My Turn to be a Bride | What I Learned from My Wedding | Timeline for Your Wedding Day | Akron Ohio Wedding Photographer

September 12, 2014

My Turn to be a Bride | What I Learned from My Wedding | Timeline for Your Wedding Day

I am a very organized person, some days to the point that I think I should be diagnosised with OCD. So when it came to the timeline of my wedding day, I knew that was something that I wanted to make sure was as perfect as it could get. I knew that if the timeline was organized and events went as they should, the day would be stress-FREE, meaning that I would be a carefree Bride. And a carefree Bride means a RELAXED, HAPPY Bride!! I’m happy to say, no Bridezilla appeared on July 18th 😉

About a month and half before my wedding I drafted a timeline. There were a couple things that I already knew needed to be addressed.

1-Hair ALWAYS runs over, so plan for plenty of time for ALL of your girls. We planned to start early, and for a total of six of us getting hair done, I had two stylists. I went first so pictures weren’t waiting on the Bride, and my MOH went second. I knew that it would be an average of 30 minutes just for curls, and 45 minutes A PERSON if someone wanted an updo. I also found a stylist that came to me. This made my day even more stressfree knowing that once I was at my venue, I was there for the whole day, ready for it start. There’s nothing worse then being the photographer, waiting at the venue for over an hour for your Bride and her Maids to show up, cutting into portrait time because hair ran over. That does not make for a stree-free day.


How care-free do I look here?!?! 😉

2 – One of the biggest time issues I was concerned about was making sure that I would have PLENTY of photos of Josh and I. And when I say “plenty”, I mean plaster my house, going to need a 3rd and 4th part-time job, how do I order my wedding photos in wallpaper – “plenty”. So aside from our first look photos, I planned for a solid hour of just Josh and I. Our Wedding Day was about US. The love that WE share. Why wouldn’t I want to give the best photographer I know ample time to capture the love we have for one another? Brides – please do yourself a favor. Give your photographer more than 20 minutes for Bridal Portraits. This is the time of the day where it seems like there’s not enough time. Family formals and Bridal Party eats up a lot of time, OR, the Bride just doesn’t think about how much time she REALLY needs inbetween Ceremony and Reception. That hour meant that we could explore the area around our venue. We really had five different backdrops for our wedding photos. And man, am I ever so happy that I gave Kaitlin and Chris that hour. Check out how beautiful these photos are. Even after 9 weeks of Marriage to my best friend, I don’t have a single photo that’s a favorite.


3 – Family Formals. Josh and I have four families. Our family is HUGE. I’m talking so big that when Kaitlin wanted the big group to seperate to just immeditate family, that’s honest to god all that was standing there. Check it out.


To combat with such a large family, I set aside an hour just for family formals. Ridiculous, I know, but when’s the next time I’m going to be wearing a white gown, my husband in a TIE, and our family dressed to the nines?! THERE WON’T BE! So Brides, here’s a couple pointers on making sure you get the family shots you want!

A – Have a list of shots ready and give it to your MOH. If your MOH is a sister who will be in the pictures, give it to a Bridesmaid who won’t be. Even with an hour of photos, I still missed family shots because I didn’t do this. I do not have a single picture of me, Josh, my mom, stepdad, brother and sister together. That breaks my heart. I have joked that I’m going to learn photoshop enough that I can photoshop Josh into the picture, but that’s against copyright laws, and I adore Kaitlin far too much to do that.


B. If you have a big family like we do, tell everyone they need to be ready earlier then they really do for those who are ALWAYS late! In my case, our family formals were to start at 4 – I told everyone to be at the barn by 3:45. When we were ready to start shooting, EVERYONE was there for our massive family photo!

C. Because I know what it feels like to miss family shots (my fault – didn’t give my MOH that shot list…), give your photographer plenty of time to get the photos YOU want. If you and your husband-to-be have smaller families, 20 minutes may do. But if you have large families, ask your photographer how much time they think you need. However, you need to remember that if you’re on a strict timeline, this will cut into other photo time. Or, you could always start your day sooner. Josh and I had plenty of time for family photos because we did a First Look and started early in the day. If a First Look is not an option, and you’re still crunched for time, consider limiting your Family photos to just ten poses. For Josh and I, this wasn’t acceptable. Well, mostly for me. Josh isn’t a fan of having his photo taken.

