Wedding Day Timeline

Don’t leave home without one!

Weddings are a bustling, jam packed day, with lots to do, and many different situations to consider. It’s probably the biggest event you will ever put together.

Yet, when I mentioned a timeline to a photographer friend not too long ago, I was stunned to hear them tell me that they just turn up at the agreed time, and shoot. Well, if you have booked a photographer for 8 hours, and you ask them to arrive in time for the ceremony at 2pm, then they will be shooting until 10pm. Right? It may be logical, but it leaves out an awful lot of important stuff. Let me elaborate.

I have always worked out a timeline with my clients, for every single wedding I have ever covered, and for every one I will cover. Why? Because if the bride intends to have a moment with her father right after getting dressed, I don’t want to miss it. When the bride puts on that antique necklace that belonged to her grandmother – that’s right, it’s a not to be missed moment. If I don’t have a timeline, then I will be winging it. Important details and events will be unknown. In my book, that’s irresponsible, and definitely not in my clients best interest.

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Consider another crucial point – the bride and groom have absolutely no idea how a wedding day flows, what challenges to expect, what is likely to hold things up, how long it takes to cover the formal images, how long the romantic images will take, how the size of the bridal party impacts timeline planning, when the best time to cut the cake is, etc, etc, etc. But I do. Surely, it is my responsibility to help my client, to make sure that things go as smoothly as possible. That’s why a timeline is so important.

The Wedding Planner.

Of course some couples have a wedding planner, and that will certainly remove a lot of wedding day stress. But here’s the thing, the time that I allow for certain images, and the time another photographer allows will be completely different, and you can’t expect the wedding planner to know your routine. If I want to spend an hour photographing beautiful, romantic bride and groom pictures, and the wedding planner allocates 20 minutes, I have a problem. If that scenario applies to several segments of the day, it will hugely impact what can be ultimately produced in the final product.

A wedding day timeline allows me to work out with a client exactly how they want their day to flow. Almost always, when discussing the details, things will change based on the information and experience that I provide to them. If I have a formal list from one bride comprising of 8 images, and another bride has a list of 20 images with many large groups, the time required will obviously be different.

The bride and groom will often spend more time with their photographer than they will with each other on the wedding day, at least that’s how it is in my business where the average day is about 10 hours. So who better to help create an accurate plan of action than the person attending weddings week after week, and bringing tons of experience to the table?

You should be able to trust your photographer to help immensely in putting together a detailed timeline, and it is best to have it all ironed out at least a month before the wedding day. If they don’t, or worse still, won’t, it may be time to ask some searching questions.

I may be a photographer, and not a wedding planner, but I am also morally bound to make sure that I do everything possible to ensure that my clients have a smooth and glitch free wedding day. The timeline is the blueprint for that, and better still, it’s a free service.

By Hugh Anderson.


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