“Wait – what time is it?!”
This is one of the most common questions I hear on the day of a wedding. As a Raleigh wedding photographer, I see my fair share of confusion when a bride or groom realizes that time is FLYING by on their wedding day. Without knowing it, hours have felt like minutes, and it’s time to get into the dress, walk down the aisle, cut the cake, and, before you know it, exit your reception. If you’re not careful, your timeline can get pretty off-track, so we’re sharing some overlooked details in this post to help you plan!
With the creation of wedding timelines and planning ahead for months and months, how does this continually happen?
It’s simple: so many things can pop up on your wedding day that might impact your timeline without you recognizing it. This is one reason I love working with planners like the ones here who build in lots of buffer time into their timelines, but I also enjoy educating our couples on a few details that they might overlook when thinking through their wedding day timeline.
I hope these considerations help you plan a wedding day that allows you to relax and breathe!
A first look is a tradition that allows a couple to see each other before they officially head down the aisle to tie the knot. I love getting to photograph first looks because they allow you time to see your significant other without hundreds of people watching, and so many of my brides and grooms have told me that it helped calm their nerves to get to spend time with their best friend before the ceremony.
But first looks take time! I like to plan at least 20 minutes into the timeline where we can get you set up and allow you a moment to connect and celebrate what is about to take place before being hidden away from everyone else. Because you don’t want to do your first look right before your ceremony when guests are arriving and might see you, we need to plan this into your timeline at least an hour before your ceremony, ideally! If you also want to do family portraits and bridal party portraits before your ceremony, consider how this might impact when you start getting ready – it might need to be earlier than you were planning to allow enough time!
The Size of Your Wedding Party
When you picture your wedding party, what do you see? Do you want all of your best guys and gals surrounding you on the day of your wedding to celebrate with you? I love huge wedding parties – they are so full of life and I love seeing our couples soak up the love of their closest friends and chosen family on such an important day in their lives.
Keep in mind, however, that the larger your wedding party, the longer things will take. I love my ladies, but when it comes to hair and makeup and popping the champagne and making sure we’re serving up the best lewks, let’s just say it can take a while to get ready on wedding day. As far as my gentlemen go, every additional drink that is consumed while hanging out with their best guy seems to add some time when we’re corralling people for portraits!
When choosing your bridal party, I recommend sticking to the people you just can’t live without; the ones who have been there through everything and you can see in your life as you celebrate your 10th, 25th, and 50th wedding anniversaries. Not only will you feel surrounded by absolute unconditional love on the day of your wedding, but this will help keep everything streamlined in terms of your timeline on your wedding day.
The time of the sunset on the day of your wedding is one of the biggest things that can impact your timeline. If you plan on getting married in the spring or summer months, you will have a lot more latitude in terms of planning because there will be more hours of daylight. For example, if you are getting married in May and the sun sets at 8 pm, even if your ceremony is at 4:30 pm, you will have three more hours of sun light when we can take formal photos with your family, photograph your wedding party outside, and also take you and your new spouse out for a golden hour session.
Contrast that with a wedding day in the late fall or winter months (when admittedly, the weather will be cooler and potentially more pleasant in North Carolina!). The sunset on your wedding day might actually occur closer to 5 pm! That means a 4:30 pm wedding ceremony start time would leave NO time afterwards for portraits with natural light.
You have to keep this in mind when planning your timeline or you may be stuck with no options other than portraits lit by artificial light (or portraits done inside a venue space). Knowing the time of sunset on your wedding day can help you create a timeline that makes the best use of natural light to create the types of beautiful and timeless images you will want! Use this sunset calculator to find the time of sunset on your wedding day!