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Timeline Tips for DC Weddings

bride and groom walking back down the aisle after their ceremony

A well crafted and executed timeline is vital to make sure your wedding day runs as smoothly as possible. Weddings in Washington, DC often have complicated timelines with ceremonies and receptions taking place at different locations. Although timelines are unique to every couple’s wedding day, they are all dependent on venues, vendors, families and much more.

Here are 5 tips that will help you make the most of the timeline for your Washington, DC wedding.

1. Consider your wedding’s unique logistics

Things to keep in mind when planning your timeline are the location of your preparation, ceremony, and reception locations. Is there travel time required between locations? How will you, your wedding party, and your guests go to and from the ceremony site and reception if they are in separate locations? Will you be providing transportation or will they be responsible for their own transportation? 

Are you planning to have a first look? If so, will you do all your portraits, wedding party photos, and family formals before the ceremony? Are you planning to have portraits taken during golden hour?

How long is your ceremony? How long is cocktail hour?

How many dances and toasts will you have? Are you having a cake cutting?

How much time are each of your vendors contracted for?

2. Always start early. 

Hair and makeup takes longer than you might think. Always plan for extra time for hair and makeup. In my experience, it tends to go over the estimated time. And if it doesn’t, well then you have some buffer, which is better than running behind. Because hair and makeup is usually how a bride starts their wedding day, if it runs behind then the entire timeline can be thrown off and you will have to sacrifice that time in your portraits to keep the ceremony and reception on time.

3. Consult the experts. 

A wedding planner is vital to every wedding day. Wedding planners, coordinators, and venue managers will know how to best plan out your day based on their experiences and can make recommendations and adjustments that will help craft the best timeline for your wedding day.

4. Build in buffer time.

There may be some small details you have forgotten to include in your timeline. Buffer time if great if your wedding day requires travel between locations, if there is traffic or other unexpected delays. Planning ahead for something running behind or causing a delay will be something you’ll be glad you built into your timeline.

5. Give the VIPs the info they need.

Provide everyone in the wedding party and immediate family a timeline. Make sure to give your planner’s, photographer’s, and videographer’s contact info to your Maid of Honor and Best Man. Distribute a family formals list to everyone who will be included in the photos and make sure they know where they need to be and at what time.

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Washington DC Wedding Photographers