I'm Dolly — a Nashville based branding photographer for small business owners & a systems + workflow educator (and Podcast Host) for creatives who want to be more streamlined and organized with Systems, Workflows & Dubsado. I'm here to help you look awesome (for your photos) & feel great about workflows!
(To determine if you would want a first look, read about it in my blog post HERE. That is a good place to start when you are planning out your timeline!)
So what exactly IS a wedding timeline? A timeline is basically a plan of action for you and your wedding planner to sit and figure out how your day will run from start to finish. Building a wedding timeline is not for the faint of heart, but if constructed well, it can help make your wedding day run smoothly. There are many aspects to consider when creating wedding timelines, things that many people do not think about.
First, there is the obvious aspect, timing. I suggest that you first contact your venue. The venue’s coordinator will be able to provide a time for when the venue is open for set up. Once that time is known, the other vendors are able to create their schedules. (For example, If the venue is not available until 3 pm, then there is no reason for the other vendors to arrive until 3 pm as well. However, if the venue is setting the chairs and linens, then the other vendors may not need to arrive until 3:30 pm).
Two weeks before the wedding normally your wedding planner (or you) will call all of the vendors and double-check for any new changes. Once all vendors have been contacted send them all copies of the wedding timeline. In this timeline add a section called Vendor information and there you should list the company name, service provided, a contact person’s name, as well as their phone number. Do this to help the vendors know who they are working with and how to contact each other. When you reach one week mark before the wedding make another round of calls to the vendors, this allows you to answer any questions that may come up and to triple-check the important details of the contracts of your vendors as well.
So here is normally where I, the wedding photographer, come in. When couples book me for their wedding after the consultation, I send over a timeline questionnaire for the couple to fill out to determine how long I am needed for the wedding. Since I am an elopement and intimate wedding photographer I am, on average, shooting weddings between 3-4 hours. Please note: there is not a good or bad amount of coverage, it just helps you better plan when you want the photographer there and what exactly you wish for the photographer to capture. If you have a grand exit planned then you want to make sure the photographer is there to take photos. But if you have no special exit planned then maybe it would be better to have them arrive earlier and get more photos before the ceremony. Whatever you decide the timeline will include all photo sessions in detail meaning, getting ready, bride and groom’s details photos, first look, couple’s portraits, wedding party, immediate family, ceremony and reception details and couple’s exit, etc.
As a photographer, I understand why a timeline is important to have in place for your wedding. However, not everyone understands why. There are many aspects to think about when creating timelines, and constructing one is not something that should be taken lightly. Having even the smallest error on a timeline could lead to a domino effect of errors. A well-constructed timeline allows for a seamlessly executed wedding. Plus, I really want to honor your time at your wedding. As a wedding vendor, I do not want to monopolize and take up all of your time by keeping you away from your guests and loved ones. This is YOUR day and you deserve to be surrounded by the ones you love as you celebrate a new chapter in life. I try to be as efficient as possible, and a timeline is super helpful in keeping me on task so that I know where I need to be, and what area of the wedding I need to cover.
So at this point, you may be thinking “But Dolly! I am the most stress-free person and I want my wedding to be super chill and relaxed!” Yes, that is something I totally want for you too, but let me stress that one of the secrets to a stress-free day is to have a timeline. Again, I know life happens and sometimes a timeline can be thrown off due to unforeseen circumstances such as weather, or traffic delaying the wedding party/guests, etc. But My advice is always to give yourself some buffer time because ultimately all weddings have something that goes unplanned. Your hair and makeup team may take longer, your bridal party may be late driving from the salon to the church (or venue), your family or guests may be late, the children in your wedding party may decide to have a meltdown at the designated photography time, I could go on and on with examples, but you get it, timelines are important.
I hope this helps out in a big way! And I hope it inspires you to sit down with your fiance and create a timeline of events for your wedding or at least I hope it encourages you to think about what you want your day to look like!
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If you need some inspiration, click on the link below for several examples of what a wedding timeline looks like! I want to make sure to give you a tangible way to plan out your day!
As promised, here is your free download of several different types of timelines to use as inspiration when crafting your own wedding day timeline! Click on the link HERE and you’ll receive a BUNCH of wedding planning freebies from me! I promise to only send you content that will add value to your wedding planning process!
As always, thank you so much for keeping up with my wedding photography adventures! I love serving you all through photography and I especially love working with couples who are joyful and excited about getting married! If you are newly engaged and are looking to work with a wedding photographer who would best capture and illustrate your love story with radiant and joyful portraits, please feel free to reach out to me!
Dolly DeLong is wife to a super cute computer nerd, mama to a little drool machine, and a destination elopement photographer, family photographer, and personal branding photographer based out of Nashville, Tennessee. Even though she loves all things social media, Dolly was born in the mid-80s, so she likes to stress to people she is not a cool Millennial, and she remembers dial-up internet from when she was in high school. Whenever she has a spare moment, she enjoys watching TV (i.e. Survivor), eating way too many sweets, and listening to podcasts while running or walking. To work with Dolly DeLong Photography, please email her at email@example.com or fill out her contact form here.
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