TOP 10 TIPS FOR BETTER WEDDING PHOTOS: TIP #5: Plan out the timing of your wedding

On your wedding day, you’re going to be doing a lot of stuff you never have nor ever will do again. Like putting on a wedding dress or custom suit. Or getting flowers delivered in bulk. Or prepping for more than 50 people coming to eat.

Due to the nature of all these new experiences, things tend to take longer and be a bit more complicated than expected. Most people reason – well, I take 5 minutes to put on my regular clothes so how much longer can putting on my wedding dress take? But since you’re not used to lacing up a corset everyday or trying to put on shoes while wearing a very heavy dress, things take longer. So I always advise couples to give themselves plenty of time for things and to think about scheduling from both a minute/tiny detail way and a big picture, bird’s eye view.

Your timeline should be realistic and well-thought-out. This document will be critical for your photographer to be in the right place at the right angle for all the events. It’s also critical for this timeline to be realistic because if it takes you 45 minutes longer than you thought to get your makeup done, that typically really eats into my couple portrait time. So you don’t get as many fun pictures of just the two of you. It makes me sad 🙁

Things that will take way more time than you ever thought:

  • Hair and Makeup: For each attendant, expect 40 minutes for hair and another 40 minutes for makeup. For the bride or brides, expect 50 minutes to an hour for hair and another 45 minutes for makeup. For the groom or grooms, expect 20 minutes max if you are getting makeup or hair done by a professional.
  • Geting dressed: Usually you should have any attendants get dressed first while you are finishing up hair/makeup so they can be ready to help you put on your wedding gear. I usually say 30-45 minutes should be allotted to get dressed for the bride or brides. This is in case a button pops or a zipper breaks – you have time to sew things back on or fix things.
  • Flowers: Most couples want to have their bouquets or boutonnieres with them for their formal shots. Get your flowers delivered waaaay ahead of when you need them as I find most floral deliveries run behind schedule. I have more than once had to delay formal shots and eat into my photo time waiting on the flowers to be delivered.
  • Group Shots: While I already addressed how much longer group shots take than you would ever think, I’ll say it again. Do your group shots before the ceremony! I beg you! It also stops the wandering eye problem so everyone looks at my camera and not the 10 others behind me.
  • Speeches: Remind your loved ones that a good speech should take no longer than 4-5 minutes max. Once you approach the 7 minute mark per speech (and you have multiple people speaking before dinner), guests start to revolt because they are hungry and want to eat!!
  • DIY Details: If you are making a lot of reception/ceremony decor, go you! But be aware that actually setting up everything will be a big production/time sucker. So I always recommend having your Captain of the Day or Planner be in charge of at least 2-3 people who are willing to commit a few hours in the morning to setting up. If you can ask your venue about setting up the day before, all the better.

Resources for making a wedding timeline: