Fairhope Wedding Photographer & Educator | Ellison Smith Creative- Formerly Goodie & Smith Weddings

5 Tips for a Perfect Wedding Day Timeline

Planning a wedding day always feels like the fun part of the process, until the big day arrives. Then, the real fun begins! While many brides and grooms are ecstatic on their wedding day, a good number of couples also experience a lot of stress. They worry about how everything will flow, if people will be where they’re supposed to be, and they worry about their vendors. We know a lot of them worry about the weather and too many things beyond their control, too! It’s normal to worry – especially about such a special day. But, today we’re going to share 5 tips for a perfect wedding day timeline with you! These tips will help your day run more smoothly from the start and make your day more enjoyable, instead of stressful! 

modern ceremony setup at Marche with wedding planning tips from Goodie and Smith Weddings

1. Pad your wedding timeline.

It’s no surprise tip #1 is simply to pad your timeline. Make sure there’s space between activities on your schedule. Whether it’s being transported from location to location, or simply what time the cocktail hour starts, leave wiggle room. Traffic happens. People run late or go missing. Kids act up. Weather changes. Whatever it is, plan to have some space in between the big moments of the day so you have a chance to breathe. 

2. Consider a first look.

If you really want your wedding day timeline to flow, having a first look will help! First looks allow you to wind up with more time together than waiting until after the ceremony to see each other. They also allow us to get more family portraits done before the ceremony. This means after the ceremony, we focus on the big groups and then a few more portraits of the two of you. After that, you can join the cocktail hour, spend a little time together privately, or whatever makes sense for your big day! We wind up having less to squeeze in between the ceremony and reception, which makes everyone feel a bit better! 

wedding portraits along Mississippi River with Goodie and Smith Weddings

3. Have all your details together before your photographer arrives.

This is possibly the easiest tip in this list! Keep all of your wedding morning details together and have them ready for our arrival. Gather your wedding bands, jewelry, shoes, an invitation suite, your veil, flowers, and anything else you might want documented. Place them in a bag or in one central location so when we arrive we can start on the detail shots. This avoids last minute scrambling around the room to make sure we didn’t forget anything!

wedding invitations with rustic flair and tips for wedding timeline from Goodie and Smith Weddings

4. Keep hair & makeup on schedule.

This step sounds really easy – but, if you’ve ever been part of a wedding before, you know that keeping hair and makeup moving isn’t always the easiest thing. My advice is two-fold. Make sure you, the bride, go first! That way no matter what happens, you’re ready to go. This will allow us to have time for any getting ready photos you want and some bridal portraits too. The other is to work closely with your hair and makeup artists to make sure you have given plenty of time for everyone having their look done by the professionals. Avoid last minute add-ons or touch ups to the schedule and you should be fine! 

5. Determine your priorities. 

If you really want sunset portraits, make sure you let the photographer, DJ, and planner know. We would hate to have you be introduced to your reception as the sun is setting. If you want to make sure you make it to cocktail hour, let’s talk about a first look more seriously! Whatever matters to you on your wedding day, we can accommodate (in most cases) but only if we know ahead of time! 

romantic wedding portraits in Fairhope AL with Goodie and Smith Weddings

Bonus Tip 6. Trust your vendors. 

A bonus tip! This one might be the most important of all: trusting your vendors. Whoever you hire, make sure that you trust in their experience and services. We’re here to make your wedding day everything you dreamed. Provide us your timeline along with the moments that matter most. We’ll help you clean it up, make sure it flows well, and we’ll help monitor it on the day of your wedding. Trust that no matter what happens, we’ll be there for you. If it rains and Plan B is pulled out, we’ll roll with it. We’re here for you! 

bride and groom pose by vintage car while talking about wedding day timeline with Goodie and Smith Weddings

The reality is, no wedding day is perfect. Nothing ever really goes according to plan. But, with a little preparation and some thoughts about your wedding day timeline, we can be sure that you feel more confident your day will run smoothly no matter what happens.

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Fairhope Alabama Wedding Photographer formerly Goodie and Smith weddings

meet Jessica


Hi! I’m Jessica, owner and lead photographer at Ellison Smith Creative- the Gulf Coast’s only full service wedding photography studio. I am so glad you’re here! Please show yourself around and you’ll soon see that I believe that my clients DESERVE IT ALL! 

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