Your Wedding Day Timeline
Building Your Wedding Day Schedule
Quick note before we start... don't forget to scroll down and check out the photos posted below. I got a little more wordy than I had planned 😁
We receive a lot of questions about how much time couples will need to plan for each part of their wedding day, and rightfully so. So much time, effort, and money goes into planning your perfect day, and of course, you want it to be just that... perfect! Many couples choose not to work with a wedding planner, so they rely on our experience to guide them through the timeline of their day.
Side note: there are many benefits to working with a day-of coordinator, the biggest one is that you don't have to worry about a thing on your wedding day. Your coordinator will be your advocate, working behind the scenes to make sure everything goes as planned and to coordinate with your vendors and guests when things don't. That being said, for one reason or another, couples often plan to go it alone. This is where we can jump in and not only offer some guidance on how to schedule your wedding day, but also to assume, at least part, the role of the day-of coordinator.
Other than your immediate family and your wedding party, we're the only ones that are with you for the entirety of your day. Because of that, we are able to help keep things on schedule and make sure everyone is getting to the right location at the right time. We also have a wealth of experience when it comes to figuring out how long certain parts of the day will take and what might be the best plan of action to go from one part of the day to the next. We know how much time it generally takes for you to get ready, have a first look with your bride or your groom, travel from location to location, have some downtime with your wedding party before the ceremony, and, your favorite part of the day, family photos ;)
So, if you do not end up hiring a day-of wedding coordinator, or even if you do, please lean on us for help in scheduling your wedding day. Scroll down below the photos to find a sample of time frames associated with certain parts a typical wedding day schedule. We will often send this schedule to our clients at the beginning of their planning phase to give them an idea of how much time each segment of their day might take. This also comes with a caveat: This is just a guideline and can be moved and changed however you see fit. These time frames are based on our 10 years of experience in seeing what works well for the typical wedding day. Use this as a starting point in thinking about how you want to structure your own wedding day, and we'll go from there. And, as always, please hit us up with any questions!
On a relatively unrelated note: the images below are from a styled wedding shoot we did for The Perfect Wedding Guide here in Kansas City. We shot at Union Station and were pretty stoked about how some of the images came out, so I figured, this is as good of a place to share as any :)
Venue: Union Station
Planning & Design: Tryinity Events (Amanda Medlock)
Photography: Nagel Portraits
Bridal Gown: Gown Gallery
Talent: McKenzie Roth & Juston Hairston
A Typical Wedding Day Schedule
30 MINUTES - BRIDE FINISHES HAIR AND MAKEUP
- This is usually when we will arrive to start the day. This gives us time to document the getting ready phase of the day as well as the details like shoes, jewelry, wedding dress, etc. before they are needed.
- Directly after this, we usually split off and one of us will document the bride getting in her dress, while the other documents the guys getting ready.
15-30 MINUTES - GUYS HANGING OUT DOING SOMETHING ACTIVE (NOT JUST SITTING AROUND)
- This is optional, but it's often a good opportunity to get some candid photographs of the guys right before they get ready
30 MINUTES - GIRLS GET DRESSED / BRIDE GETS IN DRESS
- Make sure that bridesmaids and mother(s) (if present) get dressed before the bride. That way they're all ready to go when helping the bride get in her dress.
- Also make sure to find a good location. This means finding some good natural light if at all possible (we'll help with that ;), and making sure that the surrounding area is clear of stuff (bags, clothes, shoes, hangers, etc.)
15-30 MINUTES - GUYS GET DRESSED
- Same as above, find some good light and a clean location
10-20 MINUTES - PORTRAITS OF BRIDE AND GROOM SEPARATELY
- This can be done later if need be
15 MINUTES - FIRST LOOK
- Brides sometimes to a first look with their dad prior to the first look with their groom
90 MINUTES - 2.5 HOURS - WEDDING PARTY PHOTOS
- As a general rule, we like to plan for 45 minutes to an hour per location. That can definitely change quite a bit depending on the size of your wedding party as well as how far away your locations are. This is one that will most likely require a separate conversation to go over exactly what you want out of this time and how we can work together to make a plan.
- This usually also includes at least one quick location with just the bride and groom
15-30 MINUTES - FAMILY PHOTOS
- One thing that helps this part of the day run as efficiently (and quickly) as possible, is to have a list ready, with names, of the groupings that you would like to have photographed. We will definitely give you guidance on this as well if you'd like
30 MINUTES - PRE-CEREMONY (NO PHOTOGRAPHY)
- This is a time for you to relax and chill before the big moment. It also gives us time to switch gears, coordinate with any venue representatives, and prepare to shoot the ceremony
- This one varies wildly and completely depends on you and your families. We've shot a 2.5 minute ceremony (yes, you read that correctly: 150 seconds), and we've shot a 2 hour ceremony.
- We often start the schedule planning here, depending on what time you want to have your ceremony and how long it will be. We then move backwards to the beginning of your day and out to the end of your reception and fill in all of the pieces.
15-45 MINUTES - POST CEREMONY PHOTOS0
- This is optional, but if you have the time and can sneak away for a bit, we highly recommend it! It's a perfect time to capture an epic moment between a bride and groom. You'll be ecstatic, and with emotions on high and running wild, it's a great time to document that moment of your story
- This can be with just the bride and the groom, or with the entire wedding party... and it doesn't have to take long at all
- We've also had couple use this time to spend a little bit of time with their closest friends at a local bar before moving on to the reception... which is also a great moment to capture
- By the time everything is said and done, our goal is to be at your reception until at least 30 minutes to an hour into open dancing, unless, of course, you have a specific exit in mind that you'd like for us to document.
Again, that's just a guideline and can be moved and adjusted in any way you see fit. Please hit us up with any questions... we'd love to have a conversation and share with you our perspective and experience.