Wedding Day Timeline Tip-Off


Everyone warns you how your wedding day will FLY BY. It’s true. I can confirm with all the others that the months you put into planning will feel like a matter of minutes then POOF…it’s over. I know it’s sad for you to hear. The girl reading this right now who is currently planning her wedding. But I have good news for you! I have a few tips into creating a flawless timeline for your wedding day that will help a tad bit with good timing and great flow to your day to make it memorable in all the good ways.

Tip #1: THROW IT INTO REVERSE! For best timing you almost have to map out your day in reverse. I usually start with what time dinner is starting. Typically in the wedding industry, dinners are starting at 6:30pm. This then allows your guests to enjoy a cocktail hour (usually from 5pm – 6pm) then be called to their seats (which is seriously like herding cattle) for dinner to actually get started at 6:30pm.

I also suggest scheduling your Grand March for 6:00pm. This is the part where you pick a current hit song and the bridal party enters the room doing little embarrassing skits / dances. Typically the Bride and Groom will be introduced last. This is pretty fun because all your guests stand up and cheer for you and you feel like you’re winning a Grammy or something. This is a great opportunity while all eyes are on you to cut the cake or even better to do your first dance right away! I’ve recently been seeing couples doing their first dance right away and this is really great because you have your guests devoted attention. If you do your first dance after dinner most of your guests will be watching from by the bar or out on a balcony of some sort and will miss the whole thing. My suggestion is to utilize the attention from the grand march and cut the cake as well as do your first dance!!!

Tip #2: SERIOUSLY CONSIDER DOING A FIRST LOOK BEFORE THE FIRST LOOK. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about; a first look is when the groom sees the bride for the first time on wedding day. Traditionally this is when the bride is walking down the aisle at the ceremony. This is what is in all the Hollywood movies and has been drilled into our heads and filling our expectations of a first look since we’ve been little girls. Truth be told seeing each other before the ceremony is one of the best things you can do for your wedding day. WHY YOU ASK? It gives you the chance to see each other and get all your bridal party photos and coordinated shots done before the ceremony so afterwards you can actually enjoy the party you’ve planned.

Pros and Cons of doing a first look before the ceremony: A pro for seeing each other before the ceremony is that it eliminates the large time gap between ceremony and cocktail hour. Mainly this time is used for taking photos. If you had already taken all the photos you can go right into your cocktail hour! This allows you to actually be at your cocktail hour and be with to your guests! If you wait for the first look to be when you’re walking down the aisle then you most likely are skipping your cocktail hour and using the time to take photos.

Another great factor to seeing each other beforehand is the day is SO much more relaxed. I can’t even tell you the difference in wedding days where the couples decide to see each other beforehand compared to the ones that wait. The couples who see each other beforehand are not rushed, stressed, and really get to enjoy the day! The weddings where they wait till the ceremony then forces the photographers to work quickly and get all the photos within the limited time we have between your ceremony and reception. If you’re thinking “No problem…we’ll just put a 4 hour gap in between our ceremony and reception…” you are wrong! What are your guests supposed to be doing in the meantime? They are all dressed up with nothing to do so I’ll tell you what they are going to do; DRINK! They are going to go to a nearby bar and DRINK.

Really the only con to a first look before the ceremony is compromising your expectations and your dreams of him seeing you for the first time walking down the aisle. And that’s ok! I can tell you though whenever we’ve done a first look it is so special and romantic. PLUS almost always the groom still cries when the bride walks down the aisle! It does not desensitize that moment and feeling. Pinky promise.

So seriously consider having a first look before your ceremony. This allows you to push your ceremony time closer to your reception time and eliminates the awkward gap between. This also gives you the ability to walk freely through your cocktail hour already having all your photos done.

Tip #3 ALLOW ENOUGH TIME TO GET READY. An up-do can take up to 1.5 hours but usually is around 45mins – 1 hour depending on the stylist. So let’s say you have 5 girls, plus the bride, PLUS the mom’s and flowers girls if you decide to invite along. Now that is about 9 ladies needing their hair done. That’s for an average wedding party size. That is 9 hours of hair and don’t forget about makeup! All I’m saying is make sure you have at least 2 stylists to tackle the bridal party hair. Even better go to a salon where all their equipment is and lighting is great as well!

I usually suggest for the Bride to go last for hair and makeup. The reasons are selfish in a photography manor and here is why. If I am meeting you for “getting ready pictures” I want the rest of the girls to be fully done. I would also love to come when you’re about half way to almost done with your appointment because do you really want pictures of you with your frizzy dry hair and NO makeup on? I sure wouldn’t want that nor do any of the brides I work with. It’s best to have you half done because this gives us enough time for those getting ready shots along with the candid shots we’ll get of the other girls. Naturally your bridesmaids will be in the background of the photos that I take of you and sometimes they’ll be the main focus of some of the shots as well so it’s best if their hair and makeup are done.

Tip #4 DON’T FORGET LUNCH! Almost every wedding party forgets lunch.  Usually a ceremony start time can be anywhere from noon – 5pm! For us girls our day started at 6, 7, or 8am at the latest on wedding day. That is a loooooooong day without food. It’s also an equation for getting drunk a little too quick on a mimosa or feeling lightheaded/nauseous. The pressure is on and especially for those traditional Catholic ceremonies that run at least an hour! Make sure you are staying hydrated (especially for sumer weddings) and keep eating! Your nerves may tell you otherwise but you need to eat!

If you have any questions or would like to set up a timeline consult with C.Mae Design LLC please email us at c.mae.design@gmail.com

Hope you all have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!


Cassandra Mae.