The last few days, I’ve been blogging based off of votes from a poll posted on my Instagram account. When more bride tips were requested I had every one vote between Time Management, Ceremony tips, Reception tips, or post wedding recovery and processing. Wedding Day Time Management was the most popular request by far.
Whereas I’m not surprised, it is a loaded topic to cover in one blog post. Typically, I hop on a zoom call or meet up with my couples about 30 days before the big day to help form their wedding day timeline. As the meeting progresses I go in completely different directions depending on the unique vision of the couple.
However, if you don’t have a wedding vendor on deck to help build a custom timeline, here are a few tips!
The main points to start with are 1.) What time is the ceremony? 2.) What time is dinner served? and 3.) Are you doing a first look? I start with the non-negotiable hard times and work out from there. In most cases, everything else is flexible.
However long you think something might take, add half the total time you think it will take when writing out your schedule. If you think family photos will take 30 minutes because you have a small family, plan on 45 minutes. If you think family photos will take an hour because you both have large families and place high priority on family photos on your wedding day, plan on an hour and a half.
It is far better to have extra time on your wedding day, than feel like you’re always behind schedule. If there’s extra time, you enjoy the day and time slows down. If you’re behind schedule, you feel rushed and wonder where the day went when it’s over.
This isn’t just about time management. It’s also about appropriately setting your expectations and prioritizing what your cherish most. In other cultures, weddings last multiple days. Sometimes a full week to enjoy a day for each notable memory. If you can take a few days to enjoy the people you love most, do it!
If your venue accommodates over night stays, Clynn and I HIGHLY recommend inviting your bridal party and immediate family to the venue the day before the wedding for set up and bonding. This helps wedding days go so much more smoothly. Even better, book the day before and after your wedding so full clean up is not necessary on the big day either. This is most common and budget friendly with VRBO, Airbnb, or Bed & Breakfasts venues vs. traditional wedding venues. We love Cabin Creek Lodge & Orting Manor for this very feature.
For many couples, one day is all their friends and family can commit to. If that’s the case, don’t feel like you have to pack every expectation into one day.
Ideas to reclaim time on your wedding day:
- Shorten the family photo list by encouraging extended family to book a family session on another day before or after the wedding while they’re all in town.
- Cut out formal family photos altogether in favor of enjoying your party entirely. Plant important family members into memories to ensure you’ll get a photo with them. Grandparents putting on your veil, Mom Zipping up your dress, Dad walking you down the aisle, a special dance with your siblings, are all ways to ensure photos with your family.
- Hire your photographer to document your bridal shower, bachelorette party, or rehearsal dinner to get tons of photos with your bridal party so a few great ones work well on the wedding day.
- Save money on the venue in favor of hiring more staff! If the venue is set up and ready to go earlier thanks to more help, your photographer can get right to work when they arrive.
- Get ready with your partner in a private room/suite! A new kind of first look allows for three or so hours of one on one time with your significant other. Go straight into couples photos after they zip up your dress themselves. I promise it will be even more intimate and special and less overwhelming to be you two, hair and makeup artist, and photographer. A room full of ladies getting ready will always feel more busy. Separate and meet them on the dance floor later!
- HAVE AN INTIMATE AFTER PARTY!!! Clynn and I LOVE photographing after parties but we get if we’re not invited. lol Tell your bridal party & closest friends there will be an after party at the beach, your house, a friends house, a suite, or a small event friendly Airbnb. Use this extended time to tell stories, make a bonfire, cozy up, and wind down like the good old days. This ensures you will go to bed tired and full rather than wired and wondering where the time went.
I think this is enough information, for now. I do feel like I could do a week long seminar on this subject so I might do a Part II some day. Help extend these tips by dropping a comment below! What do you wish you would have done on your wedding day to RECLAIM TIME?
Wedding Day Time Management