east coast Luxury
Wedding Photographers

August 15, 2020


Kelly McKinnis


Tips for Brides

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4 Secrets to Creating a Stress Free Wedding Day Timeline

Imagine this:

You spent over a year planning your wedding with the help of your amazing planner and you can’t WAIT to finally get ready with your girls and marry the man of your dreams!

You wake up and put on your pretty white bridal robe – you’re ready for hair and makeup!

Everything seems to be going well until you look at the clock… you’re running 20 minutes behind. What? Already? Okay, no big deal, it’ll be okay.

But now because hair and makeup ran a little late, photos are taking longer too. Next thing you know you’re having to rush through your first look and pray that you don’t keep your guests waiting too long for the ceremony.

Instead of feeling happy and relaxed and EXCITED to get married, you’re feeling rushed, stressed and concerned about your friends and family.

Did you feel kind of stressed reading that? I know I did!

But the good news? Your wedding day does not have to be like that. It really can be relaxing and filled with love and joy!

We want to help you have a relaxing and joyful wedding day, so without further ado, here are a few of our top wedding timeline tips and secrets!

1. Add buffer time

This is one of our secret weapons when it comes to creating a timeline for our couples. We add in about 5-10 minutes of buffer time during or between each moment of the day. Over the course of the day, we end up having about 30 – 45 minutes of buffer time just in case things run behind (which they often do.)

For example, during husband and wife portraits, we know we can probably get everything done in 15 minutes or so, but we set aside 30 minutes for this part of the day because if things do run behind, we still have plenty of time to capture what we need to, but if things run smoothly, our couples get extra portrait time and more photos! It’s a win-win situation.

The Mrs Box with wedding ring in it at the Palmetto Club

2. Account for driving or walking time

This is something people tend to forget about. If you plan to drive or walk anywhere, add that time into the timeline!

Whenever we need to walk somewhere for a first look or portraits, we set aside 15 minutes to do just that, even if in reality its only a 5-minute walk (again, adding in buffer time.)

If you’re driving to a different venue for the reception, use Google Maps to estimate how long it’ll take and add 10-15 minutes on top of it to account for unexpected traffic and parking.

3. Start with the ceremony time and work your way backward

Another secret of ours is that when we create photography timlines for our clients, we actually start with the ceremony time and work our way back.

This is because the ceremony time will most likely never change and it gives you a great idea of when you need to start getting ready.

And here’s the thing: if hair and makeup run long, the entire day gets behind. So, knowing when you need to start getting ready at is a great way to prevent the timeline from getting out of control.

Champagne wedding flat lay with flowers

4. Give your finished timeline to all your vendors, bridal party and immediate family

Your timeline really doesn’t do you much good if you’re the only one who knows about it! Send your timeline to all of your vendors, bridal party and family member who will be in your family formals. This way you can ensure everyone is on the same page and will know where to be and when; you’ll never have to worry about running around to find Grammy for family photos!

We hope you’ve found these tips helpful! We’ve found that when we started creating photography timelines for our couples, their wedding day went smooth and it was a fun and relaxing day for everyone – we hope it can do the same for you!

Until next time!

Matlock and Kelly

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A lot of moving pieces go into planning a wedding day timeline and we know it's easy to feel like a hot mess! Grab our free guide to plan the perfect timeline for your day. 

5 Tips for a Perfect Wedding Day Timeline


A lot of moving pieces go into planning a wedding day timeline and we know it can be overwhelming! Grab our free guide to plan the perfect timeline for your day. 

Grab Your Guide