Wedding Planning – A guide for a successful timeline.

When it comes planning your wedding day your timeline is your key to success. So don’t skip this step, plan use your timeline to set yourself up for success so your day will go off without a hitch. If you don’t give enough attention a beautiful wedding day can turn to chaos and panic.

I sat down with David Taylor a fellow photographer, and although Dave is new to wonderful world of wedding photography, he does have five years of experience. He mainly works with models and fashion shoots, he also does seniors, urban photography, and more. He agrees, planning of any photoshoot is the tipping point between success and uncertainty.

So I asked Dave, “What are the important things to look at when setting up a wedding timeline for photographic success?”

1 – Leave wiggle room

The beginning of your day is crucial, it’s hair and makeup time!  This will set the tone for the rest of the day. If you don’t allow enough time for hair and make-up it can set off a chain reaction that can affect your whole day. Plan for the simple things; bridesmaid’s hair isn’t cooperating, make-up getting smudged, someone loses a contact, or misplaces an earring. Once you’ve set how much time you need add an extra half an hour. Everyone in your wedding will be happy to have another glass of champagne rather that stressing because you were supposed to be in the limo 10 minutes ago.

2 – Properly Plan drive time

It may only take you 5 minutes to drive from your ceremony site to your formal photo site, but keep in mind the number of people you have meeting at the site. That 5 minute drive has just turned into 15-20 minutes, you will have to unloading (and don’t forget re-loading) the bride, waiting on others family members to arrive, and of course any traffic delays that might pop up. This is especially critical if your formals aren’t done on site of the ceremony.

Another thing to consider, remember your photographer will need to pack-up all their gear from your ceremony site, drive over to where your formals will be, and then unpack everything when they arrive at the formal photo site.  If you have only allotted 10 minutes in travel time you might want to add an extra 20-30 minutes to encompass all these other ‘things’ you might not have considered. If you don’t adjust appropriately you could inadvertently be behind schedule or you may end up missing some of those intimate photos of just the two of you.

Photo by David Taylor

Photo by David Taylor

3 – Make sure your wedding planner and your photographer are on the same page

Each one of these people has their own expertise; while a planner may think a certain location is perfect for formal photos because of the timeline, your photographer may disagree because of poor lighting or some other factor.  Having everyone on the same page will be helpful on your special day so any disagreements can be squashed quickly. The easiest way to get them on the same page is to meet with them both at a planning meeting. This way everyone will know your priorities and what you want to happen. Remember both your planner and photographer want you to have the best wedding day possible so simply making sure they are on the same page initially will help tremendously, and really that’s minimally effort on your part when you think about it.

4 – Make sure your photographer knows your itinerary.

Part of making your wedding day photos spectacular is the setup. There are lights and angles and other technical things that go into making you photos look their best.  Your photographer needs to know where and when that setup is needed.  With a variety of traditions, that are kept, left out, or have a variation, there is no such thing as a “typical wedding”. You may be having your first dance just after your introduction. Toasts may take place during, before, or after dinner. You may cut your cake early, or maybe not at all.  These are all very important details for your photographer to know for the day of your wedding. You’ve spent months planning all the little details so make sure things are communicated all the way to your photographer too. Let you photographer know the order of your day, and any changes that you make.

5 – Create a shot list

This list should consist of all of your “must haves” for the day. Your photographer doesn’t know all of your guests or how important they are to you so making a list ensures your photographer gets all of the photos that are important to you. It can be an email, a spreadsheet or a handwritten piece of paper – it will help your photographer a lot.

6 – Have a list of inspired shots

You’ve been Pinteresting all of you favorite details, and probably a few shots you want of the two of you for the day of so make sure you share these with your photographer.  Don’t go too crazy but share a private board with your photographer so they know what “must have” poses you want that you saw on Pinterest.

David and I both agree that most photographers would be ok with doing some Pinterest re-creations but limit it to just a couple of those. Getting shots that are uniquely you and spending time with your guests is more important than any Pinterest re-creation – trust us. If some of those photos really are that important, consider having a styled session the next day or later on with you both dressed up again. Or on a different note, Pinterest some “trash the dress” sessions.

Photo by David Taylor

Photo by David Taylor

7 – Create a style/mood board

This gives your photographer a general idea of what kind of look you’re going for. You may have a style in mind, but you don’t know how to express it in words so lucky for you a photographer’s specialty is pictures. Working with your photographer so you can select photo styles you like (and dislike) without the stress of knowing all the technical jargon.

A big thank you to David for sitting down with me. If you would like to see David’s work you can find him at


As we finished our conversation I asked him one final question; I asked Dave, what is your advice for any bride during the planning process? He said “Breath, relax, and have fun. It’s going to be over before you know it”.

Justin DuffComment