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8 Tips For Planning Your Wedding Day Timeline To Help Keep Your Sanity

Bride getting into her wedding dress with help from bridesmaids from Atlanta wedding photographers Matthew Druin + Co

Schedule Enough Time For Getting Ready 

When planning your wedding day timeline, one of the biggest things that happens most often is couples not planning enough time for getting ready. It’s better to have too much time than not enough. Makeup artists can run late, bridal parties can run late, or you might be running late. Sometimes hair and make up doesn’t goes as smooth as you thought it would or someone needs makeup redone.

Try to avoid having to travel to your hair / makeup and instead have them come to you. This will help you relax more and not have to deal with all the hustle of driving all over the place for different things. Plus, you and your bridal party will already be at your getting ready location, so if they need quickly get into dresses or outfits, they can start right away.

Often the bride is the last to have their hair / makeup done which makes sense, but it’s not really the best way. Bridal hair / makeup always takes the longest, and honestly, it’s the most important. This will give you more time to relax and enjoy your time with your bridal party without stressing about having enough time to get your hair / makeup perfect. The hair / makeup team will still be around, so you can always have touchups done if you need.

If your bridal party is paying for their own hair / makeup, be sure to communicate to your bridal party exactly how much it will cost. We’ve seen often people desperately searching for extra money to paying the hair or makeup artists.Mother helping bride into her wedding dress from Atlanta wedding photographers Matthew Druin + Co

Have Everyone Dressed Early Enough

When should everyone get ready? Before you do. We always suggest your bridal party and even family should be dressed at least 30 minutes before you are. Aside from being able to make sure everyone is ready to go, it’s great for photos. When your bridal party is gathered around you as you’re getting your dress on, jeans and t-shirts don’t look as great as their dresses. Or, when your father or other significant person sees you for the first time, they will look their best. Plus, once your finished getting ready, everyone else is already done, which is perfect for moving right into bridal portraits.Bride, groom, and bridal party in downtown Atlanta from Atlanta wedding photographers Matthew Druin + Co

Don’t Attended Your Final Dress Fitting Alone

This often seems to be a big time killer. Wedding dresses can be pretty complicated with all the buttons, zippers, lace, ect. Knowing exactly how to get into the dress, how it should fit, and how to get it closed will save you a ton of time.

We have been in situations where no one knew how to get the dress on relaying on youtube videos, trial and error, and even having us show them. Not that we don’t mind helping out when we are needed, but it’s hard to capture moments while lacing up a wedding dress. :)

We suggest to at least have one person that will be with you on your wedding day to attend the final fitting and learn from the seamstress exactly how to do everything. Heck, have your whole bridal party, mother, and anyone else come, just so everyone knows. Be sure they know how to bustle your dress as well.Indian bride showing Mehndi hands from Atlanta wedding photographers Matthew Druin + Co

Distance Time Killers

Having too much drive time between your getting ready location and ceremony location or ceremony location and reception location can be big time killers. We are not saying you shouldn’t get ready where you want or have your reception where you’d like, but keep drive time in mind. Also, plan for the unexpected like traffic.

Once we photographed a wedding where the bride got ready at her house and it was 40 min away from the ceremony location. The makeup artist was late and everything was a little unorganized which put getting ready behind about 20 minutes. Then driving to the ceremony location there was more traffic  than usual which added another 30 minutes. By the time everyone arrived to the ceremony location they were an hour late which was the time we had for bridal party photos.

Aside from being late, this added a lot of extra stress that could have been avoided by getting a hotel closer to the ceremony location. We also had to move the bridal photos to a later point in the day cutting into reception time.

Another benefit of being close, if anything is ever forgotten, you are close enough that someone can quickly run back to pic it up.Kid throwing love pillow at wedding at Neverland Farms from Atlanta wedding photographers Matthew Druin + Co

Plan Enough Time For Family Portraits 

We typically don’t shoot family formals, but we understand for some couples, family portraits are really important. If we are doing family portraits, we like to keep things simple capturing one large group photo of everyone together, one of each partners side of the family, and finally immediate family of both sides. The more variations of portraits, the more time it will take.

If you are doing a First Look, you can do the family portraits about an hour before the ceremony. This will allow 30 minutes for photos and about 10-15 minutes for touchups, and 10 minutes or so to get in place.

If you are not doing a First Look, having the family portraits done right after the ceremony is best. This way everyone is already there and ready. Plan on 45 minutes for family portraits. Often we can finish them in 20-30 minutes if everyone is there and ready and that give use an extra 15 minutes for portraits with your groom or partner.

If you have a larger family, or even if you don’t, we always suggest putting someone that knows everyone in the family in charge of making sure everyone is there. Of course, you could give a list of names, but since we don’t know anyone, it’s a lot harder for us to gather people and we also can’t take photos while searching for family members.Bride and groom on beach at sunset at Orlando wedding from Atlanta wedding photographers Matthew Druin + Co

Plan More Time For Your Portraits

When planning your day, be sure to plan a little more time for your portraits alone with your new groom or partner. These are the beautiful portraits you will hang in your home and grace your wedding album, so they are extra important. Our style of portraits takes time and we want them to be as epic as you are. It’s best to plan at least an hour for your portraits. This will give us plenty of time to set up and get the shots you love. Also, if we will be driving to alternate locations pad a little more time for driving, traffic, packing up equipment, ect.Bride getting ready for Atlanta wedding in limo from Atlanta wedding photographers Matthew Druin + Co

Cutting It Close With Limos and Other Transportation

Limos and wedding transportation can be expensive, especially when you are paying by the hour. You might think to have the transportation arrive or depart at as close to the time as possible to save a little money, but this can lead to so unnecessary stress.Bride and groom at alter of Atlanta wedding ceremony from Atlanta wedding photographers Matthew Druin + Co

Be Sure To Give Your Wedding Day Timeline A Cushion

Ask just about any of your married friends or wedding vendors and they’ll almost all agree that weddings rarely ever start exactly on time regardless of how much planning you do. However, all is not lost, especially if you have padded your timeline. If your hair takes a little longer, your officiant talks a little more than you anticipated, or anything comes, you’ll be prepared.

We suggest adding 15-20 minutes to all the key areas of your day. For example, getting ready, family portraits, your portraits, ceremony, and reception. This will allow you to remain stress-free and more than likely not have to cut into in other areas of your day if someones running late, traffic sucks, you lose you wedding ring (this has happened three times so far!), or any number of crazy things pop up.

If you end up running a perfect wedding day, awesome! you can use the time to relax, touchup, have a drink with yours friends, and enjoy your day. One last tip, we suggest adding 15 minutes just for you and your new groom or partner. Wedding days are crazy fast and often you do not get time to just hang out with your love and soak it all in.Bride and groom at the Fox Theatre from Atlanta wedding photographers Matthew Druin + Co

My name is Matt Druin and I’m an Atlanta wedding photographer that specializes in unique, offbeat weddings for all awesome people! Not only do I shoot amazing Atlanta weddings, but I also travel frequently for destination weddings, and weddings all over, with no travel fees in the US for amazing wedding photography. I also shoot Atlanta engagement sessions for newly engaged couples. I’ve even been known to travel, and far, for engagement sessions too!

Contact Atlanta Wedding Photographer Matthew Druin

Email [email protected]

Phone 678-551-0115

Address 225 Parkway 575 #66 Woodstock, Georgia 30188



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