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planning

How to schedule a wedding morning? Events, timing, etc.

ALL TOPICS | Planning Questions

Q: I can’t afford a wedding planner, what other options are there?

answers:

1 Videos
VIDEO SUMMARY

I think the priority for your wedding day morning should be relaxation and joy and not stress or making sure you have everything timed out to the exact minute. That being said, you do need kind of an order of events or a schedule for what’s going on the morning of your wedding because you’re usually not alone or not in a small group of people that are nimble and easy to get through those several very important hours. You often have the entire wedding party to account for both bridesmaids and grimsmen the couple. The parents are often involved in the morning activities and then at some point in your morning, all of your vendors show up with all their supplies or their services. So typically what my clients wedding day mornings look like is hair and makeup starts decently early. Obviously depends on what time your ceremony is, but I’ve seen hair and makeup start anywhere between 07:00 A.m. And noon. Depends how many people you have, if the hair and makeup people are coming to your hotel room or your house, or if you’re going to their salon, and then how long the hair and makeup artists say they need per application or per hairdo. I’ve seen that range anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes. So make sure you know how long they’re expecting to have on the day of. Always make sure you have food for everyone while they’re getting ready, both the bridesmaids and groomsmen or anyone else around during the morning. I know you want to look your best and you’re in this pretty dress and you’re going to be photo taken all day, but you have to eat something, otherwise you’re going to end up passing out in your ceremony or throwing up before your reception is even over. So hair and makeup once that is done, a lot of my clients do like the pajama photos if all their girls were in matching pajamas, maybe pop some champagne or throw confetti for some cute photos when hair and makeup is done but you’re still in your pajamas. And then I usually have the bridesmaids get dressed first and then if the bride and groom exchange like letters or little gifts that she might want to open in private, I’ll have her do that. Then if she’s okay doing that in her pajamas or like in her robe for the morning, we can do it later if she wants to do it in her wedding dress. If it’s being photographed or videographed. After the bridesmaids are dressed, the bride starts getting dressed. Because the bride getting dressed usually always includes the bride’s mom or the maid of honor or sister of some sort, both for the sentimentality of the moment and also usually physical assistance of getting into the dress and buttoning it up. So around that time I usually have photo and video already arrived, usually just when hair and makeup is ending. The bride might want some photos of the hair and makeup finishing, but definitely want those PJ photos. And then the bride getting into her dress with her mom or sister or something. If you want a lot of detail shots like those flat lay images of your invitation and the rings and the perfume bottle and all that, those usually need to happen before any of photos of your bridesmaids and you getting in your dress again, talk to your photographer. They may need 20 minutes for that. They may want an hour for that. Once the bride is in her dress, sometimes they do a first look with all their bridesmaids, a first look with a dad or grandpa, brother, really. Anyone else important that they want to have a moment with to show the big outfit at that point? What happens next between then and the ceremony? Depends if you’re doing a first look or not. If you are doing a first look, we usually do first look, couple photos and then wedding party photos. Especially if you have two photographers you can split and do bridesmaids and groomsmen at the same time. And then if you’re not doing a first look after everyone’s dressed, you would just do photos with your bridesmaids and then head to the ceremony. The timing of all that and how long each one takes is very nuanced. It depends where you’re getting ready, where the other half of the wedding party is getting ready, how far away you are from your ceremony venue, et cetera, et cetera. The guy’s schedule is way easier. They don’t have hair and makeup, but they also need to eat something. Everyone needs to make sure they’re not drunk before the ceremony. And then the guys just need to be dressed and ready, which still takes a surprising amount of time, like girls think about getting dressed as more. We usually schedule 30 minutes for bridesmaids to go get dressed and guys usually don’t expect that. They also need to budget that amount of time to get into everything in their outfit. But.

I can’t afford a wedding planner, what other options are there?

Q: I can’t afford a wedding planner, what other options are there?

