My Real Wedding Day Timeline

My Real Wedding Day Timeline

One of the things that sets me apart from other wedding photographers is that I’m a recent newlywed myself. We couldn’t afford a wedding coordinator with years of planning experience under her belt, so I planned our Hawaii destination wedding aaaaaall from scratch while we lived in London. I remember thinking: I’ve never been married before; how am I supposed to know how to do any of this stuff??

I remember one of the biggest unknowns was the wedding day timeline. I just straight up did not know how to organize the day. I hadn’t even been to any weddings in my adult life, so I was really working with no experience. Now, the wedding’s behind me and I can look back and say that my timeline worked out and I learned a ton about wedding planning in the process. Luckily, I’m here to share my experiences with you :)

If you’re doing all the planning yourself or just want an example timeline to share with your wedding coordinator, take a look at my actual timeline here…

FRIDAY, May 30, 2014 WEDDING DAY SCHEDULE
7:00 AM Wake up
7:30 AM Pack up all wedding decorations
10:00 AM Venue set up begins
10:30 AM Cake delivered to venue
12:00 PM Bridesmaids start getting ready
3:00 PM Photographer and videographer arrive
3:00-3:30 PM Bride/Groom getting ready shots
3:30-3:45 PM Travel to venue
4:00-4:45 PM First look, family photos, wedding party photos
4:45-5:00 PM Relax / Cushion time
5:00-5:30 PM Ceremony
5:30-6:00 PM Bride & Groom portraits, Guests have cocktails/snacks
6:00-6:15 PM Couple’s grand entrance to reception
6:15 PM Bride & Groom’s first dance
6:20 PM Father/Daughter and Mother/Son dance
6:30 PM Toasts and dinner begins
7:00 PM Cake cutting
7:09 PM Sunset
7:15 AM Bouquet toss
7:30 PM Dance party!
8:00 PM Videographer leaves
9:00 PM Photographer leaves
9:30 PM Last song
9:45 PM Party ends, Couple’s grand exit
11:00 PM Clean up ends, check-out of venue

In hindsight, there’s just one major thing I would do differently: More time for photography! You’ll notice that we only had a half hour for bride/groom portraits, and we crammed the first look, family portraits, and wedding party portraits all into one 45 minute window. Ouch. I wish that my photographer had asked for more time because, on the day of, it felt a little rushed. With my experience in mind, here are a few more tips…

Tips for Prioritizing Photography on Your Wedding Day

  • Include the sunset on your timeline. This one is crucial for your photography. I happen to love gorgeous golden light and dreamy backlit shots, and if you do too, time your portraits correctly. You can check the exact time the sun will set on any day here.
  • Arrange your day with light in mind. To add to the sunset point, if you love soft-lit photos like I do, don’t plan a brunch wedding with bride and groom portraits at high noon. Harsh light and strong shadows are not the best for romantic wedding photography. Also be aware of fading light in general! Once the sun’s down, events will have to be lit with artificial lighting which also may not be the most flattering.
  • Include enough time for each portrait session. Trying to wrangle 50 strangers together for a group photo is no easy task, but doing it all in, like, 6 minutes is impossible. Be kind to your photographer and provide the best tools for them to do their job: Designate a solid chunk of time to each portrait type — at least 30 minutes for family portraits, 30 minutes for wedding party portraits, and 60 minutes for bride/groom portraits.
  • Send a timeline to all the vendors. Be sure to send a timeline to all of your vendors about a week before your wedding to make sure everyone’s on the same page. It also helps to include a third column with addresses of each location (e.g. the getting-ready spot, reception venue, etc). A well prepared vendor is a successful vendor!

I hope seeing my wedding timeline gives you a better idea of how your wedding day should be structured. Happy planning!

P.S. You can see the photos and video of my wedding for a visual look at how the day transpired. And as always, if you’re planning a Hawaii destination wedding and you’re looking for a photographer, let’s talk :)

Montenegro Destination Wedding Inspiration | Hotel Admiral Perast, Montenegro

Montenegro Destination Wedding Inspiration | Hotel Admiral Perast, Montenegro

This month, David and I are calling the city of Herceg Novi, Montenegro home. Even though we’re on this monthly country adventure, we still have to work during the day, but then on the weekends, we get to have some pretty amazing excursions! So last Sunday, we decided to do a boat tour around Kotor Bay, the beautiful body of water that hugs the northern coast of Montenegro.

The very last stop of the boat tour took us to the little coastal town of Perast (located here). Instead of aimlessly wandering through the town, David and I spotted a charming little restaurant from the boat and once we docked we made a beeline right for it. When we walked inside, the views took our breath away. The overwater restaurant is part of Hotel Admiral Perast, and it’s literally one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.

If you’re planning a destination wedding in Montenegro, you should seriously consider Hotel Admiral Perast as a potential venue.

By our count, the outdoor restaurant seats approximately 70 people, and all of the tables overlook Kotor bay and Perast’s two islets: Our Lady of the Rocks and St. George.

Montenegro Destination Wedding Venue: Hotel Admiral Perast Montenegro Destination Wedding Venue: Hotel Admiral Perast Montenegro Destination Wedding Venue: Hotel Admiral Perast

Montenegro Destination Wedding Venue: Hotel Admiral Perast

Imagine this…You say your wedding vows on one of the nearby islands an hour or two before sunset.

