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How to make the perfect wedding day timeline | Wedding planning tips from a Michigan wedding Photographer

Woohoo, you’re planning your Michigan wedding! You’ve locked in your wedding venue, you’ve booked all your big vendors; now it’s time to make your wedding day timeline!

First, let me say every wedding is unique and will require a custom timeline (which we create for each of our clients). With that being said there are a few tips I can share to ensure you have the best experience on your wedding day.

1. Check with your photographer first. I realize this might sound like we want to control your day, but that’s not the case. We just want to ensure you have enough time for all of the details big and small to be documented on your wedding day.

Let’s break this down in greater detail- For the start of the day I usually request 2 hrs. This breaks down to an hr for details (your dress styled with your shoes, rings, flowers and invites), photos of the ladies before getting dressed (think matching Pjs), The bride getting into her dress, a first look with the bride and her father and/or a first look with the bridesmaids after the bride is dressed.

If we’re doing duel coverage of the guys and the girls getting dressed we’ll stagger coverage with the guys to start a little later. Since the groom and groomsmen don’t have as many details they don’t need as much time.

2. Think about what’s important to you on your wedding day.

Ok, I know your first thought was marrying your partner, but outside of that what’s important? Are you wanting to party hard after the formalities are done? Are you standing firm on not seeing each other before the ceremony? Do you want to spend as much time as you can with your friends and family? Do you want the most amazing photos regardless of how long we have to keep you away from your guests? Hahaha that last one was a trick question but we’ll touch on that too.

If you’re hoping to have quality time with your guests I strongly suggest you consider doing a first look so we can take care of all of your wedding party, couples photos and family photos before the ceremony. This allows you to be present at your cocktail hr so you can greet more of your guests before dinner and the reception formalities.

We do love to take our couples out for sunset photos and backlit photos. This breaks up coverage so you’re only away from your guests for a short period of time, (think 15 min for each session). If you’re looking to party the night away I’d still suggest doing these but bring a drink with you 😉

If you’re wanting to wait to see each other for the first time at the alter I totally respect that. For this I suggest adding a second photographer to be able to capture photos of the groom with his guys and the bride with her girls before the ceremony. Since we have limited time between the ceremony and reception we’ll use that time for family photos, photos of the wedding party altogether, and photos of the two of you together.

Lastly if you really just want an amazing photo shoot let’s do a bridal session before the wedding day. This is a tradition in the South that I wish we could bring to the Midwest. It’s a session before the wedding day in your wedding attire that allows you to get some stunning photos before the big day. Another option is a session after the wedding, the only downfall with this option is your dress might be a little dirty.

3. Make sure everyone is on the same page! I know this sounds simple but really it can be hard when you’re solo planning. My best advice is to create a master timeline (again we’re here to help with this) and email it to all of your vendors. This ensures everyone has the same timeline and will be on the same page. It will save a ton of headaches.

Another thing to keep in mind is making sure the family is aware of when they need to present. If you’re planning on doing all of your formal photos before the ceremony it’s really important that everyone knows when they should arrive for their photo session.

4. COMMUNICATE. This sounds so simple and it really is but when you don’t communicate the same info across the board it makes things hard for everyone. Hiring a wedding coordinator is a great way to ensure this box gets checked. If that’s not in the budget then send one final group email to everyone with the master timeline and vendor contact info. If you’re considering a wedding planner check out this list of the most amazing wedding planners in the Metro Detroit area.

5. Don’t sweat the small stuff- Every wedding I have ever been to has run behind in one way or another. I always create my timelines with a bit of padding between each event so we’re never really behind. And if things run exactly on time we have a little break 😉

Looking for more timeline help? Here’s another post that breaks down how we schedule our wedding day timelines see that here You can also reach out to book us for your wedding and we’ll take care of the timeline planning for you!

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