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The wedding day and how it all comes together can be daunting for even the most organized bride to understand, and the biggest complaint we hear is feeling like you never had a moment to just breathe in all the rush! We’ve got 6 tips to help you time out the essentials so your big day is a breeze!

1. Begin With Your Photographer In Mind

Old Tappan Manor

The single biggest influence on your wedding day timeline? Photography coverage. While we’d love to have a photography and videography team on hand all day to catch every precious moment, sometimes our budget just doesn’t allow it. However, there there are ways to maximize any photography contract as long as you get clear on what your most important moments are and make sure they’re reflected in your timeline!

Your prioritization should start in the middle of the day and work in either direction. Allot 30 minutes apiece for the ceremony (surprisingly it usually isn’t even this long), wedding party photos, family photos and pictures of just you and the groom! Knowing how much of your photographers contract these items will take up will tell you how much time you have left, and you can determine the sequence of your timeline from there.

2. Really Consider a First Look

Lin & Jirsa Photography

Some couples don’t want to see each other before the ceremony, and that’s okay! Just know that this superstition actually dates back to when arranged marriages were popular. Parents were afraid that if either the bride or groom caught a glimpse of each other beforehand and didn’t like what they saw, they might not go through with the ceremony! We’re pretty sure you know your groom by now, so a sweet First Look moment might be the way to go. The major bonus of this? This allows for most of your formal photos to be finished before the ceremony, and a less rushed day!

3. Plug In Some Downtime For You and Your Newlywed

Bride and groom quiet time

Unique2Chic Photography

The wedding day flies by so fast that you’ll probably feel like you were rushing from dawn until dusk. Right after the ceremony is a great time to slip off to a quiet corner, have a little snack and get some quiet time with your spouse so you can recharge before the reception starts. If you’ve done a first look and cranked out all those photos before the ceremony, the cocktail hour is a great time to catch a break!

4. Find Out If Your Hair and Makeup Artist Has an Assistant

Dinela Photography

Generally, you can allot one hour for hair and makeup for one person. If you have 10 bridesmaids all getting glammed up and only one MUA, this is going to make for a very early morning! The best way to cut prep time in half and make sure you’re well-rested for the big day is to have two girls getting service at one time. An assistant can tackle hairstyles while the artist takes care of makeup. By double-teaming it, you can cut prep time in half and keep the morning moving efficiently.

5. Speaking of Hair and Makeup, Know the Trick Behind Getting Ready Photos

We’ll let you in on a little coordination secret: Those glam hair and makeup getting ready shots that you can’t wait to have for your album? Those are catching the very end of the brides services, and may include a little staging. The brides hair and makeup should be mostly done before the photographer arrives, so that any artful photos of lipstick application, eyeshadow blending or powder brushing are just that. Think about it, do you really want photos of your makeup half done or unblended contouring? Plus, staging these photos in a few minutes frees up more time for your photographer to catch the reception if you don’t have a full day contract!

6. Keep Mealtime Moving

One of the pitfalls of the reception that can derail your timeline is mealtime stretching on too long with nothing going on as guests are being served. A quick fix to this is to have a coordinator, designated helper or your venues banquet captain designate an order to have tables served You can even provide a list of tables that should be served first (like family or bridal party tables!)
One of the major perks of being the bride and groom here is that most venues or coordinators will fix you a plate first. While all your guests are still being served dinner, you’ll be mostly through! Max out this downtime with even more priceless pics. Think sunset session of you and your groom, or photos with each table. Clue your banquet captain in if you want table pictures, and guests will stop off at the dance floor for a quick snap before tucking in.