how to plan a wedding timeline

Keep All Your Vendors In The Loop

Communication is the #1 thing a couple should do with their vendors and it is also the #1 thing vendors should do with their client. I myself check in with my clients at least once or twice a month to ensure their wedding is on track. At the same time when I do this I may also receive a piece of information that may be related to photography even though the couple may not think it is.

Another benefit to making sure there is constant communication from both sides is if there is a scenario we are unsure of 3 months before the wedding we can fix it immediately and well before the wedding. If I didn’t check in with couples monthly and only talked to them during a meeting a week before their wedding, all these new ideas that they came up with over the last few months may not be doable from a photography aspect. To put it simple it’s easier to figure things out as you go with your wedding versus making a big list and worry about it a week before your wedding and be in panic mode.

In a perfect world the last month before your wedding should be set in stone and you should just be having your final meetings with your vendors to re-confirm everyone is on the same page and possibly do final payments with vendors.  

5 Things To Do The Morning Of Your Wedding

The morning of your wedding should be a time when you hang out with your bridesmaids or groomsmen and just relax and prep for the day. During this time I do my best to make sure I have very little involvement and let the morning unfold naturally. I don’t want to add any unnecessary stress to the bride if I don’t have to. Here are 5 ways to ensure the morning of your wedding runs as smoothly as possible.


  1. Try and de clutter certain things in your house so there is less background distractions in photos. I’m not suggesting renovate your house and repaint the walls but if there are small items like blankets, TV remotes on the coffee table or slippers on the ground hide all these things. The easiest way to think of this scenario is to pretend you are selling your house and you want to have it ready for an open house

  2. Wherever we do the images of the bride getting into her dress make sure there is as much natural light as possible. If this is not an option a photographer should have proper lighting gear to help produce light in a scene.

  3. Have bridesmaids or groomsmen keep all their extra clothing, bags, or purses in a room where we would not be taking photos. This will avoid items being all over the house and reduce the background distractions in images.

  4. If you are setting up a breakfast table with food and snacks keep this set up in the kitchen away from where images may be taken.

  5. Try and have as few people there in the morning as possible. The less people there in the morning the less street you will have. I have seen it sometimes in the morning at a bride's prep location where everyone wants to help and has suggestions (which is great) but it sometimes becomes overwhelming and stressful more than anything.

Wedding Timeline

Your wedding day can be a very stressful day and having a wedding timeline that is laid out with advice from your the appropriate vendors can end up turning into the most enjoyable day due to their experience. Here are some tips to help have the most enjoyable wedding day possible.

  • Start building your timeline by using your ceremony time as the starting point. Once this time is set in stone your whole day revolves around this time.

  • Consider travel time between locations. If you are having a wedding in a big city like New York versus out in the country, traffic may or may not be an issue.

  • Always have a backup indoor rain location and consider the time for that location. Your venue may be a good fit for this but if you feel it is not then a location like a winery or a hotel may be a good fit.

  • In a perfect world leave approximately 1 - 1.5 hours of time open for bridal photos.

Here is an example of how your wedding day may look:

9am Start with prep photos at Bride and Groom location
11am - Bride to be in dress to ensure we have ample time to take morning prep photos

1pm - Ceremony (may be 30 minutes or a 1 hour ceremony)
2pm - Family photos immediately after your ceremony

230-4pm - Wedding photos with bridal party

5pm - 6pm - Cocktail hour
630 - Guests start to sit down in their seats for dinner
7pm - Formal Introductions (Speeches, Dancing, Dinner)

9pm - Dessert is served approximately around this time
915pm - DJ opens up the dance floor and let the party begin !
10pm - Garter and bouquet toss

When it comes to the timeline during your reception I highly recommend that your DJ or a friend or family member with MC experience be put in this roll. They will make sure your evening runs on an exact timeline and the night will not be dragged out longer than it should be.