Five Tips for Planning Your Wedding Day Timeline by Nikkels Photography

You are getting all your wedding details in place and have picked your vendors. Now what? Figuring out how to organize the day to provide you and your guests an epic party can get overwhelming. There are so many moving pieces to an efficient timeline. If you have hired a wedding planner/coordinator, this is their expertise! If you are looking for one go HERE. Tell them your priorities and what you want and they will create an unforgettable experience. If not, no big deal. Your photographer will always have your back and be the best third wheel you could ask for.

Since being in the wedding industry since 2014, I want to share five simple tips as you build out your wedding day timeline.

Do a First Look:

If you and your partner want to enjoy your cocktail hour and your party, then a first look is for you. Getting portraits done early means you can spend more time mingling and dancing with all your best friends. Your bridal party and families will also thank you.

Schedule Hair & Makeup Early:

Getting your hair and makeup done takes time and we all want it to be perfect, so give yourself a big buffer and have your beauty team there early. I recommend having them finish at least 30 minutes before your photographer arrives. That way, you are doing the final touches and if you run late, we have time!

Keep Family Photos Minimal:

You and your partner won’t want to be spending upwards of an hour doing family photos. Combine groups whenever possible. And do all immediate family photos before the ceremony.

Do your First Dance right after your Grand Entrance:

It flows beautifully and you will often have better lighting then. Plus, everyone is already on their feet cheering you on from walking into your reception!

Do your Reception Events Early in the Evening:

This is a great option. By moving up your toasts, cake cutting, garter, bouquet toss, any special dances shortly after dinner service has ended, this allows your photographers/videographers to wrap up earlier. We will get a great mix of fun dancing photos and then let you party to your heart’s desire. And if you have a planned exit, you can actually do it earlier in the evening when more of your guests are present. Your grandma will love being a part of that without staying up till 10 o’clock.

Here is a Sample Timeline to get an idea of how this looks on a wedding day.

9 Hours of Coverage With Two Photographers & A First Look

12:00 p.m. Photography begins – Details & Candids (lead photographer styling personal details, second photographer partner 1 candids)

1:00 p.m. Getting Ready photos continue (lead photographer with partner 1, second photographer go to partner 2’s getting ready location)

2:00 p.m. First look + portraits

2:30 p.m. Wedding party portraits

3:00 p.m. Immediate family portraits (optional)

3:30 p.m. Couple freshen up for ceremony (photographers shooting ceremony & reception details)

3:45 p.m. Earliest guest arrival

4:00 p.m. Ceremony invitation time (begin at 4:15 to accommodate late guest arrivals)

4:45 p.m. Ceremony ends

4:50 p.m. Extended family portraits (including immediate families if not completed pre-ceremony)

5:15 p.m. Couple join cocktail hour (lead photographer reception details; second shooter cocktail hour for guest candids)

5:45 p.m. Guests invited to sit at reception

6:00 p.m. Grand entrance (full wedding party OR just couple announced)

6:05 p.m. First dance + welcome toast

6:15 p.m. Dinner service (couple served first)

7:00 p.m. Toasts (once everyone has been served first course OR gone through buffet)

7:25 p.m. Cake Cutting (or Dessert + Coffee Bar Open)

7:30 p.m. Couple sunset portraits (8:15 p.m. sunset time)

8:00 p.m. Open Dancing (Garter/Bouquet during this time)

9:00 p.m. Photography ends

The White Barn - Edna Valley Summer Wedding with Neutrals and Black

Did these tips on Building a Wedding Timeline Help You? Comment below any tips you have that made your wedding a success!

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Five Tips for Planning Your Wedding Day Timeline by Nikkels Photography


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