From there, you hire a private boat to shuttle your guests to the dock at Perast.

Montenegro Destination Wedding Venue: Hotel Admiral Perast

Montenegro Destination Wedding Venue: Hotel Admiral Perast

At the dock, your guests get their first look at your reception venue: the beautiful Hotel Admiral.

Montenegro Destination Wedding Venue: Hotel Admiral Perast

Montenegro Destination Wedding Venue: Hotel Admiral Perast

Montenegro Destination Wedding Venue: Hotel Admiral Perast

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Montenegro Destination Wedding Venue: Hotel Admiral Perast Montenegro Destination Wedding Venue: Hotel Admiral Perast

Your guests are treated to a delicious dinner (maybe Montenegro’s famous seafood!) and then you start dancing the night away.

Montenegro Destination Wedding Venue: Hotel Admiral Perast

Montenegro Destination Wedding Venue: Hotel Admiral Perast

When the last piece of cake’s been eaten and the last dance has been danced, you two newlyweds jet off together over calm blue waters in your very own getaway boat with stars sparkling overhead. Your guests wave goodbye and spend the evening in Hotel Admiral Perast’s rooms overlooking Kotor Bay.

Montenegro Destination Wedding Venue: Hotel Admiral Perast

Montenegro Destination Wedding Venue: Hotel Admiral Perast

I mean, it’s making me want to marry David a second time just to have our wedding there! And hey, if you’re looking for a photographer, keep Alexis Rose Photography in mind ;)

For more information, contact Hotel Admiral Perast. Happy destination wedding planning!

Should You Do A Honeymoon Registry?

Should You Do A Honeymoon Registry?

When I got was planning my wedding back in 2013-2014, I already knew we weren’t going to have a traditional celebration. We were planning everything from two continents away (planning a Hawaii destination wedding from England) and we didn’t have a huge budget. Then for the post-wedding plans, we decided to take a really non-traditional approach. After the wedding, we had no plans to buy a home or settle down. Instead, we had a crazy idea: What if we go on a honeymoon to Thailand and then just…not come back for a while?

And that’s exactly what we did!

Three days after our wedding we hopped on a one-way flight across the world and ended up living in Chiang Mai, Thailand for 10 months while I taught English at an elementary school and David worked online as a writer. All that being said, we did NOT want to do a normal wedding registry. As much as I wanted that heirloom silverware or a fancy blender, we were trying to get rid of our stuff not stockpile more! That’s when we discovered our saving grace: honeymoon registries.

There are a bunch of different honeymoon registry companies, and we ultimately went with Wanderable because they had the cheapest fees. It’s free to sign up and then when you receive gifts, they currently have a 2.5% service fee which you can choose to have your guests pay on top of the gift cost or have it deducted from the total gift amount. As far as I know, Wanderable is still the cheapest option out there.

At first, I was nervous that people would be offended that we were technically asking for cash or that they’d even decide to ignore the honeymoon registry and buy us physical gifts instead. But that did not happen! We got zero grief, even from the older crowd who I thought would be most resistant to this new fangled travel registry nonsense. Everyone (as far as I know) was so cool about it, and we ended up getting some incredible gifts!

Should you do a honeymoon registry?

Yes! It’s such a unique way for guests to be involved in your wedding and your life as newlyweds. They’ll be giving you experiences instead of things, and if you’re a nomadic soul like me, that’s priceless.

Here’s how it works on Wanderable’s site:

  1. Sign up for a free account and create a personalized list of activities or items you’d like to experience on your honeymoon. For us, that was things like a couple’s coconut oil massage and a honeymooner’s dinner on the beach. For you, it could be a guided tour of Paris or surfing lessons in Australia. Feel free to check out our actual honeymoon registry here for some ideas.
  2. Name a price for each item (e.g. 2 gifts of $75 each for a Thai cooking class) and write a short description or catchy title to tell your guests about each registry item.
  3. Add your bank account information so that you can get the gifts deposited directly into your bank account.
  4. Share the link on your wedding website and invitations. Guests can easily browse your registry and when they see something they’d like to buy, they “purchase” that item by sending you money directly with a credit card, check, cash (brought to the wedding reception), or PayPal. Even though you could technically use the cash for anything, we tried to stay true to our registry and do the activities that people really purchased for us.
  5. Rock out on your honeymoon and have once in a lifetime experiences, all thanks to your guests’ generosity!
  6. Once it’s all said and done, you’ll have the most incredible thank you note material because you’ll be able to tell your friends and family how their specific gifts — the experiences that they gave you — made your honeymoon special.

Who Should Do a Honeymoon Registry?

  • Couples planning a destination wedding and don’t want physical gifts weighing their bags down on the trip home.
  • Couples who won’t be starting married life with a traditional white picket fence and just don’t need new things.
  • Couples who wouldn’t be able to afford a honeymoon otherwise.
  • Anyone!

Really, I don’t see a reason why you shouldn’t do a honeymoon registry! You’ll always treasure those first experiences as newlyweds. Treasuring a waffle iron? Maybe not so much.