VIDEO SUMMARY

So you think you can’t afford a wedding planner, but let me ask you this. When was the last time that you did something for the first time and you were good at it, right? Even if this is your second or even third time getting married, right? There are some things that can fall through the cracks. And as a wedding planner, I am telling you this because I started a wedding planning company, because when I got married and my co owners got married, we did not have wedding planners. And there were some things that got missed and we wished went differently if we would have just had a good wedding planner. Now as planners, now we have couples that have $5,000 budgets or $10,000 budgets and still have a decent guest size, and they are hiring us at $1,500, $3,000, $5,000. And that’s picking up that portion of their budget because the value is so great. Like a good wedding planner will actually save you money and will save you an incredible amount of time and stress. That being said, if there is no way that you can figure out how to factor in a wedding planner to help with your day, there are resources that you can get. I would do a ton of research online, download all the lists that you can download, ask everyone you know who’s been married, what they liked, what they didn’t like, what they wish would have gone differently, what ran smoothly, and just get as much experience from them as you can. There’s a lot of online resources. There are Facebook groups now where brides are asking each other if they can be guests to each other’s weddings and make new friends. And you can go to this event and kind of get that feel for how a wedding flows. Even just getting to one or two weddings before your event is going to be a massive help. Shameless Plug if you absolutely can’t hire a wedding planner and you know that you need help, we created an e journal that is specifically geared to get you all of the knowledge that a wedding planner would have so that you know which questions to ask. So this isn’t your normal journal where it’s like, put your bridal party here and put your vendors here. This is 55 pages of questions that we would ask you if we were your wedding planner to make you think about every single aspect of the day that needs to happen. And hopefully we’ll give you the knowledge that you need to plan your day and make sure that none of the snafus that typically happen, right? So if you’re interested in that, it’s called winning your wedding planning. It’s that best weddingplanningjournal.com, and I hope that you check it out. Whatever happens, my number one piece of advice that I give to every couple is get a wedding planner. But I hope that you find the solution that works for you and that your day runs super smoothly.

How do I invite only certain kids to my wedding?

Q: How do I invite only certain kids to my wedding?

VIDEO SUMMARY

Hey there. I’m about to unpack our kids luggage from our vacation. But before I do, let’s talk kids at the wedding. And specifically for those of you who don’t generally want kids at the wedding, but there are a select few that you do, we oftentimes get asked, how do you handle that? And to be super frank and clear here, we like to empower our couples to have the wedding that they desire and not fall to the pressure of their friends and family. So my biggest advice to you is to simply have the wedding that you want. If you do not want kids there, there are kind ways of saying something along the lines of we want our guests to be present and really get to let loose. So we are having an adults only reception is a kind way of saying that now, the way to invite those particular kids that you do want there is all really handled through your RSVPs and where you allow plus ones and where you don’t. So if you specifically address your invitation to John and Jane Smith, then that should tell them that they are not allowed to have kits. They can simply RSVP for only two. Especially if you are doing your RSVPs through your website, you can control how many people they can RSVP for. Now oftentimes that same John and Jane Smith are going to text you or call you and ask, can we bring our children? I always say throw your planner under the bus and say something along the lines of we have a very tight guest count and we’re only asking that adults come. You could also say our planner has advised us to have an adults only party. You could say our venue capacity is very tight and that we are asking that it be adults only. Or you can go back to we really want to empower our guests and have a reception that allows them to let loose and have a great time. So we’re asking that it be adults only. Now, for your nieces or nephews, your ring, bears, flower girls, family that’s traveling, that you know, they have kids and you’re okay with them coming on their RSVP, you can put the Smith family and allow for three, four, five RSVPs to be input into your website or to come back on your RSVP cards. So I really do believe that your RSVPs and the amount that you allow for them with plus ones is the best way to control how many people are RSVPing. But if you need to put a note on your website or on your details card, simply just saying that we really want to have a great party and allow for you to have a break from your kids, let loose and have fun. We are asking that this is an adult only reception.

How can I cut costs?

Q: How can I cut costs?

VIDEO SUMMARY

I had to grab a beer for this one because this gets asked a lot. And it’s a very stressful question.

There are a few really easy ways to cut your cost without looking cheap or having your guests feel really uncomfortable with the wedding they’ve arrived to.

Alcohol, huge expense. favors, paper goods.

Floral and food would be my biggest tips for how to cut wedding costs.

The obvious answer is going to be reuse everything as much as possible.

Utilize what the venue has. Use everything that they offer and stay off Pinterest.

The important thing here is figuring out how to prioritize costs versus necessarily cutting costs.

You want to know how to save money on your wedding. Expect to get what you pay for.

