What is a Normal Wedding Day Timeline?

What is a normal wedding timeline?

**original content on zangardiphoto.com**
Being in the wedding industry, we sometimes lose sight of the fact that we predominantly work with people who have never been married before. Weird, huh?
We have found that because of that, a lot of people don’t know what a wedding timeline may look like. We thought it would be nice to give you a little insight into how your day may transpire.
Here’s a little example based on our experience.

10:00am Hair/makeup

This might be done on location at your venue, in your home, or at a salon – and with a small group like just your mom and bridesmaids or a larger party which may include your mom and mother of the groom, flower girls, bridesmaids, and other friends. When choosing your hair and makeup artist or salon, or deciding to do it yourself, try to think about how it will kickstart the rest of your day – do you want to be pampered and relax, get the party going, or just chill out with your girls and do each others hair and makeup. There’s no a right or wrong answer with it!

11:30am Dressing the bridesmaids/moms/key players

From a photography standpoint we always recommend the “bride tribe” gets dressed before the bride does, and not at the exact same time. That’s because it makes the photos of the bride getting in her dress with her girls and her mom look so much more polished and classic. Based on the size of your bridal party you’ll want to give enough time to make it stress free while they get dressed.

11:45am Dressing the groom/men/key players

Most of the time, this part is easy and fast! And, sometimes happens offsite or at a different location – one of the great benefits of having a second shooter with your photographer – you can be in two places at one time!

The guys getting ready isn’t usually as emotion or heartfelt as the bride and girls, but always fun in it’s own right.

Bonus points if there is beer and snacks involved (or cigars)!

12:00pm Dressing the bride

For most brides (and moms) this is one of moments that they’ve been thinking about for a long, long time. So don’t rush through it!

Try to make it as stress-free as possible. If you’re able to get dressed at the ceremony venue, that’s a great way to avoid getting stuck running low on time or worrying about traveling to the church or ceremony site. On your wedding day, a low-stress bride is a happy bride. When getting dressed, don’t get all the way through dressing before you allow your photographer to get some amazing portraits of you – we always recommend leaving your shoes, necklaces, earrings, and other finishing touches til the very very end – which allows us to get to a pretty location with great lighting for those last final details. I mean, who doesn’t love a killer shot of your mom helping your button your dress or putting on an inherited piece of jewelry?

12:30pm Bridal Portraits or First Look

We LOVE doing first looks with our couples! The First Look is when the bride and groom get to see each other before walking down the aisle together and in front of their families and friends.

The First Look is so special because its a moment so real and authentic, and shared with the love of your life (without 150 of your closest friends watching every second!). It’s a beautiful, fun, and relaxing moment when you can sit back and see each other, take a minute to adore one another, and get ready to take on the rest of the day.

12:50pm Traveling to the ceremony

Now, obviously your travel time will vary (if needed at all) but be sure to give yourself more than enough time. If you expect the trip to be 20 minutes, take 35. It’s better to be early and able to reflect with your groom or with your girls and family than be stressed out because of traffic.
And don’t forget – no wedding has ever started without the bride!

1:30pm Ceremony

All ceremonies will have their own unique “flavor” and lengths will vary. Typically though, a ceremony will take between 20 minutes and an hour.

2:00pm Receiving line and Family photos

Be sure to tell all family members and friends that you want involved in the family photos to stick around and not just jet off right after the ceremony. Also do take some time to plan out with your photographer who you want to have in the photos, and their relation to you. Small things like that make the day go so much smoother.

2:40pm Bridal party and couples photos (includes travel time to different locations)

If you can swing it, give yourself tons of time to take photos – we recommend at the least a solid hour of photographing time – so that you don’t end up rushed and overwhelmed trying to take photos at your photo location. Since the time of year, location, and time of day really effects light and how photographs need to be staged, work with your photographer in advance to plan the details. We also recommend sharing some type of inspiration mood board to get on the same page with each other 🙂

4:20pm Travel to reception site

5:00pm Cocktail houre

Go ‘head, have a drink and mingle – you deserve it!

6:00pm Bridal party introductions

Your DJ and wedding planner/coordinator will most likely give you a last-minute pep talk and rundown of how the introductions will go down, where you’ll walk in, to what music, etc. We always recommend a quick chat with the DJ or coordinator so that we (the photogs) are on the same page as well.

6:10pm Cake cutting

6:15pm Dinner

7:15pm Toasts

Toasts usually take around 20-25 minutes and will most likely include a toast by the father of the bride, best man, and maid of honor. Some couples also elect for the father of the groom to say a few words, or another close family friend.

7:45pm First dances

8:00pm Party!

This is just an example- but it does give you some idea into what the entire day entails and can look like. Your day may vary. You could have chosen to do the first look right after the bridal portrait (in all honesty we love when couples do this. We find it a tad more intimate!); you may not need as much travel time between ceremony, pictures, and reception because you may be staying in one spot; you may even have fun and creative things that you are adding to your day like a sparkler exit. This outline can at least give you a feel for overall flow- feel free to add, subtract, mix and match to make your time line unique!
We want to make sure couples are fully equipped with the right tools to create a seamless day- and that starts with planning our time line!
Happy planning!

We have found that because of that, a lot of people don’t know what a wedding timeline may look like. We thought it would be nice to give you a little insight into how your day may transpire.