Keeping Your Wedding Timeline on Time!

September 16, 2020

Why would a wedding timeline get off Schedule?

After actively being at over 100 weddings, I have seen even the most prepared brides’ wedding timeline get off track.  

You plan and you prep, but something still goes wrong. Why does this happen? 

I will share the top reasons I have seen a wedding timeline get weird and why it happens. 

Hair and Makeup

The most typical way I have seen a timeline go bad was due to hair and makeup running late. This is usually the most difficult timeline to get back on track. Hair and makeup are the first things being done on the wedding day. If they start to run late, then the entire wedding day will run late. If hair and makeup is late, even on the bridesmaids, then the photographer has to wait to get everyone dressed for pictures. 

I have listed a few tricks I share with my brides to help keep them on schedule. Make sure you share your photography timeline with your Hair and Makeup Artists. I would even tell them that you need to be finished for pictures 30 minutes before the listed time frame. I would rather have everyone done and waiting to start pictures, than everyone waiting on one bridesmaid to finish up. My best suggestion is for the mother of the bride, the maid of honor, and the bride to have their hair and makeup done first. I know that everyone typically says to save the bride for last, but I actually suggest that you save the bride for second last. I would even have her get her hair and makeup done in the middle of everyone else. I prefer to have the bride, her maid of honor, and her mom all ready for pictures first, that way if there is one bridesmaid still finishing up, we can start getting the bride in her dress. This way, if the time does start to slip away from us, we can make up time while getting the bride ready. Then the other girls are finished with hair and makeup, they can put their dresses on faster.  

Makeup By Kara B Beauty – MetaNewYork

Putting on the Dress

I think a lot of brides underestimate the time it actually takes them to get into their dress and apply all of their accessories. Some dresses are more complicated than others. I would suggest doing a dry run with the people who are going to be helping you the day of. Ask your mom to practice buttoning the back of your dress before the wedding day. One thing that always happens is either mom can’t see the buttons well or she just needs help getting the back of the dress on right. Make sure all of your accessories are easy to put on and all gathered in the same location. I see many people struggle with the back of earrings or necklace clamps. Again, have a dry run with these items too. 

Limo’s and Driving

Many people use one limo now for wedding days. They will have the limo bring the men to the ceremony and then come back and take the ladies. Which is a great way to keep the cost down and I am all for it. Many times people underestimate just how much time they might need to get this done. One thing to keep in mind is the time of day you will be leaving. Do not forget to count for rush hour traffic. Another thing to keep in mind is the season. If you live on Long Island, I think everyone knows just how bad the traffic can get in the fall if you are heading out east to the farms. Think about how much time it will take one limo driver to sit in that traffic twice and estimate for that. I also want to encourage you to do the drive ahead of time. See what traffic is like on a regular Saturday at the time and in the season you are planning to drive during your wedding. I would also make sure there isn’t any construction happening that you didn’t know about. 

A Shelter Island Wedding – Jeannine Lombardo Photography

Church Recessionals

You just tied the knot and your family and friends are over the moon excited for you. This is the first time they are seeing you all day and they want to congratulate you. Of course, who wouldn’t! But what they don’t know is that you are actually on a tight schedule until you get to your cocktail hour. If you are planning on doing all of your pictures post ceremony, I usually suggest to my brides that they go right down the aisle after saying I Do and back into hiding. If you are planning a church exit, then I would suggest doing your exit and keep walking away from the guests. That way you won’t get pulled away by friends who want to talk for too long. 

Family Formals

I would say this is the second biggest way I see a timeline go way off. Getting all of the people on your shot list together at the same time can be tough. A lot of people means a lot of missing family members. Usually by this time, the ceremony is over and people are mostly concerned with eating and drinking. The best way to get everyone together for a speedy and fluid family formals part of the day is communication. I think what happens is that a bride and groom create a shot list for the photographer, but then they don’t tell the people who are on that list. That is when we usually lose people. You can’t blame them. As a guest I’m usually checking out all of the food at the wedding at this point too. I would suggest reaching out to everyone that is on your list in advance and just let them know that they are included in some of these pictures. Be very specific. Tell them after the ceremony at exactly 4:30 the photographer is going to start taking these pictures. Tell them to be sure they are available at this exact time. Now Uncle Joe knows to get his whisky on the rocks and Grandma knows to use the bathroom before 4:30. 

Laid back Bride and Groom

This one can be tricky. I have seen brides and grooms who just simply didn’t care that there is a time crunch. I know this can be particularly difficult, because on one side it is their wedding day and I do not want to come off as pushy or demanding, but on the other side, I also know that I have a job to do for them and that requires the right amount of time. All I can say with this is just be aware that you hired your vendors to do a job for you and they want to do their absolute best. Keep in mind that they are trying to give you everything you paid for and your cooperation is the best way to achieve that. If you are more roll with the flow, then communicate with your vendors that you will give them your undivided attention from 1:00 to 2:00 and then you want to relax after 2:00. They will respect that. 

Lastly, if your timeline  does not go according to plan don’t sweat it. Wedding days come with a lot of moving parts and people and sometimes you just can’t get everyone where they need to be at that exact time. That is why you hired professionals. Leave it to them to make sure you are getting everything you need, even if it is not exactly how it was originally planned. 

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