Does Your Wedding Need A Timeline? | Hilton Head Wedding Photographer


When I get a wedding inquiry, one of the first questions I ask is if the bride has a day of coordinator (sound familiar?).

I have shot my fair share of weddings who did not have a coordinator so the responsibility essentially fell on my shoulders to keep the show on the road. Now, I’m not saying I can’t do it – because I can! There’s just no way I can devote 100% of my attention to you and your picture needs if 24% of my attention is on the day’s events and making sure everyone is where they are supposed to be, when they’re supposed to be.

 I have put together a few timelines for brides who didn’t have a coordinator but were planning on having an aunt or a friend take control the day of.

Why are timelines so important? Basically because they keep everyone on the same page. Think of a wedding as a train. The engineer up at the front is the one in charge of the timeline. All the vendors, family members, bridal party, etc are each their own car, one after the other and each big moment of a wedding (first look, the ceremony, cocktail hour, the grand entrance, the reception, the formal exit) is like a bridge.

Coming up to that first bridge (the first look), we can’t cross that bridge unless the bride and groom are ready! Then comes the ceremony. We can’t get there if the wedding party isn’t ready. If the grandma hasn’t shown up yet. Heck, if the officiant hasn’t shown up yet! Everything is at a standstill until all the pieces have fallen in to place and we can continue on our journey.

By now you’re probably thinking I’ve lost my mind and this comparison is too corny to keep up with, but bear with me.

HMUA needs to know when to show up. Photo & Video need to know when their services are starting. The guys need to know when they have to shower (Yes, this is actually something that is on almost every timeline I’ve seen). It gives your florist the deadline to have the centerpieces and alter ready. It helps your DJ know when to announce toasts, cake cutting, sparklers, and every event in between.

Buuuuut, with all that being said, I’d guess that about half the weddings I’ve worked have fallen off the rails (and that’s okay!) As long as we’re still headed in the right direction, it’s the responsibility of your vendors to get everything back on track. I recently shot a wedding where we were seconds away from introducing the bridal party for the formal entrance in to the reception and the bride’s dad passed out in the parking lot and we had to call an ambulance.  ScreeeeeeechWhat now?! You don’t want your guests to be alarmed (and by now they’re probably getting a little hungry).

This bride’s vendors rallied together, came up with a Plan B, and kept everything moving without a blink. (The dad ended up being all right by the way).

Part of what made the vendor team get along so well is because we had bonded over the organization of the timeline. We knew our duties, we just shifted the order around to accompany this slight hiccup.

Remember one of the first questions I ask a bride when they inquire? I’m always hesitant to take on weddings that don’t have a coordinator or someone in charge of the timeline. More often than not, it spells disaster.

If you’re looking to save on specific areas of your wedding, I get it! If a coordinator is someone you think you can’t afford (although I have contacts for a few really good ones – be sure to hit me up!), at least come up with a good timeline. I’m going to link some examples below of my favorite ones to give you an idea of how important they are…

I’d like to hear your thoughts! Did you have a coordinator for your big day? Did you have an amazing timeline and your day went off without a hitch? Did you forget to make a timeline and regret it? Or anything in between? Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts!

And back to my original question… Who needs a timeline anyway?? YOU DO!

December 19, 2021





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