As a wedding planner in Ottawa, Ontario, we have done many, many wedding day timelines. Below, I will share our key tips for creating your wedding day timeline.
The wedding day timeline can be a stressful thought to some, but if you have hired a dream team of vendors, especially ones who have worked together frequently, your wedding day will flow as seamlessly as possible. Hiring a wedding planner is necessary if you are looking for extra assistance with your timeline and planning details to ensure your wedding day will be as stress free as possible. Each wedding timeline will vary from one wedding to the next, so it is important that your timeline is specific to you as a couple, to your venue, whether you are doing a first look or not, to the season of your wedding, etc.
Timelines for a spring wedding will look very different than a timeline for a winter wedding. Spring and summer weddings allow for much more light versus a late fall or winter wedding, therefore chat with your wedding planner or venue about choosing your ceremony time before booking your officiant and sending out your invitations.
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-Having a clean, bright prep space for getting ready photos is key.
-Try to find a white space with lots of windows, if you are getting ready at a hotel, try to book a corner suite so you have lots of natural light!
-Ensure you allow enough time for your photographer to snap some fun champagne shots, photos of the girls in their robes, and of course the bride getting into her dress. These are all about having fun with your girls, so make sure you allow time to enjoy it!
–20min for the bride & her besties in their robes, drinking champagne, opening gifts.
–30min forthe bride to open her card/gift from her soon to be hubby, get into her dress, put on jewelry and shoes.
-20minfor the bride with her mom or whoever is helping her get dressed.
-30minfor the bride & the bridesmaids in their dresses.
-15minfor bridal portraits at the prep space.
-Allow 10-15min for any hair or make up touch ups before leaving for photos or the ceremony.
–30min for groom & groomsmen prep photos.
-Pack up all of your details in a box and have it set aside for when your photographer and videographer arrive.
-This box will include your full invitation suite, vow books, shoes, veil, rings, perfume, any heirloom pieces, etc.
-Ask your florist for extra styling blooms for the morning of the wedding.
-Have your photographer and videographer arrive at the getting ready location and allocate 45-60min for detail shots of your invitation suite, shoes, rings, dress, etc.
-You never know if there will be traffic, car troubles, etc. so allowing for travel time in your timeline is necessary.
-Plan your photo locations with your photographer ahead of time to account for parking or limo pick-up/drop off times.
-Leaving time while travelling to/from venues/photo locations is important.
-Check ahead of time to see if your wedding is happening during a special event weekend or holiday, also check for road closures, etc.
-Having your photographer arrive on site 30-45min prior to the ceremony allows him/her to slip into the reception space before any guests have entered to snap some beautiful decor shots, tablescape details, floral shots, and venue details.
-If you have specific shots in mind, let your photographer know in advance.
-Plan to do a reception first look immediately following your ceremony before your guests have entered so you can take in all of the décor and details!
-Are you having a first look? This is important when you are deciding on your ceremony time as you will also need to account for portraits, family photos, bridal party photos, etc.
-If you are having a fall/winter wedding and are not having a first look, allow for an earlier ceremony time to ensure you have enough light for family photos and golden hour photos after the ceremony.
-Allow at least 20-30min prior to your ceremony to just relax, freshen up and take a deep breath. The boys can be seating guests at this time!
-Are you planning a grand entrance?
-Are you including your parents and/or wedding party?
-I always suggest to our couples to do their first dance immediately upon entering the reception!
-Chat with your planner and/or venue to coordinate speeches during dinner service, many venues will not allow speeches will plates are being served or cleared.
-Depending on the number of speeches you will have, we recommend 1-2 speeches during the appetizer, 2-3 during the main course, and 1-2 speeches during dessert, including the newlyweds saying thank you.
-Remind your speakers to keep it short and sweet, the longer the speeches, the longer dinner service will be and take away from the party time.
-Always allow 45-60min prior to sunset for golden hour photos with your photographer. These will be your fave photos from your day, promise! SO worth it.
-Have a list of any must have photos written down prior to the wedding day for your photographer, especially groupings for family photos.
I hope these tips are helpful when planning your wedding day timeline! Remember, for more wedding day tips and advice, sign up for our email list!