After working wedding after wedding, I noticed some serious patterns in timeline-trauma. These are things like forgetting your shoes, your hair taking longer than expected to finish, your dress taking too long to button up, etc. These small details that always seemingly go wrong on a wedding day. No one can see them coming or plans for them, yet they happen over and over.
I have things happen on repeat very often even with a warning, and sometimes that is just life. Do I really believe that? Nope. I think that if we can see those errors coming than we should avoid them, right? I can’t predict everything that will happen on your day, because most of the “oops” moments come from a super random unfortunate series of events that you can’t even imagine could happen. However, I can do everything in my power to educate you so that your wedding day isn’t totally derailed by a timeline trip-up.
So what do you do when…
I. Guests show up late…
People will be late. That is one thing I can almost promise you without certainty. It’s human nature to leave at the last second. Even for your wedding day.
Wedding days seem to be a balance of managing guests expectations, and it can be difficult when you keep people waiting for guests that are late. If it were my wedding you know what I would do? Plan for that. I would tell everyone the ceremony is at 3 pm for example, but plan for the real ceremony to start at 3:10 or 3:15. If you’re worried about elderly guests sitting around too long, feel free to communicate to a select few that your wedding won’t actually start at 3 so that they don’t show up half an hour early.
II. There are transportation malfunctions…
Something will go wrong with transportation. Whether it’s because of traffic causing your guests to be late so you pushed back the ceremony, or if it’s because your party bus is 30 minutes behind schedule- something seems to always be going on with transportation. This is something that’s hard to plan for because the extent of the delay can be anywhere from 5 minutes to 30 minutes, and in some cases, even 45 minutes.
Now don’t freak out– plan. Basically make everything after transportation adjustable so that if this does happen to you, you have a plan. If you’re hiring a wedding planner, a situation like this is where they shine. They will make sure everything goes as planned even if you are in this predicament. I also have a ton of info coming your way to help you plan.
III. The timeline is running behind…
This is more of a general statement. The timeline will run behind– almost as if nothing happened, you just seem to have a few things that ran a little bit behind and that has now added up. You look at the clock and you’re somehow twenty minutes behind without even knowing how.
I totally get that sometimes, that’s just how it goes. Your wedding day is going to go by A LOT faster than you think it will, so having a really reliable timeline is of utmost importance. Really when I see this happen most is when hair and makeup don’t finish close to when you thought it would finish.
IV. There is a lost item…
Something will get lost. Someone has to go find it. It’s always something important.
I’ve seen this one happen too many times. It’s always something that was left somewhere 30 minutes away and holds the timeline. It’s usually something we can’t move forward without. True story, I gave one of my brides my own ring two years ago when they couldn’t find her wedding band right before the ceremony.
V. Guests or family members are missing…
This isn’t guests being late like we talked about earlier, this is guests missing for photos. Whether it’s guests just not showing at all or a family member missing during family portraits, I can pretty much guarantee it will happen. I usually suggest notifying your family members well in advance that they will need to be present for family formals directly following the ceremony.
Feel free to copy and paste this email:
“Hey ______(family member)_____!
I’m getting so excited for my wedding day, so I wanted to reach out. I’m so glad you’re able to come and celebrate such a special day to me. You mean so much to ____(fiance)___ and I that we would be honored if you would be a part of our family formals directly following the ceremony. We’re going to be taking them at ____(broad location)____ at the ____(specific location).
It’s very important that you be present directly after the ceremony. Unfortunately, because of limited time after the ceremony, we won’t be able to wait for anyone not there at the time we begin these photos. Anyone not present will be excluded from these images, so make sure you’re there! It’s so important to us to grab those priceless photos with you.
With lots of love,
____(you)___ & ___(fiance)___”
VI. There’s wardrobe malfunctions…
Oh, dresses. Something seems to always happen with the dress right before the bride goes to slip it on. Maybe it got wrinkled in the bag, maybe the buttons took 25 minutes and not the original 10 minutes. This then causes the first two hours of your day to run behind at a constant rate of 25 minutes. Then we had to skip a portion of the pictures all because of a silly dress.
So what do you do? I cover this and a lot more in my guide. The main thing you want to do is try on your dress and time it. That way there is no guessing and you have a very accurate idea for how long it will take to throw it on! I suggest to even do this with a zipper. You should time it from being in your robe all the way to completing your dress, veil, and jewelry.
VII. Someone forgets to do something…
This is something none of us will be able to guess. Maybe the error is something big, such as someone forgetting to book the travel. Maybe is small, such as someone grabbing your shoes for you.
I’ll tell you exactly what you can do during all of those situations to keep your cool and get peace of mind: create a game plan and plan for error on your wedding day. To be honest it all starts at the plan because all of these errors really have one big thing in common… TIME.
The timeline can be the most stressful part of the day and all of these small moments of mess-up can affect your overall experience. Sometimes, if you don’t have the right plan in place, it can have a domino-effect on the timeline and that’s the last thing we want. So what do you even do to avoid these? Well, sometimes life throws punches and we need to prepare because things will go wrong on your wedding day.
Planning for error
The solution to all of your wedding day concerns? It’s all about the plan, a good vendor team, and how you handle it. It’s about understanding the potential failures on your wedding day and planning for them to happen. Basically, prepare for the worst.
Hope for the best, but expect the worst so if it happens, stress won’t even be in your vocab! In all my years of shooting weddings I know that the timeline runs behind at some point (like I’ve mentioned a few times already) and that rain or shine we HAVE to get everything done. Rain or shine- literally and figuratively.
In addition to all the information here, I talk a lot about timelines and how to shape them to plan for this sort of error in my free guide. If you want access to that guide, view that at the bottom of this page! Totally free. Just let me know where to send it!
I hear your concerns and I’m here to tell you exactly what to do.
After hearing the concerns from my couples and personally witnessing timeline-trauma I decided no more. So, I created a FREE guide on how to surround yourself with positivity and end stressful timelines right at the source. Just for you.
In the guide, I cover exactly how to shape your day around ERRORS. All those “what-if” moments become less scary and you can sleep soundly the night before knowing that YOU GOT THIS.
Just let me know where to send it below!!! …
My timeline secrets to achieving the perfect wedding day. What makes wedding timelines run behind time and time again & how to avoid these common mistakes! Just let me know where to send it:
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I’m a hopeless romantic with a big smile and a big heart for capturing incredible couples across the globe. I give photographers the tools to grow a creative and purpose filled business, share my passion through images, educate couples looking to get married and am usually snuggled up with a warm cup of coffee.
My timeline secrets to achieving the perfect wedding day. What makes wedding timelines run behind time and time again & how to avoid these common mistakes.
FIVE SECRETS THAT WILL ENSURE A