A lot of my clients are brides who’ve recently gotten engaged. By the way, congratulations. Little known fact, I use to photograph weddings. I thought it would be good to discuss a wedding day timeline so you kind of have an overview of how the day may go.
First things first.
I recommend having your wedding planner and your wedding photographer help refine your timeline. They will know the time they need and the small details right now, though, you just need an overview of how the day will likely go so you can start making the bigger wedding day decisions. That’s the purpose of this blog!
Wedding Day Timeline
Let’s say your ceremony starts at 5:30 during the month of May and it’s a 30 minute ceremony. You will plan the rest of your wedding day around that start time. This is based on 10 hour wedding day coverage for the photographer.
- 1:30 Photographer arrives
- Hair and makeup done and the bride ready to get dressed.
- Detail shots of the dress, shoes, rings, etc.
- 2:00 Grooms/ Groomsmen portraits and getting ready photos.
- 2:30 Bride gets dressed.
- The bridesmaids are dressed and ready to be in the background of the photos
- 3:00 Bride and Groom wedding day gift exchange.
- 3:30 Bridal Portraits
- 3:45 Bridesmaids Photos
- 4:00 First Look
- 4:10 Bride and Groom Photos
- 4:40-5:15 Wedding Party and Family Photos
- 5:30 Ceremony
- 6:15 Cocktail hour
- 7:00- sunset photos
- 7:15 Dinner
- 7:30 Grand entrance and First Dance
- 7:40 Welcome toasts and dinner
- 8:30 Bridal Party Toasts
- 8:45 Parent Dances
- 9:15 Cake cutting/Bouquet Toss/Garter Toss
- 9:30 Open Dance Floor
- 11:30 Grand Exit
Things to Change
Obviously, there are a lot of things that can change in the timeline. I definitely recommend adding buffer time to be sure you don’t run late throughout the wedding day. Depending on the time of the year, you may need to adjust the time of day as far as sunset photos, and the ceremony. All of these are things to discuss with your wedding planner and your photographer. They will help you make the best decisions to be sure your day is absolutely perfect!
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First things first, Happy early New Year to everyone! I know it’s a couple of days away, but since this is posting before New Year Eve, I wanted to say it now. 🙂 Also, congratulations to the new brides out there! This is such an exciting time in your life. Let the wedding planning begin!
Wedding Plan Timelines
Because I am sure there are a ton of brides just beginning their research, I thought it would be a good time to call on my past experience as a wedding photographer! I wanted to talk wedding planning timelines with you. This can vary so much between weddings. In general, though, this is the order with which you can start a plan.
1 Year Prior
- Work out a budget. Be sure to give yourself enough to plan your dream wedding!
- Book a venue. For some venues, one year out may not be enough time.
- Draft a guest list.
- Have your engagement party.
- Register for gifts.
- Hire your wedding planner. I highly recommend Megan Rusch Soiree’s.
- Hire your wedding photographer. I recommend Laura Ann Miller, ImageClairity, or Conner Photography!
10 Months Prior
- Pick an officiant.
- Choose your bridal party.
- Meet with caterers, Dj’s, etc.
- Take engagement photos.
- Launch your wedding website.
8 Months Prior
- Order your dress!
- Block hotel rooms for guests.
- Begin cake tastings and order your cake.
- Begin your makeup trials. I highly recommend the Blowout Bar or Savanah Summer Beauty.
6 Months Prior
- Choose your invitations. I really like On Three Designs in St. Louis!
- Send out your Save the Dates.
- Book your Honeymoon.
- Order your bridesmaids’ dresses.
- Purchase your wedding bands. Check out The Diamond Family in STL. 🙂
- Book your florist.
- Arrange transportation.
- Begin planning your day of timeline. I am actually planning to make an entire blog post about this in the next few months so stay tuned!
- Book your BOUDOIR SESSION!!! You knew this was going to be in here some where.
4 Months Prior
- Choose your groomsmen’ attire.
- Plan the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.
- Confirm vendors
- Confirm your hair and makeup.
- Choose your music.
- Finalize the menu and flowers.
- Order favors.
- Plan the readings during the wedding and a list of those giving toasts at the reception.
- Print menu cards and programs.
- Finalize the order of the ceremony and reception.
- Send a timeline to your wedding vendors.
- Have your boudoir session photographed.
2 Months Prior
- Mail the invitations.
- Write/decide on wedding vows.
- Purchase your day of accessories.
- Confirm the day of transportation.
- Meet with/touch base with your vendors.
- Pick up your BOUDOIR ALBUM!
6 Weeks to 1 Month Prior
- Get your marriage license.
- Send out final payments
- Have your bachelorette party!
- Have your bridal shower!
- Confirm times for hair and makeup and the other vendors.
- Give your shot list to your photographer.
- Review the music with the DJ.
- Purchase bridesmaids’ gifts.
Week of the Wedding
- Final head count of guests.
- Finalize the seating chart.
- Send a timeline to the bridal party.
- Pick up your dress.
- Check in one last time with your photographer.
- Pack for your honeymoon.
2 Days Prior
I’m not gonna lie, even writing all that down stressed me out. Be sure to have a planner and someone you can trust to help you keep on track! Planning a wedding can be so overwhelming and you don’t want to get behind. It’s a special day and you want it to be perfect. 🙂
Again congratulations to all the newly engaged girls out there! I really am so happy for you!