How to Create the Perfect Wedding Day Timeline-That You'll Actually Be Able to Follow! | South Alabama Wedding Videographer
As a wedding videographer, one of the questions I always get when I’m preparing for the big day with my MPV Couples is “What do you suggest for our timeline?” I LOVE helping them out with this! For most engaged couples, this is their first wedding, so they aren’t sure how things should flow, much less how much time is needed to get their fake eyelashes put on, then travel to the second location of the day. (Brides worry about eyelashes anyways, not necessarily grooms getting falsies—but if that’s your thing then you go for it, guy! Haha)
So I figured I could help y’all by giving you some tips for timeline mapping & things to look out for when you’re building your wedding day schedule.
1. Make sure you have a schedule, not just a list of approximate times. “Well, we might be a little behind due to hair & makeup, but it should be OK to get the dress on around 1:30.”
Your photographer can help you with this, & so can I, but the biggest mistake I see couples making is not having exact timelines or thinking realistically about their timelines. If your dress takes about 10 minutes to put on, then another 10 minutes to fluff, don’t allot only 15 minutes to do it on the big day. First of all, your photographer & I will ask your Mom or MOH, whoever is helping you into your dress, to take it slow so we can ensure we get the photos & video you want. The slower the zipping or lacing, the more pretty footage you get with your Mom or bridesmaids.
2. Factor in your locations, and possible travel times. Especially if you are planning a destination wedding.
If you are getting ready at one location, then traveling to the ceremony and reception site, make sure you do a trial run a week or two to test out the travel times. True story, I filmed a wedding on St. Simons Island last year where the ceremony & getting ready areas were about 15-20 minutes apart. Unfortunately the weekend of the wedding, the island had some road construction, causing a bit of a delay for travelers. (They also had a trolley break down due to engine trouble with the wedding party inside! Luckily this happened after the ceremony.) Knowing that these things happen, we had already built in buffer room. Add in that the couple planned to do a first look, and we had plenty of time to get all portraits done before the ceremony. Which leads me to point number 3.
3. Have a First Look- You’ll be SO glad you did!
I am a huge believer of the benefits of a first look, and timeline safety is one of the biggest reasons I feel this way. Choosing to do a first look ensures that you get exactly the video and portraits you want, especially if you are getting married during the winter months. If the sun sets at 5:30, and your ceremony isn’t over until 6…well..your portraits will all have to be done with artificial light..which isn’t always the most flattering or best looking.
Also, a first look allows us (your photo & video team) to take care of all of the pictures & video before the ceremony, meaning afterward y’all get to go, have a cold drink & enjoy the cocktail hour with your friends and family! In fact, most days that have a first look give couples a chance to have a breather before the ceremony as well, which is wonderful.
4. Make time for Memories. Plan for the special moments, because they will be the ones you cherish the most!
If you build time in to your timeline for special moments, you’ll get to actually enjoy them and not be rushing to get to the next event. Things like a First look with your bridesmaids or with your Daddy do take an extra few minutes, so building those minutes in will help you!
Also, if your fiancé and you are writing letters to each other, build that time in to the timeline as well. It typically takes about five to seven minutes, including a small touchup of makeup in case there’s a tear or two. This also allows us to mic you up if need be so we get the best quality sound of you reading the letters. The more personal touches you have during your day, the more awesome your wedding film will be. Not sure what to do to keep things personal and sweet? I will be writing a blog post about this soon!
5. Follow the timeline, but DON’T stress over it. We got you, girl.
It is really important that you keep your timeline in mind and make sure your bridal party does too. BUT. Don’t let it run the day. Lucky for you, your photographer & I (and planner if you have one!) will help you stay on track with gentle direction. We’re here to help you enjoy your day, and are totally able to swerve if something is thrown into the mix last minute. The whole purpose of a timeline is to help you get everything in that you care about on your day. We care about you, so we’re going to help you with that.
One more thing! Pro tip ahead!
If you only have us for a certain amount of time, but want to get that gorgeous sparkler or confetti exit, a great time saver is to plan a “fake leave.” This way we can get that beautiful footage of you two kissing and then you can get back to dancin’! (It is also a great way to let the older quests or parents with young kiddos needing an early bedtime to leave without feeling rude.) Don’t want everyone filing out of the reception then back in? We can create some beautiful, controlled sparkler magic with a bridal party and family only sendoff!
So there you go. I hope these tips helped you come up with the perfect timeline for your big day. Still not sure if you have this timeline stuff figured out? Here’s a free sample timeline, just for you! Also, as always..feel free to reach out to me, I’d love to help you create a custom timeline that is the perfect fit for your day.
Megan Pettus, with MPV, loves sharing all of the pretty things with you.