How to Make A Stress-Free Wedding Timeline with Wedding Planner Kamea Events
Wedding planning - the exciting & sometimes daunting part of a wedding. There's hiring the vendors, picking out wardrobe, sending invites, not to mention trying to enjoy this special and short lived season of life with your soon-to-be spouse! One of the most crucial parts of your wedding day is a sturdy, well thought out timeline (& a booty kickin' photographer to capture it all.) Something everyone can refer back to before and during the celebration to keep the day moving along without missing a first kiss or a garter toss. Having this tool, along side an amazing wedding planner, can also aid in having a stress-free wedding, allowing you to focus on making memories.
I'm writing this post because I want to help brides navigate their wedding timeline in a stress free way and the hardest part can be knowing where to begin. I knew I wanted to bring on a wedding planner to help me write this - to add even more helpful tools where I may not have been able to as a photographer. Two heads are certainly better than one!
I asked Dorotheea of Kamea Events to collaborate with me, who is a wizard wedding planner! She plans weddings and events, big or small, and has a heart of service. I'm so glad I got to have her input on this blog post, and if you're looking for a helping hand to make your day effortless and stylish, Dorotheea is your lady.
GENERAL TIMELINE TIPS
First thing that every couple should remember when planning one of the most important days of their life - your wedding is just that. Yours! Whether you're wanting a traditional church wedding, or a modern elopement on the coast, your wedding day should reflect your style and the love you share with your sweetheart.
Dorotheea shared this great sample timeline that gives couples a good place to begin planning their day, based on a common wedding timeline. This can be rearranged, added to and subtracted from to fit each couples unique vision. The sample timeline is based on a 4pm ceremony time, and 8 hours of photography coverage:
· 10:00am – Hair and Makeup/Getting ready
· 12:00–2:00pm – Most vendors arrive for setup
· 2:00pm – First Look
· 2:30pm – Wedding party and family photos start
· 3:00pm – DJ to arrive & begin setting up
· 3:30pm – Guests begin to arrive/Pre- ceremony music starts (*Officiant to arrive)
· 3:55pm – Wedding party assemble
· 4:00pm – Invitation start time
· 4:15pm – Ceremony starts
· 4:35pm – Ceremony ends
· 4:40pm – Cocktail hour starts/more photos
· 5:15pm – Move guests into dinner
· 5:30pm – Buffet opens/Bride & Groom first, followed by wedding party & family
· 5:50pm – All guests have food
· 6:20pm – Toasts
· 6:45pm – First dance
· 6:50pm – Special dances (Mother/Son, Father/Daughter)
· 6:55pm – General dancing music starts
· 7:30pm – Dessert
· 8:30pm – Pre-sunset photos
· 9:40pm – Last call
· 9:45pm – Music off
· 10:00pm – Guests depart
· 11:00pm – Breakdown done
Now obviously being a photographer, I strongly believe that photography should be one the top priorities for a wedding day, as this is the only thing from your wedding day that will last your lifetime and generations beyond. Designing your timeline around the photography will give you and your photographer time to connect, and capture the portraits you're going to treasure. In some ways, it can also be a sigh of relief for you, your family and bridal party. Here are some examples of what to remember photography wise when putting together your stress-free wedding day.
This first set of tips are what I highly recommend for an effortless wedding timeline. Planning time and getting nearly all of your formal photos done before the ceremony can free up time post-ceremony, letting you relax and soak in those newlywed feels!
First Look - Malina's Recommendation
This option is of course non-traditional, but in no way any less sentimental. Having a first look can be such a special, intimate moment between you and your fiance. You get all the emotion, all the stolen kisses, and you get to have it before you stand up in front of all of your guests. (Unless you're eloping, of course, but it can still give you really special images to cherish later on!) A first look takes place before the ceremony, then typically bridal portraits will follow. A first look can also give you a chance to have portraits done in another location outside of your ceremony/reception space.
++Allow at least 15 minutes for the first look, and then 20-30 minutes afterward (depending on location) for portraits.
Family & Bridal Party Before Ceremony
After your first look and bridal portraits, one great option is to take your formal family and bridal party photos next. Doing so before the ceremony will free up the time afterwards, where you can head off and spend some time alone as a brand new married couple! Pre-ceremony you'll have the most energy, and you won't be as anxious to quit posing and get to your guests. (and eat, don't forget to eat. You will be hungry.) I believe this and having a first look are ingredients to the perfect recipe for a stress-free wedding.
++Allow 15 minutes for family, and 20 minutes for bridal party.
These next couple of tips will help you navigate a day without a first look. Be aware, however, doing your formal photos in bulk after the ceremony will mean sacrificing time with your guests (and food.)
Traditional Ceremony - No First Look
If you're heart is set on having your honey see you for the first time as you walk down the aisle, there are other opportunities for portraits! Including a cocktail hour is the best time to sneak away, as it gives your guests somewhere to go and something to do while they wait for you. With this kind of set up, you're usually getting all the formal photos in this time, including bridal portraits, bridal party, and formal family photos. We recommend just your immediate family and any especially important family members in the formal pictures. Your great aunt Sue's brother in law won't need an 8x10 print, so you can take these photos casually during the reception.
++Allow 15 minutes for family photos, 15-20 minutes for bridal party, and 30 minutes for bridal portraits.
Optional - Sunset Bridal Portraits
Those dreamy, golden bridal portraits you're drooling over on Pinterest and Instagram? Yeah, those are taken when the photographer and the couple sneak off from the reception and make some M A G I C. Not only another reason to have a few moments enjoying the newlywed buzz, (in association with the champagne buzz no doubt (; ) but you'll get a whole second set of bridal portraits, often in a new location, with new light, and with a more relaxed environment. Sunset portraits are some of my favorites, and encourage every couple to delegate time for these, no matter the wedding. The photo below is one from an October wedding, and you just can't beat those colors!
++Allow 20-30 minutes for sunset portraits.
Stress-Free Timeline Tips
Hopefully with everything you've read so far, you've got a big head start on planning your dream day. Everything Dorotheea and I have suggested in this post is simply a starting place, and of course each couple will have different religions, traditions, and desires for their wedding. If you still need help getting everything just right, ask your planner or photographer for help! We're here for you. Here are some extra tips to keep in mind, and let you stop stressing about the order of events and enjoy the best day of your life!
+ Ask your hair and makeup artist how much time they will need to get you and your bridesmaids ready. This can all depend on how many are in their team, how many maids you have, and how intricate your looks are.
+ Plan for more time rather than less. If something gets behind schedule, you'll already be prepared.
+ HAVE FUN. This is your day to celebrate a future of love and happiness with your person! Put everything into perspective. Is the groom's boutonniere falling into the mud really going to ruin your entire day? Of course not. Plus the photographer already got a photo of it, so no need to fret ;)
Happy Planning! Still looking for a kick booty photographer
to capture all the pretty details you're planning?
I'd love to chat!