For Brides

May 9, 2019

Why Your Photographer Should Create Your Wedding Timeline

why your photographer should create your wedding timeline, Samantha Ludlow Photography, Syracuse photographer, Rochester photographer

Wedding day timelines… Oh where to start!  This is one of the less-fun aspects of the wedding planning, but is SO important for making sure everything runs smoothly.  Today I’m talking about why your photographer should create your wedding timeline and why a timeline is even necessary in the first place.

Why have a timeline?

When I was a bride, I put off making our wedding timeline until one week before the wedding.  ONE WEEK!  Truth be told, I basically guessed how long it would take to get ready and do photos, and then just added in the ceremony and reception times.  The day turned out just fine, but there were certainly things that could have been more organized if I had put more effort into creating a well thought out, universal timeline.

A well planned timeline does a few things:

  • It gets everyone (bride, groom, bridal party, parents, grandparents, vendors) on the same page!
  • It gives people freedom to be there when they are needed and leave when they aren’t needed.  This way your family and guests can better enjoy the day!
  • It keeps things running at a good pace.  A good timeline provides enough time so that you’re not rushed, but also not waiting all day.
  • Bonus tip: If you put addresses for the different locations on the timeline it keeps people from getting lost or going to the wrong location.


Why should you let your photographer create the timeline?

So why would the photographer, of all people, be the best person to create this important document?  Well, to start, the photographer is the only vendor (other than possibly a wedding planner) who will be with you all day long.  Most other vendors drop off their goods and then leave (florists, bakers) or are only present for either the ceremony or reception (the officiant, the DJ).  Your photographer, on the other hand will be there from the time you’re getting ready until you leave your reception.

Since we’re there all day, we know exactly how long each element of the day is going to take.  For example, did you know that it can take up to 30 minutes to lace up a dress with a corset back?  Or did you know that right after the wedding you’ll probably wind up talking to guests for about 15 minutes, whether you planned to have a receiving line or not?  There are so many little things like that (I call them “time suckers”) that just tend to happen on wedding days that most people aren’t aware of.  When your photographer builds the timeline, they can plan ahead so that these little things don’t throw off your whole day!

Finally, allowing your photographer to create your timeline is the best way to ensure you get stunning images!  Photographers are lighting experts.  We know what time of day is going to make for the best portraits.  We also know exactly how long it will take to get the amount and variety of portraits that you want.  For example, many of my couples opt not to see each other before the wedding and wind up doing all of their portraits between the ceremony and reception.  This can get pretty tight if we’re doing family portraits, bridal party shots, and bride and groom portraits!  But, if I create the timeline, I can build time in to take photos of just the bride and bridesmaids before the ceremony so that there’s less to do afterwards.  I can also add in sunset portraits for 15 minutes during the reception.  Now, a time shortage that could have been an issue is already resolved and has a built-in backup plan!

The one exception…

The only time I would suggest that someone other than the photographer create the timeline is when you have a wedding planner.  A wedding planner is the only other full-day vendor and will take into consideration the same points I listed above.  I love when my brides have a planner because I’m not the only one watching and enforcing the timeline!  If you’re working with a planner, it is still a good idea to let your photographer know so that they can be in communication with each other.  This way, your photographer can advocate for portrait time while the planner makes sure the rest of the day goes smoothly!

Happy planning!


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