The Do’s and Don’ts of a Stress-Free Wedding Timeline

My goal is to help you have a stress-free wedding day! These wedding timeline do’s and don’ts come from my experience as a Montana wedding photographer. While they might seem straightforward, they can be easily overlooked. The small details in your timeline can change your day.

Do plan for husband and wife sunset photos

The hour before sunset has the most glowy, soft, and gorgeous photo lighting. During your reception, your photographer will take you out for portraits. This is your only chance to get photos as a couple, without a first look. Regardless, it’s important to plan for husband and wife photos in your timeline. If unaccounted for, you might be in the middle of reception festivities and miss the opportunity. Once the sun goes down, it isn’t possible to get these images. Speak with your planner and photographer to determine the best order of reception events to allow for portraits. These are typically the most anticipated photos for couples, as they end up framed on the wall as memories. The last thing you want is to be in the middle of speeches and see the beautiful light disappearing outside.

Don’t forget your details

Starting off your wedding day, your photographer will collect the details of your wedding day (invitation suite, rings, accessories, dress, etc.). Preparing these ahead of time will let you enjoy the getting ready process with your friends undisturbed. Your photographer won’t ask you to track down details and interfere with your getting ready time, keeping the timeline on track. I suggest placing them all in the same container, ready to go for your photographer. For a list of details ideas and more tips to prepare them, visit my blog post “Planning for Wedding Detail Photos.”

Do consider a first look

A first look can calm nerves before a wedding, allowing a private moment to see each other before the ceremony. Also, it gives you a chance for more portraits together. Although, can’t you just get photos at sunset? Yes, but sometimes things don’t always go as planned. If you’re envisioning sunny portraits and the weather turns to rain at sunset, you’ve missed the chance. We can still make portraits work in this case! However, you’ll likely have clear umbrellas to shield you from the rain.

Read more about the benefits of a first look here.

Don’t forget to talk with your photographer

As a wedding photographer, I believe it’s important to communicate with your photographer ahead of time. There are standard images photographed at each wedding. However, if you don’t explain any unique and special moments you have planned ahead of time, your photographer won’t know how to watch for them.

Who do you want family formal photos with? With a select list of names, it’s easier to wrangle those involved and keep the timeline on track for celebrating at your reception. Give first names rather than “grandma” or “uncle.” When someone hears their name, they are more likely to respond.

Do give yourself a buffer in the timeline

There are a variety of factors that could lead to a delayed ceremony. For example, extended hair and makeup time, missing bridal party, or bathroom breaks. Give yourself a buffer of time to minimize the stress on your wedding day. This is supposed to be a day of celebrating! There’s no need for stress that can be avoided.

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September 29, 2023

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