something more to anticipate throughout the day.
Reception Introductions/Toasts/Dinner – About 1.5 Hours
BAM! And just like that, you both are now married and ready to celebrate! Bring forth the party, because everything is about to get crazy! Some tips:
• Bridal Party: While lining up for your introductions, rehearse your “pose” with the person you’re walking in with. You’ll both want to count to 10 in your head while in this pose, to ensure that the photographers have a chance to capture it perfectly.
• Brides: Have you had a bathroom break yet? No? Then while your DJ is lining your Bridal Party up, this is the best time to take a quick moment to relieve yourself.
• Toast Time: Be sure that everyone has a drink in their hand/nearby before starting the toasts.
• Dinner: Our main tip is this for dinnertime; include your photographers on the seating chart. Don’t have them eat in a separate area. That way, they can not only have a moment to sit and eat something, but they can also jump up quickly with their cameras should something spontaneous happen!
Cake Cutting – About 10 Minutes
Mmm… Cake. There are certain traditions about cutting the cake. Do you know them? If not, ask your photographer. If you have us photographing your wedding, Jess will start telling you these traditions as soon as you reach the cake table. Some cake cutting tips:
• If you’re going to smash cake into each others’ faces; discuss and plan this ahead of time. While you may think it is fun or funny to do this spontaneously, we highly recommend that you don’t. This is one of the quickest ways to ruin the happiest night of your lives.
• Have your MC or DJ announce that the cake cutting is happening. Your family will want to see this and will most likely want some cell phone snaps of it as well.
• Make sure you go slowly. Go slower than you think you should, to ensure maximum portraits from your photographers.
First Dances – About 25 Minutes
Yay, it’s time to dance to your song with your spouse for the first time! Talk about a tear-jerking moment. Our tips for this fun time of the night:
• Announce that this is happening. Trust us on this one.
• Have your mother and/or father close by, to allow for easy transitions between your first dance, and the Mother/Son and Father/Daughter dances.
• Make sure your Maid of Honor or Best Man is nearby with tissues, and let those feelings show! They make for the best pictures after all.
Bouquet & Garter Tosses – About 15 Minutes
Whew, you’re almost done with the “required” stuff for the night. Last but not least, are the bouquet and garter tosses. Of course, if you opt out of these two things (which many more people are starting to do), then you’re already done for the night and can just sit back and relax. However, these are still a fun tradition. Our tips:
• Have them right after the First Dances, and have your DJ use these two tosses, to open up the dance floor.
• Do the tosses together for a fun switch up! If your dance floor can hold enough people, do both of the tosses at the same time. That way, you have more time to party the night away.
Open Dance Floor – Until Closing Time
BAM! That was your whirlwind of a wedding day, wrapped up. Now your guests get to dance the rest of the night away with you and your groom. You guys did it!!! Some final tips:
• If you’re doing an “Exit”, stage it now with your photographers.
• Any last minute portraits you wish to have, would be best completed now. Don’t forget that your friend from elementary school requested a portrait with you.
• Have fun!!!! This is your party after all.
Wow, that was a crazy amount of information. But, don’t worry, if we are photographing your wedding, we have all of this locked away in our minds and can remind you of any part of this sample timeline throughout the day. Last but not least, let’s look over the timeline above, but with real times, shall we?
Final Sample Wedding Timeline – Based on a 6pm Ceremony Start Time with First Look
• Bridal Details – 2:30-3:15pm
• Bride & Groom Prep – 3:15-3:45pm
• Romantic First Look – 4:00pm
• Bride & Groom Formal Portraits – 4:15-4:45pm
• Bridal Party Formal (and fun) Portraits – 4:50-5:20pm
• Bride in Hiding – 5:30-6:00pm
• Reception Details (if at same ceremony location) – 5:30-5:50pm
• Ceremony – 6:00-6:30pm
• Family Formal Portraits – 6:40-7:10pm
• “Just Married” Portraits – 7:15-7:30pm
• Reception Begins! – 7:30pm
• Introductions/Toasts – 7:30-8:00pm
• Dinner is Served – 8:00pm
• Cake Cutting – 9:00-9:10pm
• First Dances – 9:15-9:40pm
• Bouquet & Garter Tosses – 9:45-10:00pm
• Open Dance Floor – 10:00pm until Close
• Photographers Leave – 10:30pm
And there you have it! Of course, each and every wedding will be unique, which is why the above is just a sample to work off of. But, now you should have a solid understanding of how the day might progress for you. There is a lot going on, and you won’t want to miss any of it. If you think we missed something, or would like us to help you plan your own wedding timeline for your big day, then definitely reach out to us, so we can have a nice cup of coffee together and make your dreams a reality!