Tips For Making The Perfect Wedding Timeline

Tips For Making The Perfect Wedding Timeline

Your wedding timeline will make or break your wedding day.  More often than not weddings are held ransom to terrible timelines, or even worse – no timeline at all!  It’s crucial to build a realistic timeline that allows the appropriate amount of time you’ll need for all your wonderful wedding plans, with appropriate ‘cushion’ time to allow for inevitable slips in timings.

 Weddings are pretty hectic with all kinds of events and unfortunately just one slip in timing can result in an avalanche of lost time and moments. But have no fear! Your favourite Kent wedding photographer Mykey Day has some sure-fire tips to ensure your wedding day runs so smoothly it will be remembered as a dream and not a nightmare!  

CLICK HERE to see why the ceremony time on your wedding day will make or break your dream day!

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1. Makeup (and/or hair) always takes longer than expected

The tradition is that the Bride is always late – but why?  Having shot hundreds of weddings we’ve found that over 90% of the time it’s due to hair and make-up taking longer than expected. It’s actually become a bit of an industry in-joke these days it’s that common.  The difficulty is that the ceremony time often still needs to be adhered to and so the lateness digs directly into your dedicated bridal portraits time as well as your enjoyment of the day (no one wants additional stress of being late).

Two simple tips to avoid this: firstly, tell your make-up artist you need to be ready a full hour earlier than you actually need to be.  I know that seems a long time, but in our experience 30-45 minutes late is ‘normal’, so the hour is to play it safe that you and your bridal party are all ready on time with enough time to have photos and relax before the registrar arrives and it all gets super real.

Secondly, ask that your make-up artist refrain from taking photos.  Of course they will want to take a before and after picture for their portfolio (if you allow them) but it’s becoming increasingly more common for ever more elaborate photos of each and every bridesmaid, the whole group together, a selfie with the bride, a selfie with the whole group, and more…  Frankly, they’re often taking more photos than the official photographer and it’s a bit ridiculous.  Speak with them before the day and ask them to limit any photos to just the before and after images.  That way you’ll have more time with your official photographer (who you have paid to take photos) who can make far more fabulous images that the MUA’s iphone and which will ultimately end up in your wedding album for you to enjoy, not on the MUA’s website for their commercial gain.

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2. Double any travel times on the day, and add ten minutes

If you were to get up from your laptop / ipad now and decide to drive to your edding venue or church, you’d grab your keys and go.  Google maps or whatnot will tell you it’s a 30 minute drive (for example) and that will probably be about right.  But not on your wedding day. There’s a whole host of reasons why on your wedding day any all travel times will typically take double the time it usually takes:

  • Lots of cars in the driveway, where’s uncle Frank he’s blocking everyone in!
  • Where are my keys, which bridesmaid has the handbags?!
  • There are 60 cars trying to leave the church car park at once to get to the wedding venue all at the same time.
  • Physically getting to the car and in and out of it can take significantly longer in a wedding dress!
  • Hired a stretched limo / Humvee / etc? Well often they are unable to take the most direct route through country roads…
  • We’ve had several drivers from professional wedding car companies simply get lost looking for the church or wedding venue.
  • Old style Wedding Cars are often by their very nature much slower than modern cars (that’s the whole point in some cases).

There are so many more we could list, but we hope you get the idea!  If 90% of lateness at the start of the wedding day is due to Make-Up and Hair (see above), then 10% of the rest and all other lateness on the wedding day is typically accounted for by underestimating travel times.

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3. Group photos take far longer than you think they will

These are the photos that no one particularly wants to do, but do anyway for various reasons, despite being often the most uninteresting and tiresome part of the day.  Firstly, it’s important that you choose an experienced wedding photographer who will take charge of these moments both before and on the day.  Otherwise you’ll end up grinning like a Cheshire cat at the camera whilst waiting for everyone to get organised for up to 90 minutes of your wedding day!

Secondly – be clinical in your choice of group photos.  Far too often we see couples who decide they want 40+ combinations of group photos for the single reason that they thought it was their job to sit down and come up with all the permutations they could!

