Timeline is the plan of the wedding day that everything else hangs off. If you can get that right you will have a much easier day. Grooms, it doesn’t affect you quite so much as it does the bride.
I’m going to have to mention a photographers point of view in places but only a little.
Time for lists. First off comes the time of day of your ceremony and the location that you are getting married. Winter weddings can be interesting light wise. You may have some issues if you marry at 3 pm church during the winter and you are wanting outdoor images afterwards. How flexible can you make your arrangements?
Once the ceremony time is fixed you can build around it. Work backwards into the morning:-
Brides. What time do you need to leave to get to the church? What time do you need to be available to see the registrars if you are marrying at other venues?
Plan how long to leave for some portraits of yourself and bridesmaids before leaving for the ceremony.
Brides plan for your hair to be done and make up ready so that you can get dressed first, the bridesmaids can get ready whilst you work with the photographer.
You should then work out what time your hair and makeup team need to be there to be finished with time to spare.
Grooms. Your party need to be ready well before departure time if you are having groom preparation photographs are being done.
Now moving forward from the ceremony
For after the ceremony calculate the number of family groups that you would like your photographer to take. Allow 5-10 mins for each plus time for some photographs of the new husband and wife.
If you are marrying at a church how long will it take you to get to the reception venue from the church? Make sure that there is enough time between finishing the ceremony and the time that you need to arrive at the reception to get everything done
Meeting with the venue coordinator and the golden rule
The coordinator at the venue can smooth the way for you.
If marrying at a church have all the calculations ready that I mentioned being able to give an accurate arrival time at the venue so that a mealtime can be set. The coordinator can then advise on the length of meal service, speeches etc to schedule the evening part of the venue.
If marrying at a hotel or other none church location the coordinator can help even more. Assistance with booking rooms the night before the ceremony so that you are ready to go first thing. The more information that you can have to hand when you discuss your day with the coordinator the better the planning for the day. The hotel staff can arrange for things like bubbly after the ceremony, good locations for your photographs and help with the million and one little niggles.
I mentioned the golden rule – “Do not be late for your meal and upset the chef” Everything else is variable.
On the day
You will undoubtedly have had a discussion with your wedding photographer to plan their time of arrival. It may be that one person covers both bride and groom preparation. Our team use two photographers to do it. There are dresses, jewellery, flowers and shoes to be photographed as well.
You need to be in your dress at least an hour before the time to leave for church or to see the registrar.
If you are having cars to go to the church you will want pictures with you and your party with it.
If at a hotel venue the coordinator will look after you to go to see the registrar, then guide you through all the finer points of the day. Hopefully, the bride and groom have given the staff all the things that they wanted to achieve on the day to get the timings right.
From a photographers point of view, we always try to work with the staff to get you where you should be at the time that you need to be there but also to get what we need for your album.
I know that this is but a brief idea of things to think about. You will no doubt think of other things to add. Please let me know if you do and let’s make this an essential planning resource for other brides that follow you.
That’s all for now