Wedding Day Timeline

Your wedding timeline is absolutely critical.

Weddings are a bustling, jam packed day, with lots to do, and many different situations to consider. It's probably the biggest event you will ever put together. So it's critical to have a wedding timeline, a schedule of how the day should, and hopefully will, unfold.

At Hugh Anderson Photography, I always include this in my services. My wedding photography experience has helped me to know what is likely to go smooth, and what might cause delays. It's valuable knowledge to my brides, and helps remove a lot of stress from the day.

Yet, when I mentioned a timeline to a photographer friend not too long ago, I was stunned to hear them tell me that they just turn up at the agreed time, and shoot. Well, if you have booked a photographer for 8 hours, and you ask them to arrive in

time for the ceremony at 2pm, then they will be shooting until 10pm. Right? It may be logical, but it leaves out an awful lot of important stuff. Let me elaborate.

A Wedding Timeline - Every Time

I have always worked out a wedding timeline with my clients, for every single wedding I have ever covered, and for every one I will cover. Why? Because if the bride intends to have a moment with her father right after getting dressed, I don’t want to miss it. When the bride puts on that antique necklace that belonged to her grandmother - that’s right, it’s a not to be missed moment. If I don’t have a timeline, then I will be winging it. Important details and events will be unknown. In my book, that’s irresponsible, and definitely not in my clients best interest.

Consider another crucial point - the bride and groom have absolutely no idea how a wedding day flows, what challenges to expect, what is likely to hold things up, how long it takes to cover the formal images, how long the romantic images will take, how the size of the bridal party impacts timeline planning, when the best time to cut the cake is, etc, etc, etc. But I do. Surely, it is my responsibility to help my client, to make sure that things go as smoothly as possible. That’s why a timeline is so important.

Remember The Family Photos

Family photographs are also important, and that too should be scheduled.  As well as making sure that all of the important shots are covered on the big day, there are other variables to take into account. Will the officiant be accommodating or a little more strict? Will the hair and make up girls get the bride and bridesmaids ready in time? If they are late, the whole day will now be running behind.

Guided by what you imagine will take place, I will work out the best time to start your day, and how things are likely to flow, during our initial meeting. Then, we will finesse the details of the timeline usually around a month before your event date. On the wedding day, I will have the information constantly in hand, keeping things moving along as they should.

It's at this point that everyone you have hired should simply do what they are there to do, without you having to give it a second thought, without you feeling any stress. Your job is to have a magical wedding, to enjoy the most spectacular day of your life, to create memories. There is so much going on, the day will be a blur when you look back on it. Enjoy every second.

Let's nail down that timeline, shall we?

The Wedding Planner

Of course some couples have a wedding planner, and that will certainly remove a lot of wedding day stress. But here’s the thing, the time that I allow for certain images, and the time another photographer allows will be completely different, and we can’t expect the wedding planner to know the routine of others.  By the way, I love wedding planners!

If I intend to spend an hour photographing beautiful, romantic bride and groom pictures, and the wedding planner allocates 20 minutes, I have a problem. If that scenario applies to several segments of the day, it will hugely impact what can be ultimately produced in the final product. So the sharing of information becomes critical.

A wedding day timeline allows me to work out with a client exactly how they want their day to flow. Almost always, when discussing the details, things will change based on the information and experience that I provide to them. If I have a formal list from one bride comprising of 8 images, and another bride has a list of 20 images with many large groups, the time required will obviously be different.

The bride and groom will often spend more time with their photographer than they will with each other on the wedding day, at least that’s how it is in my business where the average day is about 10 hours. So who better to help create an accurate plan of action than the person attending weddings week after week, and bringing tons of experience to the table?

You should be able to trust your photographer to help immensely in putting together a detailed wedding timeline, and it is best to have it all ironed out at least a month before the wedding day. If they don’t, or worse still, won’t, it may be time to ask some searching questions.

I may be a photographer, and not a wedding planner, but I am also morally bound to make sure that I do everything possible to ensure that my clients have a smooth and glitch free wedding day. The wedding timeline is the blueprint for that, and better still, it's a free service.

~ Hugh Anderson