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

Everything You Need For Your Wedding Day Emergency Kit

Miniemergency Kit, via BHLDN.com

Miniemergency Kit, via BHLDN.com

Whether you have, or are going to be a bride or bridesmaid, chances are you have heard of a wedding day emergency kit aka wedding day survival kit. While there are plenty of prepared emergency kits for purchase out there, today I'm sharing a list of all of the essentials to include should you decide to put together a kit of your own (or be an extra awesome bridesmaid or MOH and make one as a gift!).

Without further ado, here is our carefully curated list of everything you will need to be perfectly photo ready and armed for any potential mishaps for the entirety of your big day!

1. Shout Wipes. These instant stain removers will do the trick if anything gets onto your dress during the night. From a bride that got lipstick on my gown, right before going down the aisle when my maids were helping lift my dress to use the restroom, trust me and keep at least 5 of these in your kit! 

2. Dental Floss. A must, especially after dinner or cocktail hour to keep your pretty smile perfectly clean for all those wedding day photos. Remember, your professional photographers' camera will pick up every little detail! 

3. Mini Pack of Tissues. Weddings and tears of joy go hand in hand. 

4. Oil Blotting Sheets. Perfect for nabbing extra shine or sweat throughout the night without smudging your make-up. 

5. Mini Nail File & Clear Polish. Chipped nails can be mended in an instant for all those ring close ups. 

6. Mini Sewing Kit. Grab a kit with a little pair of scissors, safety pins, needle and thread to mend any potential wardrobe malfunctions. 

7. Bobby Pins. Whether your hairstyle falls a little out of place on the dance floor or falls loose through the course of the day, these are great to have on hand. 

8. Double Stick Fashion Tape. The best solution for securing clothing into place or quickly hemming a fabric tear in an emergency. 

9. Advil (Or Pain Reliever Of Your Choice). Even if you don't need it on your wedding day, you will be happy that you brought some along the next morning! 

10. Breath Mints. Always a good idea considering you will be giving lots of kisses and having close range conversations. 

11. Band-Aids. Whether you get blisters from dancing or a wedding party member needs one while getting ready, these are great to have on hand. 

12. Hairspray. Chances are your hairdresser won't be by your side the whole night, so keep a travel size bottle in your kit to keep your hair style fresh and in place all night long. 

13. Heel Stoppers. A must if your ceremony or reception is taking place outdoors. Just pop these little heel protectors on to prevent your heels from sinking in the grass (extra bonus - they help keep your heels clean, as well!). TheSolemates.com

14. Tweezers. Just in case you need to nab a stray hair or repair a small piece of jewelry.

15. Antacid. The last thing you want to deal with is an upset stomach on your big day! 

Bonus hack! Make sure that your bar/beverage service area is stocked with soda water. In the unlikely, but possible event that red wine/dark liquid spills on your dress, soda water is the magic ingredient to get it out right away! 

What emergency items saved you on your wedding day? Let us know in the comments below!