I have a gap of time between my ceremony and reception, do I need to fill this time for my guests? How?

Q: I have a gap of time between my ceremony and reception, do I need to fill this time for my guests? How?

VIDEO SUMMARY

You’re not obligated to entertain your guests during this time. Sometimes the gap between ceremony and reception is just inevitable. I get it. What I would say, though, is you’re not obligated to entertain your guests during this time. So I’m going to lay out three options for three different budgets. If there are funds for you to maybe organize something, I would suggest maybe using this gap as an opportunity for your guests to visit a place that the two of you love in the city.

So, for example, you could arrange a bus or do a city tour that takes everyone to your favorite museum in the city. If maybe you have a little bit less, you could do something like transit Mission Everyone over to a different area for something like lawn games and lemonade. If you’re trying to think of an option that’s really budget friendly, doesn’t really cost a lot.

It’s 100% okay to put on your wedding website and remind people that here’s a list of our favorite spots along with how long it takes to get there and let people kind of go off on their own. A lot of our couples, after they get married, they tell us that most of their guests during that break, they actually looked at the list of their couples favorite places and just went and grabbed lunch or went and grabbed a drink or a snack or they went to cocktail hour.

What is the best reception timeline?

Q: WHAT IS THE BEST RECEPTION TIMELINE?

VIDEO SUMMARY

How many of you have been to a wedding and waited over 2 hours for the bride and groom to join? No amount of free booze and food is going to make you be okay with that.

Picture this you’re scrolling Facebook. And in one of your wedding groups, you see someone saying, Help. My wedding is this weekend and I have no idea how the flow of the reception should go. You stop and you think, Oh, shoot, I better start thinking about that. And after over seven years in the industry, here is what I think works best.

We’re here with a couple unpopular opinions when it comes to reception timeline, but a few things that we really love to do.

Okay, this is my number one way to run a timeline. We did this for my wedding, and this is for the brides who are prioritizing the party, Right? Like you want to maximize fun.

Here are some things and tips that I talk to my clients about when it comes to how the wedding reception can unfold.

After doing over a hundred weddings, I find that this timeline works the best for the couple, for the guests and the dj.

What is the best timeline to keep people on the dance floor?

Q: What is the best timeline to keep people on the dance floor?

answers:

1 Videos
VIDEO SUMMARY

If you have a dancing crowd, I would totally give the people what they want and I would have a long dance set. The only thing I would take into account is talking to your band and your DJ and making sure find out when they need to take breaks or what their traditional sets are. I’ve seen it done a couple of ways. Traditionally, what I see is after you do your first dance and your parent dances, we’ll usually see everybody invited up on the dance floor, have a nice like 40 to 60 minutes, depending on where you are and who you’re working with. Dance set, then break for dinner, do your toasts, and then after your toast, sort of roll into like a dance set through the end of the night. That’s when your venue will serve dessert and stuff, and then it’s up to the person. If they want to sit and break and have a coffee and have a piece of cake, great. If they just want to keep dancing, go for it. But talk to your band or your DJ and see what they say. But I think if you add in that little bit of a dance set in the beginning, it’s not going to feel like so hardcore of a dance set at the end of the night.

What should I include on my wedding day timeline?

Q: What should I include on my wedding day timeline?

answers:

1 Videos
VIDEO SUMMARY

I think the priority for your wedding day morning should be relaxation and joy and not stress or making sure you have everything timed out to the exact minute. That being said, you do need kind of an order of events or a schedule for what’s going on the morning of your wedding because you’re usually not alone or not in a small group of people that are nimble and easy to get through those several very important hours. You often have the entire wedding party to account for both bridesmaids and grimsmen the couple. The parents are often involved in the morning activities and then at some point in your morning, all of your vendors show up with all their supplies or their services. So typically what my clients wedding day mornings look like is hair and makeup starts decently early. Obviously depends on what time your ceremony is, but I’ve seen hair and makeup start anywhere between 07:00 A.m. And noon. Depends how many people you have, if the hair and makeup people are coming to your hotel room or your house, or if you’re going to their salon, and then how long the hair and makeup artists say they need per application or per hairdo. I’ve seen that range anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes. So make sure you know how long they’re expecting to have on the day of. Always make sure you have food for everyone while they’re getting ready, both the bridesmaids and groomsmen or anyone else around during the morning. I know you want to look your best and you’re in this pretty dress and you’re going to be photo taken all day, but you have to eat something, otherwise you’re going to end up passing out in your ceremony or throwing up before your reception is even over. So hair and makeup once that is done, a lot of my clients do like the pajama photos if all their girls were in matching pajamas, maybe pop some champagne or throw confetti for some cute photos when hair and makeup is done but you’re still in your pajamas. And then I usually have the bridesmaids get dressed first and then if the bride and groom exchange like letters or little gifts that she might want to open in private, I’ll have her do that. Then if she’s okay doing that in her pajamas or like in her robe for the morning, we can do it later if she wants to do it in her wedding dress. If it’s being photographed or videographed. After the bridesmaids are dressed, the bride starts getting dressed. Because the bride getting dressed usually always includes the bride’s mom or the maid of honor or sister of some sort, both for the sentimentality of the moment and also usually physical assistance of getting into the dress and buttoning it up. So around that time I usually have photo and video already arrived, usually just when hair and makeup is ending. The bride might want some photos of the hair and makeup finishing, but definitely want those PJ photos. And then the bride getting into her dress with her mom or sister or something. If you want a lot of detail shots like those flat lay images of your invitation and the rings and the perfume bottle and all that, those usually need to happen before any of photos of your bridesmaids and you getting in your dress again, talk to your photographer. They may need 20 minutes for that. They may want an hour for that. Once the bride is in her dress, sometimes they do a first look with all their bridesmaids, a first look with a dad or grandpa, brother, really. Anyone else important that they want to have a moment with to show the big outfit at that point? What happens next between then and the ceremony? Depends if you’re doing a first look or not. If you are doing a first look, we usually do first look, couple photos and then wedding party photos. Especially if you have two photographers you can split and do bridesmaids and groomsmen at the same time. And then if you’re not doing a first look after everyone’s dressed, you would just do photos with your bridesmaids and then head to the ceremony. The timing of all that and how long each one takes is very nuanced. It depends where you’re getting ready, where the other half of the wedding party is getting ready, how far away you are from your ceremony venue, et cetera, et cetera. The guy’s schedule is way easier. They don’t have hair and makeup, but they also need to eat something. Everyone needs to make sure they’re not drunk before the ceremony. And then the guys just need to be dressed and ready, which still takes a surprising amount of time, like girls think about getting dressed as more. We usually schedule 30 minutes for bridesmaids to go get dressed and guys usually don’t expect that. They also need to budget that amount of time to get into everything in their outfit. But.

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Here are some tips and tricks to film a great video that stops the scroll:

1

Start with a hook.

You’ve got 3-5 seconds to stop the viewer’s scroll. Be creative… start with a phrase like:

  • Oh hell no, just no…
  • Absolutely not…
  • Yes, yes, yes! You should do this…
  • It depends on one very important thing…

2

Give a super quick intro.

We’ll put your name and bio in the title and links, so you can say something more general like:

“I’m Robin, a photographer in Chicago and after shooting 500 weddings…”
Or
“I’m not only a wedding planner in Chicago, but a newlywed myself…”

3

Answer away!

Give them your hot take, and don’t hold anything back.

Examples of what we are looking for:

check out how Sal nailed it in this video and so did Megan in this one and Nichole told it straight (from her car).

Tips for filming

Filming vertically on your phone.

TikTok is vertical for good reason - Gen Z have spoken!

Good audio is more important than good video.

Find a quiet room (that isn’t an echoey bathroom!).

Make sure your face is bright enough.

Standing near a large window or lamp is helpful - You want to be brighter than your background.

Nothing works better than a good story.

If you have any experiences you can share to help answer the question, go for it!

Bring
the energy!

Down an espresso, pump yourself up, and let the answers pour out! Our couples want as much honesty as they can get.

Featured Question

Q: Is there really a wedding mark up?

Do you feel like the industry charges more “because it’s a wedding” and they know it’s an emotional purchase?

Do companies think that they can charge more for weddings since the bride and groom may be willing to spend more on their dream wedding?

Hey wedding pros – is this higher price tag justified? Why? Do you charge more for your service if it is a wedding?

This is a taboo topic, whispered but not discussed… until now.

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