7 Tips for a Relaxed (Stress-Free) Wedding Timeline

It can sometimes be tempting to plan things down to the second to make sure your wedding runs as smoothly as possible. BUT! Keeping a relaxed wedding timeline is SO important for you and your photographer. Trust me, as a Minnesota wedding photographer, I’ve seen it all! A relaxed schedule helps you to stay calm and collected throughout the day and alleviates the stress that happens when things inevitably delay the schedule. It also gives your photographer the time they need to work their magic to capture all those special memories for you to cherish forever! 

So, if you aren’t sure where to start, here are my top 7 tips for keeping things relaxed at your wedding: 

bride holds out her gown and looks at it as she keeps a relaxed wedding timeline

01 | Prioritize Getting Ready Together or Close By 

Consider booking a spacious house or adjoining hotel rooms for you and your partner to get ready. This will allow for more intimate moments and reduce the stress of rushing. Having everyone in one location means more candid moments and a calmer atmosphere, so you can fully enjoy those pre-wedding moments without feeling frazzled. 

couple kisses in snow while keeping a relaxed wedding timeline

02 | Schedule Ample Buffer Time 

When creating your timeline, be sure to build in extra time between events to account for any unexpected delays. From hair and makeup running late to traffic or last-minute snags, you never know what can happen! Building wiggle room between events like the ceremony, portraits, and reception will help you enjoy each moment of your big day without feeling rushed or overwhelmed. 

bride and groom prepare for first look holding hands back to back during their relaxed wedding timeline

03 | First Look Optionality 

Consider whether a first look is right for you and your partner. This intimate moment before the ceremony can provide a beautiful opportunity to connect and share your excitement. Keep in mind that while a first look can calm nerves and provide additional portrait time, it’s completely optional. If you prefer to stick with tradition and see each other for the first time at the ceremony, that’s perfectly okay too!

family gathers around newlyweds by Minnesota wedding photographer

04 | Family Photos With A Smile 

Before the big day, create a shot list of must-have family photos to ensure nothing gets overlooked. Designate a trusted friend or family member to help wrangle family members and keep things running smoothly. It’s always a good idea to keep family photos light and fun by keeping sessions short, using humor, and snagging some candid captures.

husband and wife ride on motorcycle in wedding clothes toward the sunset by Minnesota wedding photographer

05 | Sunset Portraits are Golden 

Golden hour, the time about one to two hours before sunset, offers the most stunning natural light for outdoor portraits. Schedule your portrait sessions during this magical time to capture the most romantic and beautiful images.

 If golden hour doesn’t fit into your timeline, don’t worry! There are plenty of alternative options to ensure you still get breathtaking photos, like using shade or artificial light.  

bridal party and couple sit at long table at reception by Minnesota wedding photographer

06 | Reception Flexibility

As you plan your reception, be sure to build in plenty of downtime for you and your guests to relax and enjoy each other’s company. Consider scheduling speeches and other formalities earlier in the evening for better guest participation. Allow your guests to mingle, enjoy food and drinks, and relax between planned activities like toasts and first dances.

couple toasts each other by Rule Creative Co

07 | Capture Candid Moments 

While posed photos are beautiful, some of the most cherished moments from your wedding day will be the candid, spontaneous ones. The best thing you can do is focus on enjoying yourselves and not worry about posing every second. As your photographer, I’ll capture all the special moments naturally! 

couple walks into reception to cheering by Rule Creative Co

Whether you take all of my advice or just some of it, I hope that it helps you to create your own relaxed wedding timeline. I’m sure your big day will be stress free and full of celebration and joy! 

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Mn based Wedding + elopement Photographer