Dealing With the Puzzle of a Timeline

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Following up on the heels of our last post about the planning process we decided to take it one step further to talk specifically about the timeline. It’s so important, it deserves it’s own post!

So, if your venue says music has to be off by 10, and your photographer is booked for 6 hours, but your hair and make up is going to be done by 2, and you want you want your ceremony to start by 3, what time should the train arrive at the station? That is kind of the feeling that some couple’s have when we meet with them. They are trying to figure out this super complex math problem with their timeline and just can’t get things to add up. I look at it like a puzzle. Each moment is like it’s own little puzzle piece that has to fit together perfectly. But here’s the catch, which puzzle piece do you lay down first to connect all other puzzle pieces to? Here is our ultimate wedding timeline tip!

What time does the sun set? That’s it, that’s the first puzzle piece you lay down in your timeline. Why? Here is why: you get the BEST looking pictures in the hour before the sun sets. Before that, the sun is high, there’s less shade, and the lighting is very harsh. You can bet money that all those beautiful pictures photographers use to market were taking during the hour before sunset. And trust us, you want to take advantage of that lighting. Everything else that happens on your wedding day does not depend on great lighting. Your reception? Who cares, it’s usually at night, and when the dance floor starts, it’s more fun when it’s dark anyways. Your ceremony? It’d be really nice if you had optimal lighting conditions for this, but if you wait until the hour before sunset, then that means you’re going to have zero light during cocktail hour to take pictures. It is literally the only part of your wedding where the quality of the event is affected by the time of day.

So here’s how we put the puzzle together. Say your sunset time is at 6:05pm. That means you want your cocktail hour to be from 5-6, with your ceremony starting 30min before that, so at 4:30. Or, basically, your ceremony should be starting around 90min before sunset. That means your reception would start at 6, with your grand entrance taking place 15min after that, and we typically recommend most receptions last for around 4 hours, so you would be wrapping up around 10pm. Boom. Outline done.

Ok, ok, maybe all weddings aren’t that simple. What if sunset is at an odder time like 6:20? Then we’d probably say to still start your ceremony at 4:30, and have 1:20min of cocktail hour. If you condense it and have your ceremony start at 5, then that means you have only 50min of light remaining, and what if, like the majority of weddings out there, your ceremony starts 10-15min late, now you have only 35-40min of light remaining.

And one of the trickiest things of all? Arizona doesn’t have daylight savings time! Where in most states, the sunset time is always fairly close to around the same time, in Arizona sunset times range from around 5:25pm in December to around 7:41pm in June. So again, you can’t always use the 90min rule of thumb to start laying your ground work. Otherwise your receptions could get extremely lengthy during winter and extremely short during summer. When this is the case, we can always get a little creative on your schedule, like scheduling dinner hour during that sunset hour. Or doing a “bridal session” with you and your fiance all dressed up in your wedding day ensemble and finding a beautiful place to take pictures at to take advantage of lighting. Basically like one of our engagement sessions but in a wedding dress and/or suit. There’s never been a schedule we haven’t been able to piece together!

Written by: Taylor Cotter

Owner – DJ – Videographer

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