5 Must Have Tips For Your Wedding Day Timeline

Ohh, the wedding day timeline. Its something you may be putting off until the final weeks leading up to the big day for several reasons. One, because it's certainly not the most fun part of the planning process, and two, it sounds simple enough, right? Not so much! Us planners can tell the difference between a thorough and realistic wedding day timeline versus those which could potentially cause major wedding day hiccups.

Given that photography plays a major role over the course of the entire wedding day, I've asked some of the DC area's best wedding photographers for their tips on timelines to give you insight from both a planner and photographer's perspective. Read on to learn five must have tips to ensure your timeline is on point for the big day!

 
Dyanna LaMora Wedding Day Timeline
 

1. You need ONE master timeline

Decide early on which of your vendors is going to prepare your master timeline. Ideally, it should be your wedding planner working in conjunction with your photographer - someone who is going to manage your day from the moment you begin hair and makeup to the last dance at the end of the reception. I have seen brides with different timelines from their photographer, their venue, their caterer and their DJ and while it's great to have all this help, too many cooks in the kitchen can be a recipe for disaster! Think about it - if one vendor's timeline is even 10 minutes off from someone else's, it will cause a domino effect of a delay that trickles down for your entire day. This is why it's super important to have one timeline, and to share and review that timeline with your vendor team to ensure everyone is on the exact same page. For all of my clients, whether Event Management or Full Planning, I review the timeline in detail with each vendor and receive their input before finalizing. 

Wedding Timeline Tips Maryland Wedding Planner

2. Be generous with time for dress and prep 

Once your hair and makeup is complete, you will need to figure in a block of time for getting on your dress. To help get a realistic estimate, I suggest timing how long it takes to get your dress and shoes on at your final dress fitting appointment; then add sufficient time for bridal portraits on top of that. Bonnie, of Bonnie Sen Photography shared, "the most common mistake is not leaving some time for bridal portraits and putting on the dress. I like to draw it out to 30 to 45 minutes to include some posed photos of just the bride before seeing anyone."

Photographer Dyanna LaMora pointed out the importance of allowing enough prep time for your bridesmaids, as well. "Make sure you leave extra room for the bride and all her bridesmaids to get ready in the morning. If the girls run late with hair and makeup, the whole day can go off schedule and there will be less time for photos."

Maryland Wedding Planner Timeline Tips

3. Determine the sunset time

If you plan to do any wedding photos outdoors, its important to include the sunset time in your timeline. This will help guide the best time in terms of lighting for newlywed and wedding party photos. Bonnie recommends outdoor photos take place 30 minutes before sunset in the city, or 15 minutes before sunset in an open landscape. 

Depending on your wedding month, the sunset time will also help determine when your ceremony should begin and end, to allow your photographer enough time to capture those sought after golden hour photos! 

4. Know the length of toasts in advance 

Be sure to ask your best man, maid of honor, or anyone else giving a toast to time it out so you can include this in your timeline. Better yet, give your wedding toasters a time limit to keep their speeches under! Three to five minutes per speaker is ideal. There's nothing that throws your timeline off more than a speech or surprise photo slide show presentation at a wedding that lasts for 45 minutes; and yes, it happens all the time! Communicating expectations with everyone involved in your wedding day, especially those speaking, is key to managing your timeline. 

5. Leave sufficient time for newlywed and group photos 

Many couples underestimate the time it takes to capture newlywed, family and wedding party photos. The more generous you are with your photo time, the better! Dyanna suggests, "60 minutes for bride and groom, 30 minutes for bridal party, and 30 minutes for family formals is ideal." In many cases, you can manage this time by doing a first look and having your wedding party photos taken BEFORE the ceremony, then newlywed and family photos taken after the ceremony during cocktail hour. 

I hope these tips are helpful!  What  other timeline tips or questions do you have? Let us know  the comments below!

Images:  Dyanna LaMora & Dani Leigh Photography

What can a wedding planner do for you?

