You’ve done it – you’re engaged! Now comes the fun bit: busting out the scrapbooks and bringing that vision to life. Or maybe you were actually hoping to wrap it all up on a napkin over Sunday brunch? Either way, when it comes to a smooth execution, you don’t need to have the organisational skills of a Google Sheets wizard, you just need to follow a few simple rules. So how do you plan a stress-free wedding? There can be a lot of moving parts, but you’ll quickly find the support of a little structure will do wonders for your peace of mind. So, let’s dive in and learn how to craft the perfect stress-free wedding timeline!
Simply put, it’s a schedule to help you keep track of key moments throughout the day. The obvious benefit is that you’ll know what’s happening and when. Think of it like a second brain you’ve created to keep yours clear as everything blissfully unfurls around you.
You don’t need to go overboard (granular planning gets stressful, too!), just go for whatever balance that will put you at ease.
Here’s how a wedding planning timeline template could typically play out:
10 AM – Begin hair and makeup
2 PM – Get dressed
2:45 PM – Portraits
3:15 PM – VIPS leave for ceremony venue
4 PM – Ceremony begins
4:30 PM – Ceremony ends, travel to reception
5 PM – Cocktail Hour
6 PM – Guests enter reception
6:10 PM – Newlyweds enter for first dance
6:30 PM – Dinner
7:15 PM – Speeches
8:30 PM – Cake cutting
8:40 PM – Party time
10:55 PM – Last dance
11:00 PM – End
There are tons of similar wedding timeline examples across the web, so simply tweak to fit your weddings vibe and voila!
When it comes to photos, you can weave in the ops when and however you like. As a general guide, I often share this timeline with my clients to help bring those Hallmark moments candidly into frame (pun totally intended!). You can also catch me in action through my portfolio here.
Your preparation time will include everything leading up to the ceremony for you, your partner and your wedding party. Hair on point, makeup glowing, and pre-matrimony rags ditched for dazzling attire.
Some things that could be worth noting;
Ceremonies can run anywhere between 10 minutes to 2 hours. Depending on preference, yours could sit at either end or nicely in between. You may find that, once considering all the elements you’d like to involve, the length will simply reveal itself. Be sure to also take into account the size of your wedding party and any traditions.
Photos can be taken in one go or segmented throughout the day. It all depends on you, your venue, and the photography plan you decide to go with. If first looks are on the agenda, for example, you’d need to allocate some time around the pre-ceremony. Large group photos, on the other hand, are best taken after. More flexible moments like wedding party photos can swing whichever way you please.
Some common types of photos worth considering are –
Hectic, but memorable. Location, time and size can play a factor in the practicality of the full-squad shot. Note: If doable, logical and desired, large group photos are worth scheduling directly after the ceremony, before we squeeze all the toothpaste out the tube.
The cherished family photo is a big one for newlyweds. Grab the grandparents, the troublesome nieces and nephews, and all the rest of your dolled-up loved ones. Communication is how to plan family photos at your wedding. Just be sure to give them all a nudge with the whens and wheres ahead of time. Nobody wants to be across the way with a face full of cake for a picture this precious.
Now, it’s time for some fun! Your family, best friends and loved ones can fully loosen up and let their personality shine. Bring those special moments that make your friends a unit and your family so lovably embarrassing. In-jokes and quirks can wreak havoc among silly matching accessories. Why not even pop open a bottle of Champagne? Get creative, be yourself and let the vibes shine naturally through the lens.
When to plan couples photos during wedding days could be either or both sides of the ceremony. It’s a particularly special time for you and your new life partner to grab a breather and for some beautiful shots of just the two of you. Relax, and just be together. But just like your wedding party photos, there’s plenty of opportunity to get some laughs in and capture both the adoring and playful sides of each other.
Whoop – time to party! Let loose, have fun, dance, eat, and enjoy time with all your loved ones. They’re all there to celebrate the start of this new chapter in your life. Somewhere around the cheers, there are also a few timeline pointers worth pegging. They might apply to you, your photographer or the venue. Be mindful of things like wrap-up times, and where the right people should be when it’s time for speeches.
Some things you may want to include in this part of your timeline include:
A couple other great moments you may fancy including could be the golden hour couples shoot, like sunset photos, and your farewell send-off at the end of the night.
A sure-fire solution for how to craft the perfect stress-free wedding timeline is to be certain you’ve left no stone unturned when exploring the options. Not sure which photo package is the right fit? Check out my super-thumbable selection here.
Some things to remember about planning from your friendly wedding photographer in Melbourne:
And that’s all there is to it. How to create a stress-free wedding timeline, demystified. Just remember: an optimal and easy wedding day timeline is the one you feel most comfortable with. And so long as your photography is in good hands, you can soak up the atmosphere to its magical fullest. In the meantime, you can fire any questions or convo-starters over here and I’d be delighted to say hello!