There are so many moving parts to a wedding day. Trying to coordinate every little moment and detail to perfection is no easy task and often what prompts couples to invest in a wedding planner or day of coordinator. With vendors, guests and timelines to coordinate it can often give couples a huge headache when trying to really nail down all the details about who they need where and when. I've been to a lot of weddings. I've seen a lot of the behind the scenes and have learned some great tips and tricks to planning your timeline so that things flow smoothly throughout the day and so that you can enjoy the day instead of worrying about all those little things. Today I've decided to share with you just a few of my learned tips incase they can help make your plans and your day just a little smoother!
First- If you're considering hiring a day of coordinator or wedding planner- DO IT. You won't believe how much stress they can take off your plate. They can take over as much or as little of the planning as you'd like and when the big day arrives they worry about the small stuff, they make sure your flowers are where they should be when they should be there. They handle the DJ setting up speakers, they will make sure your favors are displayed in the right place and all those other little things so that you can focus on the whole getting married and having fun and being in love parts of the day. If a planner or coordinator are not in your budget then consider the next few tips.
Second- Designate tasks to your bridal party. These people are your best fiends and closest family. They are here to support you and celebrate with you. Ask your maid of honor or best man to help organize your family for family photos so that you don't get stuck running to cocktail hour trying to find great aunt Susan. Likely they already know your immediate family and can help wrangle them up for photos so that we can get those group photos done efficiently and move on to the fun portraits of the two of you! They can also help with other tasks such as keeping track of your lip gloss for that post ceremony kiss touch up.
Third- Consider a first look. Its not the tradition but its becoming more and more popular when couples really sit down and look at their timeline and realizing they just might want to enjoy some of cocktail hour themselves! The tradition of not seeing one another before the wedding is an old one and although some couples want to keep that tradition alive other are opting for breaking tradition and doing a first look. *More on first looks coming in a blog post very soon* Planing a first look gives you the opportunity to get all your family photos, bridal party photos and even some of your couples photos done ahead of the ceremony, which in turn allows you to enjoy some and maybe even all of your cocktail hour!
Lastly- Thinking about your reception and the end of your photography coverage time. If you plan to have a first dance, parent dances, formal cake cutting, bouquets toss etc consider scheduling those for early in your reception. There are two main reasons for this. One- you don't have the photographer, DJ, planner, caterer etc chasing you around all night reminding you it's time to do this and time to do that. You can be introduced right into your first dance. Follow up your toasts with dinner service and plan to cut the cake just after dinner and then use your parent dances to open the dance floor. DJ's and bands hate to have to clear the dance floor they've worked to hard to fill to have a special dance then have to work to get everyone on the dance floor again. This also allows you to keep your photography coverage down. Unless you have a planned exit with sparklers or a fireworks display you can typically have your coverage end after 30mins to an hour of open dance floor. This allows you to have all of the formal events of the reception covered and some great open dance floor shots before your photographer heads home for the night. If your collage friend is going to do the worm across the dance floor do you really need to pay the professional photographer to be there? I stand by the rule that if you aren't going to put the photo in your wedding album or frame it for your wall then its probably OK for the photographer to head home and you'll enjoy your friends worm by instagram post!
There are a ton of ways to plan your wedding day timeline to reflect the type of wedding day you want to have. Hopefully these tips help you figure out how to schedule your day so that you get the most out of your photos and enjoy every moment.