Taking the time to create a fall wedding timeline is one of the best things you can do. While things may still go wrong, having a baseline so everyone knows how things can get back on track is definitely helpful.
As a photographer, I can say that having a wedding timeline is extremely helpful to maximize the amount of time we get to capture all the details of your day.
So, here are 5 essential tips to planning your fall wedding timeline:
Prioritize Golden Hour:
Autumn brings about some of the most spectacular golden hours, with the sun casting a warm, golden glow that can make your photographs truly magical. Schedule your couple’s session and important portraits around this time to make the most of this natural lighting. Since sunset occurs earlier in the fall, check the sunset time for your wedding day and plan accordingly.
Account for Weather Changes:
Fall weather can be quite unpredictable, swinging from warm afternoons to chilly evenings. It’s essential to have a contingency plan for unexpected weather changes, especially if you have outdoor events. Secure an indoor backup location, and ensure that your guests are comfortable by providing heaters or blankets during the evening.
Incorporate Seasonal Elements:
Fall offers a rich and vibrant palette, from the changing leaves to the seasonal blooms. When planning your timeline, consider incorporating these elements into your photographs. Schedule some time to capture shots amidst the autumn foliage, or use seasonal décor like pumpkins and autumn flowers as backdrops. This will not only enhance the aesthetic of your photos but also add a personal touch to your wedding narrative.
With days growing shorter in the fall, it’s crucial to make the most of the available daylight. Plan to have your ceremony earlier in the day to ensure ample natural light for post-ceremony and family portraits. This will also allow for a smoother transition into the evening reception and help in maintaining a relaxed, unhurried atmosphere throughout the day.
Build in Buffer Time:
Fall is a season of transitions, and sometimes, unexpected surprises. Building in some buffer time throughout your timeline will help you stay relaxed and enjoy your day, even if things don’t go exactly as planned. Whether it’s a delay in getting ready, or a spontaneous, heartfelt toast that goes a little longer than expected, having some extra time can make all the difference.
Tips for planning a wedding timeline
From the decade’s worth of experience, these are the approximate time frames to capture the most details of your wedding day. From getting ready to the bride and groom driving off! Use these time frames when building out your fall wedding timeline!
- Bridal Details (45 min – 1hr)
- Bride & Bridesmaids Prep (1hr)
- Groom & Groomsmen Prep (1hr)
- Bride + Bridesmaids First Look, Bridesmaids Portraits (30min)
- Bride & Groom First Look (30min-1hr is ideal, at minimum 20 min)
- Full Wedding Party Photos (30 min, can do 15 if needed)
- Family Formals (30 min)
- Wedding Ceremony (30 min)
- Family Formals (30 min, could be 15 if most were done prior to ceremony)
- Golden Hour Photos of Bride & Groom (min: 15 min, max 1 hour)
- Grand Entrances (5-15 min depending on bridal party size)
- First Dance, Special Dances (10-15 min)
- Toasts + Cake Cutting (30 min)
- Open Dancing, (Bouquet & Garter Toss if applicable) – 30-45 min
- Sparkler/Grand Exit (20 min)
Sample Fall Wedding Timeline
Because I’m a Utah local, we’re going to build a timeline based off of the sunset in SLC in the middle of October.
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Bride’s details and prep
12:00 – 1:00 PM: Bride getting into dress w/ Mom/Bridesmaids | Second shooter photographs groom + groomsmen getting on ties/coats
1:00 – 2:00 PM: Bride with Bridesmaids & Groom with Groomsmen
2:00 – 3:00 PM: Bride + Groom Hide OR First Look Photos
3:00 – 3:30 PM: Ceremony
3:30 – 4:00 PM: Family formals
4:00 – 4:30 PM: Wedding Party
5:00 – 5:20 PM: Cocktail Hour for guest
5:20 – 5:30 PM: Guests seated and grand entrances
6:00 PM: Bride and Groom sneak off for golden hour portraits
6:45 PM: Sunset
5:30 PM: Cake cutting
5:30 – 6:30 PM: Dinner and toasts
6:30 PM: Open Dancing
7:00 PM: Garter/Bouquet toss
7:30 PM- Last dance
8:00 PM- Grand exit
Autumn weddings are truly enchanting, and with a bit of thoughtful planning, you can create a wedding timeline that ensures every moment is captured beautifully. By prioritizing golden hour, preparing for weather changes, incorporating seasonal elements, maximizing daylight, and building in buffer time, you are well on your way to crafting a fall wedding timeline that is as seamless as it is magical.
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