The wedding day timeline is incredibly important, not just for your photographer and videographer but for everyone else involved. No matter how laid-back and casual you want your wedding to be, coordinating more than one person (yourself!) always requires a certain bit of planning. It allows us to be on the same page and coordinate with each other. It allows YOU to have a stress-free day that goes smoothly without you worrying about the precious time slipping away and enjoying every moment of your day. Here is a list of 9 most common wedding day timeline mistakes that you want to avoid!

How to Avoid These 9 Wedding Day Timeline Mistakes

1. Not allowing enough time for hair & make-up

Martinstown House Wedding, wedding photographer Kildare

You have probably planned this with your hair and make-up team and they gave you accurate estimates of when you should expect to be done. However, it often tend to run over on the morning of the wedding day, and the last thing you want is feeling rushed. Arrange to start a little earlier (30 minutes to one hour) and give yourself a chance to have some fun, candid photos with your girls without rushing off to the ceremony.

2. Not leaving time for morning photos

bride putting on her earrings bridal portrait vintage 50's bridal style vintage headpiece

Your make-up artist might suggest being the last to get make-up on. It’s not a bad idea in principle but trust me, if you’re having professional make-up done, half an hour won’t make a difference! Having your full look ready earlier will give you more time for those magical morning photos. Even though putting on your dress and shoes might not sound like something that will take a full hour, I always advise to leave 45 between having your hair & make-up done and leaving for the ceremony. Besides the fact that things tend to take more time than you thought, this is also a very emotional time. It’s also a great opportunity for some candid photographs and romantic portraits. Don’t take it away from yourself!

3. Not considering the first look

groom in tears when he sees bride for the first time first look at barberstown castle wedding

It’s perfectly fine to be traditional and not want to let your husband see you before you walk down that aisle. However, I’m delighted to see that first looks are becoming more and more popular, and there’s plenty of reason why. An intimate location will allow your fiance to be more emotional, and your make-up will be perfect and fresh. It also lets you have tons of time to get photographs taken beforehand without skipping time with the guests during your wedding reception. This could also be the perfect option if you’re having a winter wedding when it gets dark early! As wedding day timeline mistakes go, this little trick one could help you avoid many other problems. If you’re not having a traditional ceremony or planning to arrive to the wedding together, there’s no reason not to have the first look!

4. Forgetting about the receiving line

grandmother hugging bride after ceremony emotional wedding photo

When you plan your day, make sure to not only take into account the ceremony time but add at least 45 minutes to it. The idea of hugging and thanking everyone at the exit from the church might feel so natural that you may not realise the time you spend with each guest. Imagine having 120 guests and spending just half a minute to say hi and accept their good wishes. That’s already an extra hour! Depending on the weather, receiving lines can be slower (on a nice summer’s day) or quicker (when it’s nippy or rainy in winter). In any case, don’t expect to be our of the church 10 minutes after the end of service. But unless you want to skip tradition completely and jump straight into the car, don’t think of receiving lines as a waste of time either. As a photographer, I see it as the perfect chance to get candid and emotional pictures of every guest!

5. Not organizing family photos beforehand

bridal party at the pier ashley park house wedding

This is one of the most common wedding day timeline mistakes and reasons for delays. Getting everyone together in the same photograph, especially if you have a large bridal party, will not be easy. Prepare a list beforehand! This is the ONLY list of photos I ever ask my couples for, but it’s an extremely important one. Know exactly who you’d like to see in each of your group photos because it’s not something your photographer will ever be able to guess. Make sure you have helpers who have a copy of the list, know who is who (the photographer probably won’t know your family and friends) and can get everyone in one location at the right time.

6. Not clearing photography locations

autumn wedding in dublin city couple photos st stephen's green

Perhaps especially relevant for city weddings, you want to make sure that the places you want to have taken photos in are available on the day, and as a wedding photographer Dublin I come across this hurdle all the time. It’s rarely a problem when you plan a country wedding, but in cities you often need to know opening times and get permits from the city council in advance. Park wardens can be strict, and you will definitely stand out on the day! Most of the time the permissions are free, all you need to do is organize them ahead of time.

7. Not having a rain plan

wedding couple on a rainy day under the umbrella dublin city wedding

Ireland sadly cannot boast the perfect Californian climate, and having some bit of rain on your wedding day is a very likely possibility. I always say that sometimes a bit of dramatic skies make for the best photographs! In any case, have a plan B for your ceremony and photo locations in case of a downpour. Or alternatively grab a pretty umbrella and  embrace the elements like Aoife and Matt did! But definitely don’t stress about the weather!

8. Having dinner too late.

top table toast at ashley park house wedding

You don’t want to leave your guests restless and hungry. Plan for about an hour and a half to 2 hours for your drinks reception, plus travel time from your ceremony location to the reception venue. Having speeches before dinner might be a tempting idea but don’t forget what happens when people drink on an empty stomach! If you have a big line-up for speeches think about having a few before and a few after dinner. This way your guests won’t have to sit through 90 minutes of stories in one go!

9. Stressing About Little Things

To say that a wedding day is busy would be an understatement. At the end of it all, it’s not about saying hi to every single guest or making your family happy. It’s not even about creating epic photos. Your wedding day is about you and your love for each other. Don’t let the stress and the planning overwhelm you. Plan to take a little break, maybe even 20 minutes, for just the two of you. Take it all in, enjoy the quiet moment and go back to the party!