I’m really close with my family and wanted all kinds of photos taken. Enjoy some of the family formals that I alloted enough time to be taken!

These are my crazy Uncles. The one on the left – Peter (or Petey-pooh), we’re only nine years apart, so he’s more like my big brother, and I was the annoying, PAIN in his you-know-what little sister. And the Uncle on the right is Todd (or Toddy), who taught me how to do flips in my grandparents pool off his shoulders, and attempted to teach me how to ski. I love these two soo much, so it was very important to me to have photos with both of them!
When Josh’s Brother got married last Septemer, I took this same photo. So I thought it only necessary to recreate it again at our Wedding. I really hope Chelsea will let me have her brothers kiss her one more time at her wedding! 😉
And this is my GREAT Grandfather. Yes, you read that right, GREAT! I’m 25 and still have a GREAT Grandparent alive. I will FOREVER cherish this photo!

4. Speaking of the first look – if you don’t know what one is, check out the blog post about it here. Aside from the super romantic, intimate time you get to spend with your soon-to-be Husband, you also can get ALLLLL of your photos done before the Ceremony. This means that your guests wont be waiting two plus hours to eat. When you have happy guests, you have a FUN party!!

So…What would a “typical” timeline for a Wedding Day look like? I’ll give you my timeline with a little variation in it since (probably) most of you don’t have the massive family Josh and I do.

10:00 AM – Hair (Remember, my amazeballs stylist came to ME! So there was no drive time for my girls and I from her Salon to our Venue)
1:30 PM – Details – I’ll explain this more in detail below
2:15 PM – Bride getting in her dress
2:30 PM – Just the Bride photos
2:45 PM – First look
3:00 PM – Bride and Groom Photos
3:45 PM – Bridal Party
4:30 PM – Family Formals
5:00 PM – Bride goes in Hiding
5:30 PM – Ceremony
6:00 PM – Post Ceremony Photos
6:30 PM – Intro to Reception, Toasts, Prayer
7:00 PM – EAT
7:45 PM – Cake Cutting
8:00 PM – Formal Dances (First Dance, Parent Dance, Bouquet and Garter. Allot extra time if you decide to do a dollar dance)

Now – as far as details go. Your photographer is going to have a busy day, as well. By the end of it, their feet are going to be swore, back aching, and probably a killer headache carrying all the equipment around all day. But trust me, it’s worth it to capture your Story. Make your photographer’s job that a little bit easier by having all your details ready. This could be (BUT are not limited to),

RINGS – Your MOH should have all three rings (Your engagement ring, and both wedding bands)
Garter (if you’re doing a garter)
Jewelry you’re wearing that day
Fancy perfume bottle
And any other details that are sentimental to you. Your photographer isn’t going to be able to read your mind, so if there is something you want pictures taken of, a family heirlome, or an extremely crafty cake topper, TELL THEM!

Here’s my detail shots

Yes, that IS Josh, myself, and our two huskies. Thank you Greetings From Mars for the awesome cake topper!
My Mom is quite the artist. She drew that tree for Josh and I 🙂

So to wrap this up, only a couple more pieces of advice.

Meet with your photographer no later than a month before the wedding to set up the timeline. Keep in mind, it’s best to meet with them before you give your cateror a time for dinner. Remember – you want more than 20 minutes of photos of you and your new husband if you’re NOT doing a first look. If you’ve hired a seasoned professional, they’ll be able to guide you in the right direction. Once you have the timeline figured out, type it up and send it to your bridal party, your families, AND your vendors. The Venue is probably going to ask any way for a timeline, but if it’s organized and to them before they ask, it makes you look like you’re a cool, calm, and collected Bride. A win for you!

Remember, your Wedding Day is going to be the best day of your life. Enjoy it, get that timeline done long before hand so you can be stress-free, therefore CARE-free!

Hope this post helps you out with your timeline! But please remember, no two timelines are going to be the same. Every wedding day will go a little differently!

  1. […] weeks after I got married, I wrote a blog post on wedding timelines, and what’s important to think about when figuring out your timeline.  It perfectly spells […]

  2. […] you’re interested in reading more about timelines, checkout this blog that I wrote after I got […]

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