How to Decide on the Best Wedding Timeline | AHP


June 30, 2021

How to Decide on The Best Wedding Timeline

Your wedding day will go by so fast. If you’ve heard that before, you may be wondering how to decide on the best wedding timeline in order to make the most of the day. I’m here to help! Both your wedding vendors and your guests will benefit from a clear timeline that is well organized. This helps your vendors (including your photographer) make sure the day goes smoothly and that everything you want for your day is included.

One of the biggest decisions you will make when setting your wedding timeline is whether or not to do a first look. That will determine the order of events for your day, and how much time you have for portraits and festivities. Keeping a wedding checklist of everything you need to do before the big day will also help you stay organized.

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A Wedding Timeline with a First Look

While the engaged couple traditionally did not see each other until they walk down the aisle, many couples are choosing to have a first look before the ceremony. A first look gives the couple a chance to spend time together, show off their wedding day looks, and take it all in. There are benefits and drawbacks to this type of wedding day timeline.

The Benefits of a First Look

One of the main perks of choosing to do a first look is that it gives you more time for all the other aspects of your day! Since you and your spouse-to-be plan to see each other before the ceremony, you can schedule your portraits for earlier in the day. You can also include your immediate family in these portraits, giving you more time after the ceremony to enjoy a cocktail hour and socializing.

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Seeing your betrothed before the ceremony may also help you relax. Some couples find that the nerves build up as the morning goes on, and they may feel like there is a lot of attention on them. Having a first look gives you and your fiancé(e) time to breathe. You can read each other letters, hold each other’s hands, and soak in your big day together. This may help you feel centered before the ceremony when all eyes are on you.

Potential Drawbacks of a First Look

While there are not many drawbacks to a first look, it should be noted that a wedding timeline with a first look must start earlier in the day. This means getting ready in the morning, and coordinating with your wedding party, hair and makeup artists, and family. If you or your spouse-to-be like to sleep in, skipping the first look should give you more time before the ceremony to relax and get ready.

Wedding Day Getting Ready Details | Tacoma Wedding Photographer Amanda Howse

Some couples may also find that this less traditional route does not appeal to them. For these couples, it’s important to save the reaction of seeing each other for the first time for the walk down the aisle. If you prefer a more traditional wedding day, your wedding timeline may not include a first look.

A Wedding Timeline without a First Look

Like a wedding timeline with a first look, there are benefits and drawbacks to a wedding day without one. These should be carefully considered with your fiancé(e), wedding planner, and photographer when deciding on your wedding day timeline.

Bride and Groom Portrait Details | Wedding Day Timeline | Photographed by Tacoma Wedding Photographer Amanda Howse

The Pros of Skipping the First Look

Without a first look, your wedding timeline can start later in the day. This often means better lighting for portraits, as they will be done after the ceremony. This allows you to get ready later and potentially feel less stressed if you are not usually a morning person.

Skipping the first look also means that the first time you see your spouse-to-be is when your ceremony begins. The walk down the aisle can be emotional, and your photographer will capture that initial reaction.

A Wedding Day Timeline Without a First Look | Saving Your Reaction for The Walk Down the Aisle | Advice from Tacoma Wedding Photographer Amanda Howse

Potential Cons

A potential downside to having your portraits done after your ceremony is that your hair and makeup may not feel as fresh. Your professional hair and makeup artist will still style you with your full wedding day timeline in mind, and your look should last! But some couples find that they want the most important portraits done immediately after hair and makeup.

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Saving all of your portraits for after the ceremony may also feel stressful, especially if you have a large extended family. Portraits take time, and couples who decide on this wedding timeline may find that they have to skip the cocktail hour in favor of portraits. You can also split the portraits up, though, and sneak away after dinner for some golden hour couple portraits!

Golden Hour Couple Portraits | How to Have a Wedding Day Timeline Without a First Look | Photographed by Tacoma's Best Wedding Photographer Amanda Howse

Deciding What Works Best for You

The most important thing to remember when deciding on your wedding timeline is that it is your day. Don’t feel pressured to pick a timeline that goes against what you’ve envisioned for the day. Having these conversations early with your future spouse, wedding planner, and photographer will help ensure your day goes smoothly. With either timeline, it’s possible to include everything you want!

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Let’s Connect

If you are interested in booking me as your wedding photographer, I would love to connect! You can always reach out on my website to get the conversation started.  You can also email me at [email protected], or call/text me at 530-412-0730. I can’t wait to hear from you.

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