Three Things that Can Derail Your Wedding Day Timeline | Wedding Planning Tips | Lehigh Valley Wedding Photographer

3 Things that Can Derail Your Wedding Day Timeline

Everyone knows having a well-designed wedding day timeline is something that is critical to the flow (and, let’s face it, the stress level) of your day. As a Lehigh Valley wedding photographer, I’ve been witness to many wedding days and from what I’ve observed, there are three common reasons why a wedding day timeline can get off-track:

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1. Hair & Makeup Running Late

The Scenario: 

The bride is typically left to the very end of the hair & makeup lineup and after working with 7 lovely bridesmaids, the hair & makeup team has understandably fallen behind. 

(If we are going to fall behind at any point, it’s typically at the beginning of the day.  I've seen this situation happen over and over and it always results in throwing off the timeline.  As a result, portrait times are always what gets cut short). 

The Solution:  

Always leave some extra room in the timeline for the bride's makeup and hair to be completed.  The bride and whoever is helping her into her gown (usually Mom & Maid of Honor) should start early in the lineup, so they are ready to go by the time the photography team is scheduled to start. Even if the rest of the bridesmaids aren’t finished with hair & makeup, we can still get the bride in her dress on time, which leaves us in a good position for keeping the overall timeline on schedule.

Also, planning a hair and makeup trial with your professional hair & makeup artist can help speed things along, since you’ll have already figured out your day-of style in advance.  Make sure your bridesmaids also have a clear idea of how they would like their hair & makeup done (inspiration photos are very helpful to communicate their ideas to the team).


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2. Family or bridal party running late

The Scenario:

            We all have those family members and friends who run late or “go missing” on wedding days.  This is one I see often, too, where we’re ready to begin bridal party or family portraits and a key member is missing.

The Solution:

            For Bridal Party:  Make sure your bridal party has a copy of the wedding day timeline. Dedicate a responsible bridesmaid and groomsman to ensure everyone is gathered and ready to go.  Start a group text, so everyone in the bridal party has one another’s contact information.

  For Family:  For family members who are needed for formal portraits, make sure they know they’ll be needed! Again, make sure they know what time family formals are due to begin. Typically, family formals are scheduled for after the ceremony, so be sure to communicate to them that they should not head to cocktail hour with the rest of the guests to avoid any confusion.


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3. Travel mishaps

The Scenario:

   Any number of things can happen when it comes to travel issues on the wedding day. You name it, I’ve seen it— traffic, incorrect addresses provided, car trouble, weather-related complications…the list goes on and on.

Once, I photographed a wedding where the entire bridal party was late because there was a parade on the travel route to the venue! Traffic was horrible and they couldn’t get through; I am sure you can imagine how upset the bride was!

The Solution:

The obvious solution to any wedding day travel mishaps is to plan a wedding day where you eliminate travel altogether, so everything from Getting Ready to the reception is happening at one location.  However, if that’s not the plan for your day, there are a few things you can do:

  1.  Pay attention to local events that may complicate travel.

  2. Allow “flex” time in your timeline.  For example, if Google Maps tells you it takes 20 minutes to get door to door, then add an additional 10 minutes to give yourselves some wiggle room.  

  3. Keep in mind that travel time should take into consideration the fact that it takes a few minutes to get in and out of vehicles and to locate buildings and entrances.

  4. If your wedding is on a Friday, keep in mind that rush hour commutes may make traffic heavier, resulting in longer travel times.

  5. Figure out parking situations in advance. Make sure you let your guests and vendors know if there are unique parking situations such as metered parking or where the nearest parking garages are, so everyone can be best prepared.


Looking for a Lehigh Valley Wedding Photographer? Alyssa is a Lehigh Valley wedding photographer who serves the Lehigh Valley, Poconos, Bucks County, Philadelphia and surrounding areas. To get in touch about your upcoming wedding or special event, send a note here!