Creating a perfect wedding timeline can be stressful if you have never done it. I am here to help! It’s no secret that a wedding day can be stressful af. I can pretty much guarantee you that almost every wedding that you work will run behind on time. It can be stressful, but it is up to you as the photographer to keep everyone on track. Think of yourself as the photographer, therapist, herder, cheerleader, and timekeeper to name a few. You may not be all at once or any at all if your clients have a wedding coordinator for the day; however, you should be prepared to wear many hats throughout the day. Your goal as a photographer should always be to SERVE SERVE SERVE your clients regardless if you want to be all of the above. It’s not about you, girlfriend! It’s about the two people ready to commit their lives to each other!
ALWAYS create a timeline for your clients BEFORE their wedding day.
Even if their wedding planner has created a master timeline, I like to create a master photo timeline so that everyone knows where and when to be for photos. Some wedding planners are amazing and create and include your photo timeline into the master timeline like Festoons and Flourishes, does, but if you aren’t that lucky, still work with the planner to make sure you are both on the same page! Working with the wedding planner also helps you network and grow relationships in your industry! Trust me; you want your wedding planners on your side, they will bring you lots of clients if they love you!
Typically I send over a questionnaire three months before their wedding to nail down the nitty-gritty details. The questionnaire helps gather information regarding their ceremony time, getting ready time, send-off time, etc. I also include a section on what combinations they would like to add for family formals to help kill two birds with one stone. Make sure you ask about a first look as well. First looks can help the day be efficient and allow you to get all of the photos completed before the ceremony. It is crucial that you keep family members and the bridal happy, and if that means you get to let them enjoy cocktail hour because we got the photos done before the ceremony, they are going to love you. After they complete their questionnaire, I get to work writing up a timeline.
Timelines are not that difficult to create; you just got to make sure that you create one that works for both you and the hours scheduled.
Tips for Creating Timelines:
- Always always always schedule more time than is needed for EVERY part of the day. If you haven’t worked a wedding before, I can promise you that at some point during the day you will be running behind schedule. Allowing for extra time for parts of the day that you may not need, will enable you to use that remaining time when you do need it! As always your goal should deliver the best client experience as possible, including the tiny details of creating a timeline.
- Plan for at least 5 minutes per family combination during family formals. You may think you are a superhero and get through each combination in two minutes. Let’s be real, you may be a superhero, but the family members are not, and will more than likely drag their feet while taking the dreaded family photos!
- Explain and educate your clients on why it is important to stick closely to the timeline. Education is your best friend when it comes to making sure their day goes as smooth as possible.
- Remember that you are the timekeeper. It is essential that you kindly remind the wedding party to be on time and to stick to the timeline as close as possible.
Each wedding is going to be different, so make sure you gather all of the details from your couple about their day before you work on their timeline. Trust me; it will make your life so much easier!
EIGHT HOUR TIMELINE – WITH FIRST LOOK
TEN HOUR TIMELINE – NO FIRST LOOK
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13