One thing that I hear all the time from couples when I ask them about their Wedding Day is that they wish they had more time. No unfortunately there are only 24 hours in a day and your Wedding Day is no different. Nothing I can do will give you more hours in the day but what I can do is make a few suggestions for things that will free up time during the day. Time that you can spend it with your friends and family who have undoubtedly travelled a long way to celebrate the day with you!
This may sound obvious but minimising the time you spend in a car on your Wedding day is by far the easiest way to get more of your time back. I have photographed so many Weddings where the Bride will travel more than 30 minutes from where she is getting ready with her bridesmaids to the Ceremony Location. Other Weddings will have an hour drive from the Ceremony Venue to the Reception Venue which is time that could be spent with your guests. Now I am not saying this is totally bad, of course the drive is worth it if the venues really makes you happy and in fact a lot of couples love the drive between Ceremony & Reception because it gives them time to chill out by themselves. I am just saying that if you minimise the travel time to 20 minutes or less then you could get a lot more time for photos or hanging out with guests.
Do a First Look
A massive trend in the Wedding Industry these days is having a First Look. If you don’t know what a first look is, it’s where the Bride and Groom will see each other before the ceremony and have a private moment before the Wedding Ceremony officially starts. This is great for couples who don’t care about seeing each other for the first time at the end of the aisle and provides a special moment in private without all the eyes (and ears) of your guests. First Looks are great for so many reasons and I totally love them but one thing they are also good at is giving you back more time with your Wedding Guests!
Practically what we are doing here is moving your wedding day timeline around slightly. If the Bride and Groom have a first look an hour before the ceremony starts then this allows us to do Couple Portraits as well as Wedding Party Photos prior to the Ceremony before guests have even arrived. Then following the ceremony all that’s left to do is Family Photos which means you will have so much more time to spend with your guests!!
Get 2 or more HMUA’s
One horror story that every Bride or Bridesmaid knows about is how early you have to start Hair and Makeup on your Wedding Day. Each person takes about 90 minutes which means if you have a Bride and 5 Bridesmaids, that’s 9 hours to get everyone ready. You could be starting Hair & Make Up at 5am for a 2pm Ceremony (which trust me isn’t to uncommon). Instead why don’t you give yourself a sleep in and book an extra one or two Hair & Make Up Artists. It might cost you a few extra dollars but I promise it will be worth it to get some precious time back on your Wedding Day!
Write a Family Photo List
This is a game changer when it comes to rounding up those massive extended families that are all coming together for your wedding day! Having a pre-written list of group photos you want on your Wedding Day saves you a lot of stress when family members are asking you questions and it will also save you heaps of time. Put the list in your Ceremony Booklet, have your Celebrant or Minister announce that there is an order for Group Photos and then get one of your Groomsmen with a loud voice to call it out as photos are happening. I have Photographed Weddings with and without a list and trust me without a list it’s like herding cattle on a unicycle. Damn near impossible and takes so much longer!
Limit Photo Locations to one
It’s common for Wedding Parties to go to a nice garden or park after the ceremony to have some photos taken but as I said earlier, just make sure this park is in the vicinity of where you are getting married. Driving and Parking takes time so you want to limit that as much as possible. Similarly, try to get all of your photos at just one location. Moving to yet another location for Couples Portraits is a sure fire way to add so much time to your Wedding Day. If you are more worried, consider adding a Second Photographer who can do take photos of the Wedding Party (and distract them) while you’re having your photos!
Go out for Couple Photos at Dinnertime
Another way to get more time back is asking your Photographer to go out for a sunset Photoshoot during or after Dinner. Now this obviously will only work in the warmer months when the days are longer but if your reception is on a Farm or an Estate with nice gardens why not take advantage of this time when everyone else is eating to sneak out and get some Golden Hour photos. This way you can save time in the afternoon and hang out with guests while they are still lingering around.
Have Meals Served at the Reception
While it may look cool on Pinterest and Instagram to have food carts or Buffet Style meals, nothing will take up more time at your reception then doing just that. People are slow and asking them to get up and serve themselves dinner takes eternity. Instead if you main priority is time then consider having meals served to guests while they are seated. Again this may cost a little more to have wait staff on but it will definitely save you precious time at your reception.
Group Tasks together at the Reception
This may not be the biggest time saver but it definitely helps get 10-15 minutes of your time back and that is grouping things together at the Reception. Do speeches while dinner is being served because people can eat and listen at the same time. Consider also doing speeches back to back so the MC doesn’t have to announce every single one. You can also do your First Dance as the first song on the Dancefloor so that people don’t have to stand up and sit down too many times. Cut your cake just before you do your final speech. You get the idea, group tasks together and the night will flow much more smoothly.
Limit the amount Speeches
This goes without being said but don’t have an open mic where anyone can get up and give a speech. If you’re really pressed for time just do one speech from either side or limit the amount of time people can speak for. Speeches tend to drag at weddings and eat into precious dancefloor time at the end of the night so limiting them in some way is always a good idea.
Don’t do Stuff!
Finally the biggest way to save time on your Wedding Day is by not doing things you don’t want to do. Cut out the First Dance if you don’t want to do one. Don’t do a Cake Cutting, Garter Toss or Bouquet Toss. Have a shorter Ceremony. It’s your Wedding Day so plan it how you want it and I promise you will save time and be happier in the process.
I hope those few things have helped you think about ways in which you can save time on your wedding day. You only get this day once so you definitely don’t want to look back on it and wish you had more time with the ones you love. If you would like more idea on ways to save time on your wedding day, tune into Episode 18 of the To Be Wed Podcast where my Wife and I discuss the topic in more detail and what we did on our Wedding day that really helped us!