Today I'm covering a common question that most brides-to-be will contemplate soon after getting engaged. What do wedding planners actually do? Couldn't I just handle it myself? Here's some real tips and advice on what to expect during the planning process to help you decide whether hiring a professional is the best choice for you. 

Time is money

When it comes to weddings, this is not just a saying. You better believe it's the truth! According to The Wedding Report's 2015 market summary for the DC metropolitan area, there were a total of 35,909 weddings with an average total cost of $37,633. Say your event is a total of 6 hours long, then we can break that down to an average investment of $6,272.17 per hour. Like most big purchases, you want to make sure that you are getting the best services in return for your money. As a wedding planner, we are constantly networking with vendors and we make sure that we work with only the best - because our vendor referrals are a reflection of us, too! We also know which vendors are best suited to fit your style and budget, saving you tons of time and stress trying to figure it out on your own. For instance, if you told me you were having an Al Fresco style dinner reception in Baltimore with a floral budget of $3,000 I could whip out at least two amazing florists for you with photos and contact information, without you having to get online and research a thing. You should also take into consideration the time off work and used vacation days a planner can save you by coordinating with vendors on your behalf. 

Additionally, you will want to make the most of those pricey 5-6 hours of your life - why waste a precious minute on a potential mishap? Having a planner behind you is a safety net ensuring any issues that arise do not interfere with you or your guests' time. We make sure that your set-up and decor is on point, the lighting is perfection, the wedding party is lined up for the ceremony and ready on-cue, and we work with all of your vendors to keep your timeline on track. While you're dancing the night away and mingling with guests, you can count on your planner to direct you when it's time for speeches, cake cutting, and the bouquet toss. 

Knowledge (and a planner) is power

A CalPoly State University study found that that consistently weddings continue to rank seventh (7th) among 43 major stressful life events, and as a wedding planner that figure is not surprising to me at all. I will assure you, however, that it will be worth it in the end. You'll most likely think that to yourself during your first look or when you and your fiancé lock eyes coming down the aisle. But, before that happens, some level of stress is inevitable. There are so many moving parts to bringing a wedding together and countless decisions you will have to make: venue, catering, bar options, floral arrangements, guest lists, budgeting, honeymoon planning just to name a few. Without a planner, I promise you that it will become a second full-time job (assuming you and your fiancé already work full-time). Even more-so if you are planning from a distance, or have less than a year.

While our family and friends mean well, it's not uncommon for mothers, bridesmaids, and in-laws to push their opinions on you - making it even more difficult to finalize all of those decisions. I can't tell you how beneficial it is to have an un-biased resource to help you make these decisions; someone who knows the industry, knows what works and what doesn't, and is looking out for your best interests. 

Venue staff are not the same as planners or day-of coordinators

This is a very common misconception, one that I learned the hard way while planning my own wedding. Most likely, your venue will provide you with a point-of-contact person for your event, however you should not assume that they will take on the role of a planner. Venue staff work for the venue, while planners work for the couple. While some may have the title "event coordinator" they are usually present to ensure that you are complying with the venue's rules, keep track of what vendors are working on the property, and ensure that your guests and vendors respect the property during the event. If your venue staff offers to help with day-of coordination, find out specifically and to what extent they are willing to help you out (early on) so you can hire a planner if need-be. 

In other cases, family and friends may offer to help out, but I recommend against this. Once someone is working at your wedding, they are no longer a guest. Keep in mind that the event will be about 6 hours and it will fly by faster than you can imagine - do you really want someone important to you to be working for any portion of your special day, instead of celebrating by your side? 

To sum up, hiring a wedding planner is always going to be beneficial for your big day. For at least one day, you should let go of all worries and let us take over. You deserve it, and more than anything else, it will allow you and your fiancé to focus on each other and fully ENJOY this amazing time in your lives together. 

Xo,

Sarah 

 

Source: http://www.skbevents.com/blog/wedding-plan...