Making the best wedding day timeline
The logistics of a wedding can be prepared with a well-armed timeline. Thus, you as a couple should feel comfortable with the dynamics and how the nuptial event unfolds.
It will always be a great advantage to have the advice of a professional consultant when organizing the wedding. However, we understand that many brides do not have the opportunity to hire one or wish to tailor everything themselves.
For that reason today, we are going to talk about the wedding timeline, and tips on how to create an effective one in order to have a perfect wedding day.
What is a wedding timeline?
For a perfect wedding day, one of the most important tools for the management of the event is the timeline. With this, both you and your vendors will know the chronological order of each and every activity that will take place on this special day, within the time range.
Tips to make your wedding timeline
A good timeline allows your vendors to know the ABC of the event and take precautions to avoid mistakes. Here are some tips that should not be skipped to achieve a suitable wedding day timeline.
#1 Calculate the time needed for getting ready
This is the start of your event, so you need to plan extra time to allow everyone to be ready. Furthermore, take into consideration that your photographer will capture this special part of your day so have an extra 30 minutes not to rush and enjoy getting ready.
#2 The First Look
We’d suggest planning 30 minutes before the ceremony for your first look session. This will allow enough time to unwind and relax in your own presence, but also to surrender to the magic of the moment and still have enough time to get to the ceremony.
#3 Calculate the time of ceremony transfer to reception
Most couples celebrate the ceremony and reception in two different spaces, and often when setting up the event’s timeline, there is no time for delayed transfers. It is important that you consider all these inconveniences. As experienced Houston wedding photographers, we recommend making the tour 1 or 2 months before the day. Within this, you can calculate the times as close to the real time that will take the tour to the guests.
#4 Cocktail hour and wedding party photos
When the ceremony ends – which usually lasts for about 30 minutes, it is important to plan in between 1 and 1 and a half hours. This will provide you with enough time for your guests to congratulate you after the ceremony and it is a perfect chance for wedding party photos. After that, the cocktail hour will take place where your guests will also have a chance to unwind, mingle and refresh.
When the cocktail hour has finished, your guests will be invited to take their seats. As this part of the wedding unfolds, there are several other elements that will need careful planning of your wedding timeline. Those are as follows:
#6 Entry of the newlyweds
Once most people are seated at the reception, then comes one of the most important moments of the wedding, the entry of the newlyweds. It is important to consider several things: 1) Serve the drinks for the toast on time, 2) have the music for the entry ready, 3) be prepared for the toast speech.
However, more and more couples opt to have the first dance immediately, so tailor the wedding timeline accordingly – first opening the dance floor, then making time for the speeches.
#7 First dance
The first dance as newlyweds is one of the most important moments during the wedding. It will set the tone of your guests’ entertainment. This will keep the energy high and the party vibe on! However, there are two ways you can do this. Either ask your DJ to have a short introduction song that will last up to 5 minutes and then take your seats; or make a transition towards opening the evening with dancing and making the pause later on.
#8 Wedding toasts
By the time you enter the reception as newlyweds, make sure that the drinks are already served for the toast, as traditionally almost immediately after the bride and groom enter the speeches are held. As for the words, try not to last more than 3-5 minutes per person. Remind those who will make their toasts that having a prepared speech will always give an advantage.
Of course, you can curate this flow of events as you please. If the first dance is your preferred choice, then you can make the speeches before or after the dinner. Just make sure that your guests won’t take too much of the planned time.
#9 Golden Hour Photos
We’d also recommend planning 15 minutes for the golden hour session when you can steal away some moments with your beloved and your photographer. This is often during the reception so consult with your professional and make sure you get some of the golden hour magic!
#10 Start of the party
After the speeches are over, we recommend leaving 15 minutes before the start of the party, or the first dance. If you do the first dance as an opening of the dancefloor, the order should be as follows: 1) Dance of the newlyweds, 2) Dance with parents and 3) Start of the party.
In case the first dance is performed by entering the reception, the order should be as follows: 1) Dance with parents and 2) Start of the party.
#11 Dinner and Cake Cutting Ceremony
Your wedding timeline requires planning when the main course will take place and when the cake cutting ceremony will be held. This is vital for your catering team to know how to prepare everything in a timely manner, but also when to take out and present the cake for the cutting. In essence, the cutting ceremony lasts for about 10 minutes.
Depending on your own desires and traditions, make sure to plan 10 minutes for the bouquet toss if that is something you choose to include.
#12 Make sure you have time for your wedding shooting
We know that many couples decide to do a whole photo session after the big day because they don’t have time for anything. If you organize your wedding day timeline well, you’ll definitely have it! For example, we don’t do photos when it’s dark outside like most photographers. When working with us, we make sure to schedule all the sessions during the day and leave the party for last. We put our focus on the getting ready photos, first look, the ceremony, wedding party photos, cocktail hour, the events of the reception, and of course, an intimate session during golden hour.
Finally, our most important tip is to have a professional photographer who is able to capture all these beautiful moments on your big day. If you are planning a wedding in New Orleans or a Houston wedding and need more tips for a successful and organized wedding timeline, feel free to connect with us. For our photography services, don’t hesitate to request a quote!