Weddings

5 Wedding Day Timeline Tips

September 20, 2019

When it comes to planning your timeline, there are so many details to consider. Every aspect of the day, small or large, has to be accounted for. Having a timeline (and giving it to your VIPs!) can really help ease the transition from one event to the next. It keeps everyone on track and the […]

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When it comes to planning your timeline, there are so many details to consider. Every aspect of the day, small or large, has to be accounted for. Having a timeline (and giving it to your VIPs!) can really help ease the transition from one event to the next. It keeps everyone on track and the day flowing smoothly! As you think about the day, consider these tips:

01 indianapolis wedding photographer meridian street methodist church wedding
  • Start with the big events.
    At this point, you probably know when your ceremony starts and ends. Make that the centerpiece if your timeline and build from there. Then, decide if you will be doing a first look & portraits beforehand. About 1.5-2 hours is a great stretch for this to happen (including travel time). You will want to have at least 20 minutes of “rest” before the ceremony starts. After the ceremony, decide when you’d like to be announced into the reception. Will there be a cocktail hour? What time is dinner being served? These major events are the bones of your day and easy to build off of (and also tweak if needed).
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  • Create buffer time.
    You may only want your ceremony to last 30 minutes, but allow 40 minutes just in case. Adding a few extra minutes to each event allows for the unforeseeable. What if someone is late? What if you need to go to your plan B location? What if there is a spot of rain? Plus, if things are running smoothly you usually get some time back for added portraits!
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  • List the events in order of importance.
    What are you *most* looking forward to on the wedding day? Is it more important for you to have family formals or show up to the cocktail party and mingle? Would you rather have sunset images or stay at the reception? Do you want more couples portraits or photos with family and friends? Now, you won’t have to choose one or the other in these examples, but knowing where your priorities lie can really help when allocating time and making decisions.
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  • Be flexible.
    Your timeline isn’t set in stone and something will go awry. If a delivery is slightly late, if something goes missing, don’t stress. Overall your timeline & planning will keep everything on track. When something doesn’t pan out exactly how you were hoping, be flexible and keep moving!
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  • Chat with your photographer!
    We’ve done this a time or two and can always help to set realistic expectations. If you have several family formal groupings but also dinner starting shortly after the ceremony, you may need to adjust the amount of formal images or add a cocktail hour. If we aren’t already creating the timeline, we are always happy to help answer any questions.
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Timelines are such an important piece to your wedding day. If you’re still feeling overwhelmed, here are some great examples to get you started!

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03 indianapolis wedding photographer meridian street methodist church wedding
04 indianapolis wedding photographer meridian street methodist church wedding

With a First Look

12:30 – photographers arrive and photograph details

2:00 – put on the dress

2:30 – first look & couples portraits

3:00 – bridal party photos

3:30 – tuck away for the ceremony and relax

4:00 – ceremony

4:30 – ceremony ends, cocktail hour & family formals begin

5:30 – grand entrance into the reception
cut cake
dinner
speeches
dances
open dance floor

7:30 – sunset portraits

8:30 – photo coverage ends

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Without a First Look

1:30 – photographers arrive and photograph details

2:30 – put on the dress

2:45 – bride and bridesmaids portraits, groom and groomsman portraits

3:15 – family formals, separate

3:45 – tuck away for the ceremony

4:00 – ceremony

4:30 – ceremony ends, cocktail hour begins

4:30 – family formals

5:15 – couples portraits & full bridal party

6:00 – grand entrance into the reception
cut cake
dinner
speeches
dances
open dancing

7:30 – sunset portraits

9:30 – photography coverage ends

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13 indianapolis wedding photographer meridian street methodist church wedding

I hope you found this helpful and are ready to make your wedding day timeline! <3

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Images from Jane & Daniel’s Meridian Street Methodist Church wedding, second shot for Alison Mae Photography.

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