How to Plan Your Wedding Day Timeline

Ok, girlfriend. You've popped the Champagne. You've taken 1,000,000 ring selfies. You've got most, if not all of your wedding day vendors booked. But now that you're officially knee deep into the wedding planning process, you're starting to feel a little anxious. There are so many loose ends left to tie up, BUT IT'S GOING TO BE OK. If you are starting to think about (re: stress about) your wedding day timeline, and when everything is supposed to happen, and where everyone is supposed to be, and how it will all just comes together on the day of--stress no more. I got you. 

HOW TO PLAN YOUR WEDDING DAY TIMELINE

  1. START WITH WHAT YOU KNOW. If you have booked a venue and know that you want your ceremony to begin at 4 pm, that is your starting point. Ceremonies that I have been apart of typically last around 20 minutes. Knowing this and nothing else can be a great starting point.

  2. DO YOU WANT TO HAVE A "FIRST LOOK"? If you aren't familiar with what a "first look" is, basically it just means the bride and the groom meet up for a few minutes in a somewhat private location for a few moments, prior to the ceremony to see each other. If you are planning to do one of these, I recommend doing this about 1 to 1.5 hours prior to the start of your ceremony time. After the first look your photographer can go straight into getting beautiful portraits of the bride and groom with out feeling rushed and without being watched by all of your wedding guests. Also, once the first look is complete, the entire bridal party can get their photos complete, as well as all your formal family photos. Once all these photos are complete, the entire bridal party can get hidden/tucked away until showtime!
    • If you are not doing a "first look" and have chosen to see your groom for the first time as you make your way down the isle, some of the bridal party and family photos can still be taken before the ceremony, but the entire bridal party together and bride and groom portraits usually happen directly after the ceremony. During the time after the ceremony when these photos can be taken is often referred to as the "cocktail hour". If you had a "first look" and most of your photos were completed prior to the start of the ceremony, your photographer will likely be getting last minute detail shots now, if the reception venue wasn't fully complete earlier. 
  3. COCKTAIL HOUR. When I photograph a wedding day, I almost always suggest that once the "cocktail hour" has ended and guests have made their way into the reception venue, now is the time for the couple to be officially introduced as Mr. and Mrs. Newlastname. The newlyweds walk in, everyone claps and cheers, and Mr. and Mrs. Newlywed go straight into their first dance. This is of course followed by any other formal dancing the couple has planned, and then the big moment we've all been waiting for....

  4. IT'S TIME TO EAT. The Bride and Groom should go first and eat so that they can feel free to walk around and mingle with their guests, followed by the bridal party.

  5. CUT THE CAKE. Once most people seem to be finishing up their meals, the cake gets cut and then its on to the rest of the fun stuff

  6. LIKE, THE BOUQUET TOSS, GARTER TOSS, AND OPEN FLOOR DANCING. That seems pretty self explanatory, right?

Ok so thats baaaasically it! Obviously there are things that I left off like: getting ready photos, and when your photographer will get all your detail photos and decor, and of course that grand sparkler exist you're planning, but so much of that depends on how many hours you've booked your photographer for, so please take all of this as the basic guideline that it is meant to be. 

Love to your pretty faces,

-Natalie

related: What to Wear to Your Engagement Session

Little Rock, Arkansas Old State House Museum Wedding