How to save time in your wedding day timeline

California Wedding Photographer captures bride and groom in a getaway car after their wedding ceremony. The bride is holding flowers and the groom is kissing her cheek.

I am sharing my top 5 ways to save time in your wedding day timeline! It is no secret that planning a wedding can be stressful. The to-do list is a mile long, there are many little details that you never even thought to to think of, vendors depart at different times and have various scheduled coverage, etc. Talk about overwhelming! On top of that, you have most likely never planned a wedding before or have the slightest idea how long certain parts of the day usually take. This is where your vendors come in to help! I hope after reading this blog post, you come away with some new ideas and a feel a little less anxious about the whole timeline planning.

Have your details photographed ahead of time!
The wedding invitation inspiration was photographed with flowers and greenery from California.

Some photographers, myself included, offer a complimentary “detail day” as a part of their service packages. Incorporating this into my service workflow has been a huge time-saver on the wedding day. At the start of each year, I schedule a day each month for my couples to sign up to have their stationary and day-of details photographed. Having their details photographed in advance not only gives my couples a beautifully styled heirloom of the details they carefully curated. But, it also frees up 30 minutes to an entire hour on your wedding day. The time I would have spent photographing details at the start of the wedding day, I can now spend capturing candid getting ready moments of you and your bridal party. Or, we could allocating the time we saved elsewhere in the timeline. Either way, it is a win!

Are you a photographer and interested in learning more about what detail days consist of? Check out my good friend’s Detail Day Course HERE.

Do a first look!

First looks are not only a great moment to have with just you and your groom, it can be a huge time saver! In short, doing a first look allows you to spend some one on one time with your soon-to-be husband. It also means you can usually take couple portraits, bridal party photos, and family formals prior to the ceremony. Meaning, you can relax and enjoy cocktail hour and reception with your guests. I could go on forever on the benefits of a first look. So much so, that I have an entire blog post dedicated to this topic. Click HERE to read the 4 reasons to consider a first look!

Have a family formals list!

During my two-month check in questionnaire I have an entire section dedicated to the family portraits. All the way down to the dynamics of families and any possible sensitivities. In addition to this, I have my couples create a list. These lists have first names in each combo, separated by sides of families. From there, I organize them so each side of the family starts and ends in the same way (for example, starting with the bride and groom with parents, then adding in siblings, then adding in the bigger groupings from there) we repeat this for each side of the family.

By including names in every combo, on the wedding day we just read off this list and they are already pre-set groupings. I also print off a few extra copies to give to each side of the families, so each side can be prepping whoever is the next grouping. Creating a family formal list ahead of time creates a smooth and efficient timeline. Saving you time in your timeline and taking the guess-work out of family formals.

Go straight into your first dance!

This is a new trend I noticed last year and I thought it was a great idea! After you are announced into the reception, you could go straight into your first dance. I like this idea for a few different reasons:

  1. If you are nervous about your first dance, this is a great way to get it over with sooner. All the attention is already on your from the grand march. It makes a great transition into the evening.
  2. You can enjoy dinner knowing some of the reception order of events are already “checked off.” Therefore, enjoy your time with guests and open that dance floor up sooner!
Go straight into cake cutting!
Wedding cake ideas for an outdoor wedding in California. Couple's cake ideas with florals.

This is similar to the above. Once you are announced into the reception, you could go straight into the cake cutting. This is an amazing idea for many reasons:

  1. Check one more thing of the reception-to-do list and get to enjoy more time with your guests without being pulled away.
  2. The kitchen will most likely need to the cake cut so they can start prepping the rest of the cake for your guests. This means you won’t get pulled away from dinner (aka, one of the few times you’ll eat today).
  3. The guests’ attention is already on you and it is an easy transition from the grand march. Therefore, saving time in the timeline. After dinner and speeches, your guests have been sitting for some time and are really just ready for that dance floor to open up.
Bonus: Prep the next speaker!

I saw a planner do this at a wedding I was at last year, and was so amazed at how such a small action, can save so much time! My couple’s planner would “prep” each person who was giving a speech and have them ready to go, microphone in hand, towards the end of the other person’s speech. The next person could start right away, and there was 0 awkward “who should I hand the mic to next?” moment. It is a very small gesture, but it made that part of the reception run so smooth!

Always remember, you vendors are here for you and would be more than happy to help guide you in this process! I am always looking to update this list on ways to save time in your wedding dayl, so if you have additional ideas, comment them below.

To read more blog posts similar to this one, click here!

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I'm Brooke.

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You will never regret taking the time to find the perfect photographer to capture all the details of your family in a way that feels like a true representation of who you are. Photos are, after all, the only thing you have to remember your moments by. As for me, I’m a believer that moments big and small are worth photographing, from your maternity moments and baby’s first year to those just-because moments.

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Natural light photo studio and Family photography

Minneapolis, minnesota