On average each large group photo can take 4-5 minutes to arrange, and even the smaller combinations can take 2-3 minutes each if you’re doing the hokey-cokey and key family members have disappeared to the bar or the loo (which they will).

You should allot at least 30 minutes for group photos, and if you’re thinking of having any more than 10 combinations of family photos then look at more like 45-60 minutes.  If the family photos are important to you then that’s great and work with your photographer to get all the shots you want.  But if they aren’t and you’d rather be off having prosecco and canapes with your guests, then keep the list to 10 or under.

CLICK HERE to see 9 things you need to do to avoid hating your wedding photos

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4. If you want pictures of certain things or moments – you have to allot time for it

There are many examples where couples have contacted photographers after the wedding day because they feel there are moments or details missing or not covered in their photos properly.  And in their defence, whilst they should be arranging a timeline consultation to mitigate this, often the reason the photographer missed moments is because they were physically unable to due to the timeline.

An example – one key element that photographers struggle to capture is the ceremony room and/or the reception rooms before guests arrive.  Typically the only points when these are ready and in a state to photograph are at moments when an inferior wedding timeline places the photographer in another location doing bridal prep photos or the group photos.  The reception room, if it has been turned around after the ceremony, may only be in a fit state for good photography of a maximum of ten minutes! And that time is typically when Brides and Grooms are expecting their family photos or creatives to be done.

CLICK HERE to see more about creating a timeline for your wedding day

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5. Delegate before the wedding day – don’t expect to make any plans on your wedding day itself

If you think you’ll be in any state to organise, run, or make decisions on your wedding day – I’m afraid you’re sorely mistaken.  No matter how organised and punctual you pride yourself on being, a wedding day will make mince meat of your plans!

The trick is to delegate any all possible decisions on the wedding day, doing so before so that others know their responsibilities.  If someone is late, who is responsible for calling them?  If the flowers don’t turn up, who can get on the case when you don’t have time to stop the MUA?

Furthermore, the best advice is to delegate as much as you can to your wedding suppliers.  The reason for this is that they are wedding professionals, and will anticipate problems (with solutions) before you even knew there was a problem!  After all, if you have chosen carefully then you will be surrounded by wedding industry professionals with centuries of experience between them – and they will be best placed to sort your timeline problems for you on the day.

CLICK HERE to see how to treat your wedding suppliers in order to get 110% from them on your wedding day

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5. Ensuring you have enough time for the photos ‘you’ want!

One of the most asked question we get is how much time should be set aside for the creative wow photos that our clients want to treasure forever.  Whilst it varies by location and your specific circumstances – the rule of thumb is at least 56-60 minutes.  This accounts for travel time, walking time (walking out to the lake for ‘that’ photo you want will take longer in a wedding dress and heels!), and a bit of cushion time for delays whilst allowing enough time for you to relax and get a wide variety of wedding imagery for your wedding album and the walls of your home.

We’ve mentioned before that any and all delays tend to hit the creative photos the worst, as often they are set just before dinner is to be served and many chefs refused to delay service even when at the couple’s request.  If you end up having no creative photo time here, and you have not time scheduled for the rest of your wedding day – you may be disappointed that you spent all that money on your wedding photographer but possibly the most important part of the day has vanished.

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6. Sunset Photos – the Sun won’t wait for you

Important considerations must be taken into account if you are wanting sunset photos.  Firstly, the sunset time changes throughout the year (we all know that) but can also be significantly different from location to location.  Speak with your photographer about the sunset photos you want.

Secondly, when your photographer comes to grab you for sunset photos – it’s time to go!  You may come across as rude cutting the conversation short with Uncle Pete who you haven’t seen yet – but the sun will wait for no bride!  Get your skates on and don’t forget your bouquet!

CLICK HERE for more Frequently Asked Questions about weddings and wedding photography

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Pro-Tips From Pro Kent Wedding Photography by Mykey Day

Your Wedding Day will never be as important to anyone else as it is to you, but trust us when we say – your wedding will be crucially important to us as well! Please browse our website for examples of our work, and we look forward to making your wedding photographs special too.

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