The majority of my advice comes from first hand experience, not only as a wedding photographer, but from having my own wedding. I jumped into decisions, neglected a lot, and only thought of the very obvious (Date, food, photos, venue, cake, BOOM we have a wedding!) instead of focusing on coordinating all of those things together and having a plan. One of the things I know now that I definitely should have done, was nail down an actual timeline for my big day.
I had read a lot of blogs telling me to do it. But that seemed unimportant to me. I had the ceremony start time and everything else would fall into place either before or after. Yikes, was I wrong. What I ended up doing was creating mini chaos everywhere. Nothing at my reception was planned. Everything was improvised. I’m taking “Uh, I guess now we should cut the cake now?” improvised. It caused my husband and I to have very few photos of just US (and that was why we were there, right?!). No one knew where they needed to be at what time, we were all just guessing and going with it. And while everything ended up fine, and I still loved my wedding day. It could have gone a lot smoother.
What a timeline would have done was given me a plan, and with a plan, we could have kept control of the day. Your timeline will let everyone know exactly where to be and when. It will let your loved ones know when family portraits will start so that they can be there a few minutes early. It will let you know how long you have to get ready, It will let your hair and makeup professionals know exactly how long they have before you need to be swept off to your first look. It will let your photographer know how long they have to photograph each moment. It will let your caterer know what time they need to start serving. It will seriously keep everyone on track and prevent time from slipping away and derailing the ceremony and reception time. Because if you don’t tell your time where to go, you will wonder where the heck it went!
After all of that, I hope the one thing on your mind is “Where do I start with my timeline?!” Most likely, either your photographer or wedding planner will set you up with custom wedding day timeline. And if they haven’t, don’t be afraid to ask! Or even a quick google search of a wedding day timeline is always a good place to find a starting point. So one last time for the ladies and gents in the back! Get yourself a wedding day timeline!