Everyone tells you your wedding goes by in a flash. And they are right. But you might not realize how right you really are. They key to making your wedding day last is in the timeline, and the current traditional timeline needs a lot of work. So let's dive into this, shall we?
You are on a schedule the whole time. Have you ever been on a minute by minute schedule for 8 hours straight? It is kind of brutal, and that's the honest truth. I pad timelines throughly, and yes, sometimes things are a little off. Honestly, the timeline is second for me to the feeling of the day. Want to do rounds at tables (which are taking more time than we alloted for), do it! The timeline is meant as a guide, so I always make it second to the couple creating amazing memories on their wedding day. That said, there are some things you can do to make yourself feel a little less scheduled throughout the day.
Getting ready: Start getting ready early, enjoy your time with you girls and make a morning out of it. Drink mimosas, get breakfast delivered and make that time a great experience for your bridal party. It's your wedding day, what else do you have to do?!
First look: Do it. Seriously. It'll save you so much "wedding time". When couples opt for a first look it offers a chance for you to get a lot of photos done ahead of time - bride portraits, groom portraits, bridesmaids photos, groomsmen photos, couple photos and full bridal party photos. I like to give about 2 hours of time before the wedding for all these shots, plus about a half hour before the ceremony for touchups and to sit down and take it easy before walking down the aisle.
When couples don't do a first look, all the above photos I listed out have to be done during cocktail hour. This means a few things - you definitely won't be joining the cocktail hour, and you won't have a chance to breathe before we are onto the next. A first look allows you and your bridal party to enjoy a bit more of the actual wedding since we got so much out of the way ahead of time.
Family photos: Ahh family photos. Now these are kind of a pain logistically. Of course you want some photos with your wonderful family, and you should have them, but try to keep the list short. Keep it as close to immediate family as possible, and always make sure you have a family shot list planned. This will help the photographer get all the shots you are hoping for, and will give them a list of names to call out for each photo. Unfortunately your sweet aunt doesn't realize that grabbing a drink and chowing down on the yummy apps while everyone is looking for her, well, that's taking time out of your couple portraits or maybe even your 15 minutes of time to enjoy cocktail hour. Let your family know ahead of time if they are in photos and tell them to be around and available so we don't have to go on the search for them!
Dinner: take a few minutes to eat and then it is off to do rounds and say hi to your guests for the first time since the wedding began! (3 ish hours later!!). But that can't take too long because you've got sunset photos and toasts! It is all a whirlwind. If you do a first look, you'll have been able to enjoy cocktail hour and at least say hi to a few people. Not too much you can do here in terms of making this time last a little longer, but do tell each person giving a toast to be mindful of the time. They don't have to rush it, but telling them to be mindful will help them understand that they don't have an infinite amount of time.
Dancing: Once you've hit the dancing portion you have a little more freedom to let lose and enjoy yourself. This is often the first time you'll get a moment to yourself. Do you want that interrupted by yet another thing? Cake cuttings, bouquet/garter tosses and other little traditions of that nature can be awesome if you're into them, or they could just be one more thing that pulls you off the dance floor. Just think about it before saying you definitely must do them.
TLDR (Too Long, Didn't Read):
Do a first look and get as many pictures as you can done before the ceremony starts.
Create a shot list for family photos and keep the number of photos to a minimum.
Add 10 minutes into your timeline right after the ceremony for some alone time with your new husband! Believe me, it is worth it.
Tell the special people giving toasts to be mindful of time.
Toss out tradition. It's your wedding day, you don't have to do anything. If cake cutting or the bouquet toss have no meaning to you, scratch them.