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Guest Post: Whiskey and White Events!

Today I am excited to share a guest post from Emily King of Whiskey and White Events!  I have touched on why we believe timelines are so important and today Emily is going to break down how to create a perfect timeline for your wedding day!  Here are her tips!

How to Create a Timeline to get the Best Photos?

Creating an intentional and detailed timeline for your wedding day is a game changer. It allows you, your fiancé, family and friends involved in your wedding and your team of vendors to know exactly how your wedding day will flow. This helps to prepare everyone for their roles in your day and provides structure and calm to what could be a hectic mess.

I understand that your wedding in an investment and to me the thing that you truly take away from your wedding, besides the marriage, are the photos. Making sure that you and your fiancé have thoughtful opportunities in your timeline to provide your wedding photographer with the chance to capture those moments is important. I infuse that personal philosophy into my approach when creating timelines with clients.

Where do I start?

I suggest that you start with designating your ceremony time. If you already know this then great! If you are unsure, no worries, I will help you figure that out.

I like to use the app Rise – The Sunrise and Sunset Calendar, (only compatible with iOS) to help me determine when the sun will set on a particular date. Using this app find out when the sun will set on your wedding day.

Example: September 16th, 2017 the sun will set at 7:20 pm and the last light will be at 8:16 pm.

From there I work backwards to determine your ceremony time. I typically will set the ceremony time an hour and a half to two hours before sunset. Arranging it this way gives you 30 minutes for your ceremony and then an hour to take pictures during the golden hour of light, before heading in to your wedding after cocktail hour. The full hour isn’t typically be used for couple’s photos, as family formals are normally taken after the ceremony, but it gives you the greatest opportunity to take as many couple focused photos during a time when the light is amazing.

If you are planning on a first look then you can set the ceremony time based on when you want it or if you are getting married in the winter, during the golden hour since the sun sets so early in the day. Working with your wedding photographer and wedding planner to create a thoughtful timeline is important especially if you are feeling confused.

What’s Next?

After photos, typically couples enter into their reception with an introduction of them as husband and wife with their wedding party accompanying them.

Here’s how it might look on your timeline: Example for Sept. 16th, 2017 knowing the sunsets at 7:20 pm

6:00 pm – Ceremony Starts

6:30 pm – Ceremony Ends

– Cocktail Hour Begins

6:35 pm – 6:50 pm – Family Formal Photos

6:50 pm – Bride and Groom have couples photos

7:20 pm – Sunset

7:25 pm – Bride, Groom and Wedding Party Line up for Introductions

7:30 – Cocktail Hour Ends

– Introductions

Before of the Wedding

After determining the ceremony time, I work on creating the schedule of the morning before the ceremony. This will help ladies to determine when to start hair and makeup and will tell you when to schedule transportation, if you are using it.

Working backwards from the ceremony time helps to provide a realistic schedule for the morning. Guests start to arrive 30 minutes before the ceremony starts. If you want to be tucked away so as not to be seen, make sure that you are in your pre-ceremony space before guests arrive.

Travel time is important and will affect your morning schedule greatly, especially if you have a long distance between where you are staying and your ceremony site. For the purpose of this example I will assume that the couple is getting ready at a hotel not far from the venue. When you add travel time always include an extra 10 minutes of cushion because people may take longer to pack up their things in the hotel, or get downstairs and into the vehicle, or there could be traffic and road closures.

You will work with your wedding photographer to determine when you are going to be taking your pictures with your wedding party. This could be before the ceremony or when you arrive at the venue. It really, just depends on timing and location.

Your schedule will start to look like this:

3:30 pm – Photographers starts taking pictures of Bride & Groom getting Ready

4:20 pm – Bride & Bridal Party Leave Hotel

4:45 pm – Bride & Bridal Party Arrive at Venue

-Photographer takes photos of Bridal Party

5:20 pm – Bride & Bridal Party are hidden away from guests

5:30 pm – Guests Arrive

6:00 pm – Ceremony Starts

Ladies Hair and Makeup

You will want your photographer to arrive as you are at the tail end of getting the group’s makeup done. The Bride should already have her makeup on and hair done and should get pictures of the makeup artist “touching up” her face. All of these shots are optional they are just situations that are requested most by my clients and that’s why I’m including them.

When you are creating your timeline for your groups hair and makeup consider that per person, per service, bridesmaids and moms should take 45 minutes and the Bride will take an hour. (Include more time if your service is complicated or if you need significantly more done, like your hair needs to be relaxed and then styled.)

We suggest that you create and print out a schedule for your group’s hair and makeup. This is because on the morning of your wedding no one will want to go first, but you need to start on time and a schedule takes the guess work out of who is going first and helps you from falling behind.

