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Wedding planner, cool aunt of little Texans, lover of all things love, and obsessed with espresso.


The more seasoned I become, the more patterns I see emerge from what appears to be sheer chaos to the untrained eye. Today I’m going to share the top PRE-Ceremony Timeline busters and how I prevent them.

Hair & Makeup
My brides are always a bit surprised when it’s time to create the Timeline and I have their hair and makeup finished a full three to four hours before the invitation time. To have them completely done and ready to dress, I budget a full hour for hair and full hour for makeup. If the makeup artist is not one that I have worked with, I’ll create a fake time to have the bride done. Hair and Makeup ALWAYS takes longer than expected and I like to have the Timeline padded for that. Another thing I do is budget an entire half hour for my bride to put her dress on. It sounds crazy, but in my early assisting days I was stationed as the bridal attendant frequently and I saw first hand the chaos that is the bridal suite.

Probably 80% of my clients do their photos before the ceremony (100% of my Jewish clients) in order to be able to enjoy the cocktail hour and have more time with their guests. Inevitably, only half of the time that is scheduled for pictures is actually used for taking picture, so I budget 1/2 hour for getting ready shots, 1 hour for “first look” and romantics, 1/2 hour for bridal party, and 1/2 hour for family. Because of moving people around and people running late, etc., of that 2.5 hours I have budgeted, we are only actually taking pictures for a little more than 1 hour. I always have my clients tell their bridal party and families to show up earlier than we need them in order to get started somewhat on time. Again though, the Timeline is padded to ensure a prompt ceremony start time.

In order to get a 5:00 PM wedding started on time, this is what my bride’s Timeline would look like:

11:30-12:30 PM Bride Makeup
12:30-1:30 PM Bride Hair
2:00-2:30 PM Bride dresses and “getting ready” shots are taken of her and Groom separately
2:30-3:30 PM “First Look” and Romantics of Bride & Groom
3:30-4:00 PM Bridal Party Photos
4:00-4:30 PM Family Photos
4:30 PM Bride hidden from early guest arrival
5:00 PM Invitation time (Ketubah signed at this time if Jewish wedding)
5:15 PM Processional starts down the aisle (5:30 if Jewish wedding)

All of this looks like a lot of time on paper, but as one of my brides once said “it’s the longest and fastest day in the world” and the day flies by.

As crazy as this Timeline looks, it’s crazier to squeeze all pictures into the cocktail hour, so I always try to gently recommend a “first look”. One of my favorite wedding blogs is Photographer Jasmine Star’s blog and she talks about the First Look in this post. I experienced a similar feeling at my own wedding, but Jasmine just has a way of capturing words…..oh, and pretty, pretty pictures.


Timeline Busters: Pre-Ceremony

Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017


Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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