Timeline Do’s & Don’ts

Your wedding timeline is essential for providing a smooth-running day. It outlines your expectations for the day, and ensures that everyone is on the same page. Make sure before the actual day-of, your vendors and bridal party are aware of the timeline with copies. This way everyone knows the plan! The more detailed the timeline, and information like arrivals/departures the less likely for error. 

Here are some helpful do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when creating your wedding timeline: 

1. Don’t forget to add travel time. 

Traffic, unexpected detours, or even those pesky red lights can quickly eat up your time. So, if you have multiple locations throughout the day of places you need to be, make sure you are scheduling drive time into the master timeline. This way you can stay relaxed even if you hit every red light along the way. My rule of thumb is to add 5 minutes to your drive time based on how far each location is according to Google Maps. Don’t let forgetting to add in travel time be the reason your time is crunched and you getting stressed! 

2. Don’t underestimate the time it takes to get dressed. 

You’ve heard it before, but I’ll say it for the people in the back – it takes longer to put your wedding dress on on your wedding day than it does when you were at the seamstress. If you can do a practice run before the wedding day with whomever is going to help you get into your dress, I can guarantee you’ll thank yourself later. If they are present for a dress fitting that’s even better so the seamstress can show them how to properly lace, fasten, and zip your dress. Even the time it takes to add jewelry should be taken into account. I’ve had some brides not able to put their own earrings on because they are shaking with anxious excitement! 

3. Do schedule at least a half-hour of portraits for just you and your spouse!

Your wedding portraits are one of the most important things you’ll take away from your day. You’ll need at least a half hour to walk around your venue and get variety with different locations and lighting. You’ll want pictures together and individually. I promise you won’t ever regret taking the time to get those couplee portraits. These photos are the ones you’ll want to frame around your house and post for all the happy anniversary posts that follow for years to come.

4. Do schedule photos to end a half hour before the ceremony.

This is more important if you are doing a first look and all of the formalities at the same location. You don’t want guests walking in on you in your dress while taking photos. You want your reveal to be when you’re walking down the aisle. By making sure photos are over a half hour before the ceremony you’ll prevent any early reveals. Plus, you won’t feel nearly as rushed and get to enjoy the moments before you say I do (and hav time to freshen up your lipstick!).

5. Do schedule some time for portraits after the ceremony 

Whether this be golden hour, sunset or night portraits you don’t want to miss out on scheduling this time into your day! You will be so much more relaxed, candid, and excited during this time. Many of my couples even say they are happy to take a break away from all their guests. You get to step away from the chaos and have some intimate moments. It also allows for breathing time and a reflection of how the wedding is playing out- while still actually living in the moment it’s happening! And, again, these are some of the first images you’ll want to share and print.

6. Do give everyone the detailed timeline!

After you have created your wedding timeline with as much information as possible, pass it along to anyone who could possibly need it. If you have a wedding planner, they are most likely doing this step for you, but if not, it’s essential to make sure all your vendors are on the same page going into your wedding day. Because let’s be honest, no one should be texting, calling or bothering you at all on the morning of your wedding to ask where they should be or what they need to be doing. Put phone numbers of people to contact if someone does have a question and make sure to also include addresses of the places people need to be. Pour everything into the timeline and figure it out in advance so you can turn off your phone if you want to. This is a day for you to be truly present and soak up every last minute. 

Planning a wedding is definitely not easy, but by taking steps like creating a detailed wedding timeline you will ensure that your day is seamless and how you truly envision!

If you’re a bride and groom of mine, you know that I will help you create a photography timeline. This way everyone can know where to be for pictures on the day of your wedding, too! To learn more about my wedding photography packages, click here.


A place for you to view more examples of my work through past weddings, engagement sessions, and events, and learn tips for your big day.