Here is a look at what your full schedule is currently looking like:

8:00 am – Breakfast

9:30 am – All Ladies Arrive at Brides Suite

10:15 am – Hair and Make-up Arrive at Hotel

10:30 am – Hair and Make-up Start – 4 bridesmaids, 1 bride, 1 mom

12:30 pm – Bride Dad brings Lunch for Everyone in Bridal Suite

3:15 pm – Hair and Make-up Ends

3:30 pm – Photographers  Starts taking pictures of Bride & Groom getting Ready

4:20 pm – Bride & Bridal Party Leave Hotel

4:45 pm – Bride & Bridal Party Arrive at Venue

– photos taken of bridal party

5:20 pm – Bride & Bridal Party are hidden away from guests

5:30 pm – Guests Arrive

6:00 pm – Ceremony Starts

6:30 pm – Ceremony Ends

– Cocktail Hour Begins

6:35 pm – 6:50 pm – Family Formal Photos

6:50 pm – Bride and Groom have couples photos

7:20 pm – Sunset

7:25 pm – Bride, Groom and Wedding Party Line up for Introductions

Jump Back to Reception

After the cocktail hour typically, the bride and groom, their wedding party, and maybe their parents are a part of the formal introduction into the reception. Some clients have felt like this is outdated and have just walked in themselves as husband and wife, or haven’t done an introduction at all. It’s a personal decision for your wedding, so do what you feel is important to you and your fiancé.

After introductions, while everyone is standing in front of your DJ or Band you have several options for what you can do:

  1. Have your first Dance
  2. Have your Father/Daughter Dance & Mother/Son Dance
  3. Bride and Groom say a welcome and thank you to their guests for coming
  4. The Father of the bride says a welcome to the guests
  5. Someone says a blessing over the food

My suggestion is not to do all of these at once because it will become very long and you and your guests are hungry and ready for dinner. To me the perfect combination is to have your first dance and then the bride and groom say a welcome and thank you to their guests. I also really like it when a grandparent or family friend says a blessing, it’s a nice way to include someone important to you that typically doesn’t have an official role in a wedding day.

Then you have dinner service. The size of your guest list will determine how long your dinner service will be. If you have a guest list of 150 you should expect it take 10 to 30 minutes for your guests to get their food and then 30 minutes for them to eat their food.

I like to add toasts into the timeline right after all your guests have gotten their food. If you are doing buffet style service this is after the last person has gone through the buffet. If it’s a station style it’s when your guests have gotten a few plates and are happy at their tables.

After toasts then you incorporate the things that you didn’t have the time for before dinner. This could be dancing with your parents or saying a thank you to your guests. This is not a hard and fast way to do any of your timeline, you can certainly make the flow of the evening what you feel is right for you.

Then you Party! There is normally a cake cutting in the middle of the night. If you have a band, I suggest that you do the cake cutting during their break and play a pre-made playlist in the background. The cake cutting is really the last structured element of the night before the end of the wedding. Obviously there may be something special that you add in there, but this is typically where you can stop worrying about what’s next and have a great time.

Your Reception Timeline will look like this:

6:00 pm – Ceremony Starts

6:30 pm – Ceremony Ends

– Cocktail Hour Begins

6:35 pm – 6:50 pm – Family Formal Photos

6:50 pm – Bride and Groom have couple’s photos

7:20 pm – Sunset

7:25 pm – Bride, Groom and Wedding Party Line up for Introductions

– DJ or Band Leader will come and confirm names and order of those lined up

7:35 pm – Introductions

7:40 pm – First Dance & Welcome to Guests

7:45 pm – Blessing

– Start of food service

8:30 pm – Toasts

8:45 pm – Father/Daughter & Mother Son Dance

8:52 pm – PARTY!!!

9:45 pm – Cake Cutting

12:00 pm – Party Over

As you go through this you might say, “dinner is kind of late” and that would be true. The dinner service for this timeline is a little later than I would typically suggest, so what you could do is change the ceremony time to 5:30 and shift everything 30 minutes early. Some people might not care that they eat around 8 and that’s totally fine. Consider the end time of your event and the overall experience that you want to provide for your guests. Every couple has a different situation and goal for their big day and that uniqueness should be considered when making your timeline.

Here are two sample timelines!

Reaching out to your wedding planner and your wedding photographer to help you craft the most ideal timeline for you to get amazing photos and to have an epic reception, their input will make all the difference. I hope this helps you create a wonderful wedding day that reflects your love together as a couple!

 

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  1. Jesi says:

    This is such a great post!! I love all the details about how to create a timeline!

  2. Cinnamon says:

    So incredibly helpful to so many brides and grooms looking to plan their timeline! Great read!

  3. Stefani says:

    Such important information, great post!!

  4. Great tips on timelines!

  5. Excellent post! This is great information.

  6. Meredith says:

    I love that you are blogging about this . . one of my least fave things to deal with is timeline but it is the most important.

  7. Mindy says:

    Wonderful post. SO many brides will find this helpful.

  8. Holly says:

    Great tips! Timelines are so important to helping a day run smoothly!

  9. joanna says:

    Thanks for sharing a good timeline is so important for a non-stressful day!

  10. Misty says:

    These tips are great!! I like using sunrisesunset.com to figure out the sunset time!

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