Wedding industry pros have a little saying:
"If everything is running on time, it's not a wedding!"
And that's true! Weddings are complicated and inevitably, not every little detail is going to happen the minute that it's planned on your timeline. And that's completely fine! You really shouldn't be stressing about the timeline on the big day. You want to relax and experience your wedding in all it's magical glory! That's why it's important to plan ahead. Here are the three problem areas that can really throw a wrench into a wedding schedule, creating major delays, rather than typical hold-ups.
1. the getting-ready pit
I've mentioned before that you (as the bride) need ideally 2 hours for the "getting ready" stage of your photography coverage. Why is that?
Getting ready, actually includes a lot of different types of photography:
details - lay-flat scapes that show off gorgeous invitations, floral details, and your rings
photojournalism - you laughing and having a good time with your girls, your mom getting teary-eyed as she puts on your veil
PORTRAITS - this is the big one. Makeup and hair tend to run a little over when it comes to the timeline. That's ok, but think about how that can really suck up your time for bridal portraits.
If you're hair and make-up finishes 30 minutes past the allotted endtime, that's 30 min away from several of those time slots (photojournalism and portraits). The last thing you want to do is try to rush portraits. You'll feel more tense and that will show through in your images.
How do you avoid the getting-ready sand trap? Don't schedule your hair and make-up at the end of the session. It's a common misconception that the bride's hair and makeup should be done last so that she "looks the freshest." With today's amazing artists, that's not an issue. An extra hour really shouldn't make the difference between your waves going flat or your smokey eye fading. Front load your coverage. If I've said it once, I'll say it a thousand times :) You need this time prior to the ceremony, more than you need another picture of uncle John cutting a rug on the dancefloor. Give yourself those glorious 2 hours to deal with surprise delays during the getting ready phase.
2. the family photo pit
If you're doing an elopement or only have a few people in your family, this might not be one you have to watch out for. But most people have at least a few family members on each side.
The scheduled time for formal family shots can really go over-budget on the timeline because it requires so many people to be at a certain place at a certain time. And that time can be a moving target! (If you're getting ready time segment changes :) And if kiddo's are involved...well :) all us moms out there know that EVERYTHING takes longer when you add in a few toddlers.
How do you side-step the family photo time-sucker? Having a first look really helps :) Remember a few weeks ago when I wrote about how timeline friendly the first look is? This is where it really helps. If you've already seen your hubby-to-be, you can get the families together all in one place and knock out the pictures before the ceremony. Kids won't be as tired, family member will be on time because they have to show up before the wedding anyway! WIN WIN!
Another trick is to tell your chronically late family member to arrive 20 min BEFORE the actual scheduled time slot :) Tricky? Yes! But oh-so helpful for your timeline.
3. the bridal party pit
Time can slip away when you're trying to get that Vogue worthy bride tribe image as well. Why? Think back to the getting ready timeline. All of your ladies have to have their hair and make-up done prior to taking this shot. So if you want to get it before ceremony, and before family pictures, the hair and makeup team has to have them done at the latest, during your portrait session. If you're not having a first look, you'll need to get the bridal party (bridesmaids and groomsmen) together after the ceremony. The issue here is that people tend to drift off to cocktail hour after the I-do's, and if one member is missing, you can't get that group shot.
How to breeze past this particular time trap? Did I mention the first look? 😆 Getting the party together prior to ceremony lets you side step this one! No running off to find your maid of honor or best man and pull them back to the photo session, no wasting couple's portrait time!
If I STILL haven't sold you on the first look, be sure you get seperate group shots (groom with groomsmen, and bride with bridesmaids) prior to the ceremony. You'll still need to capture the big group shot, but at least these will be out of the way.
BIGGEST TIP FOR AVOIDING TIMELINE TRAPS:
If you're thinking all this is a bit much, you're right! It is. Weddings and their planning aren't for the faint of heart! That's why I strongly suggest getting a planner. Even if you decide to just do a day-of coordinator, they can look over the timeline for you! And help you avoid all these annoying time-sappers!