A bride’s wedding day is often the most emotional day she has ever experienced in her entire life! After dating her man for years, she will finally be able to claim him as hers. She plans every detail down to the color of the flowers to be used at the beverage table. She picks the photographer, musicians, preacher, florist, caterer, planner, cake artist, location, dress, bridesmaids, and does chooses all these things typically within a year’s time. Everything MUST be perfect. She plans out her day down to the SECOND, accounting for every action that must take place, barely squeezing in the day’s events to accommodate the hair styling, makeup, first look, ceremony, fun bridal party photos, and family formals. But in the end she achieves this goal and perfects it. Then, she rests. Yet there is one thing she often forgets to consider. Even after all this work, this one tiny detail creeps past her excitement and goes COMPLETELY overlooked. . . Many a delicately planned wedding has been toppled by this foe, and no matter the planning, it can never be fully accounted for.
I am still AMAZED at all the things that can go wrong during the morning of a wedding that slows down the getting ready process. No matter the forethought, relatives still show up ten minutes late, dresses still get wrinkles, flowers get scrunched, and caterers get stuck in traffic. My question very simply then becomes as follows: How, despite this innevitable error, can brides still begin to account and reduce the impact this error can have on a wedding day timeline?
My answer: If a bride can account for how much time things REALLY take and add those into the schedule, stress will often simply melt away. Therefore, here are some times to consider.
1. How long does it ACTUALLY take brides to get ready?
You would be amazed how long you can take to get ready on the day when you want to be PERFECT! Yes, I know that you really do believe that you can get ready in an hour and a half, but do not fall into this trap! Budget possibly even DOUBLE the time you have for getting ready. One article on the Knot [found here] states that if you have one person doing makeup and one person doing hair for the bridal party, you should budget around 30 to 45 minutes for each bridesmaid and 60 to 90 minutes for the bride. If you do the math on that one this actually means that, assuming you have four bridesmaids, to be extra safe it would equate to somewhere between 3 to 4.5 hours of scheduled getting ready time. In my personal experience, I’d definitely suggest brides planning leaving a three to four hour window JUST TO BE SAFE. Wardrobe malfunctions to happen. Dresses do get spills. Shoes break and women cry even though they know it ruins their makeup. It’s just how weddings are.
2. How long do family formals take?
Though family formals traditionally have always been taken AFTER the ceremony [as the bride and groom typically didn’t see each other before the big event]. However, with the rise in the number of couples deferring to do a “first look” [which I’ll talk about below], it is becoming more popular to go ahead and knock out family formals right before the ceremony, allowing family to simply go straight to the reception after a ceremony, cutting down on the time guests have to wait for receptions to begin.
Family formals are one of the most complicated parts of the wedding day and although we’re not supposed to admit it, it’s usually the photographer’s least favorite part. We are masters of our trade, learning the ins and outs of cameras and perfecting the art of helping to make people look their best. However, toss in twenty family members, a few slow moving grandparents, and a couple of crying youngsters and very quickly a photographer can find themselves losing control. However, despite the photographer’s longing for this time to end, these photos are memories and thus are important. And thus, they need time to get right. To put it simply, I suggest putting down at least thirty minutes for this or 2 minutes per family photo.
3. The first look
Out of all the new trends in weddings, I love first looks the most! I have actually created a PDF document discussing why I LOVE the concept of the first look. It not only helps to relieve SO MUCH of a couple’s nerves, but it is great when it comes to solving timing issues on a wedding day. And I’ll refrain from GUSHING why I love this concept so much… cause honestly I’ll just post my full thoughts next week and then link this to it but for real, great idea! And thankfully, it really doesn’t take very long! Give it twenty minutes so that you [the couple] have time to REALLY just relax before your big moment.
4. Bridal party
Oh the bridal party! One of the most interesting parts of the wedding day. I have worked with many different parties and I am confident in declaring that no two are alike. Some seem to SYNERGIZE in a perfect silly seriousness while others struggle with even the least creative of poses. Some groups thrive and create interesting, creative poses in mere moments, while other groups take more time. For this reason alone planning time for these photos is difficult. Therefore, I’m going to say just plan about an hour to allow for a large amount of creativity.
5. Rest time
Adding it all up, so far we have already used five hours and twenty-five minutes. And yet, you have not even had time to REST before your wedding day! And so FINALLY, I recommend scheduling in a forty-five minute break before the wedding.
TOTAL TIME: 5:05
Six hours?! Yup! And of course, that’s simply to maximize the stressless affect. =] That means if your wedding is a two, start getting ready by nine at the LATEST! I promise you won’t regret having TOO MUCH time