WE MADE IT, Y'ALL! Not only is it FRIDAY, but we've also made it to the final installment of my mini series on common timeline holdups! This weekend, I'm off to Baltimore to celebrate my sister's birthday... but first, I have a quick head shot session with some sweet friends and super top-secret project to take care of! Spoiler alert: this girl is PUMPED! It's going to be a GOOD one!
Get up to date with what we've chatted so far throughout the common wedding timeline holdups by clicking through to the links below!
Today, we're talking about miscellaneous timeline holdups and our favorite unpredictable gal, Mother Nature! Most of these are not necessarily timeline holdups, but are factors that have potential to cause delay or large changes to your day that you must keep top of mind while you're planning. It may sound silly to look up the sunset time during a specific season while you are deciding on a date & booking venues, but it really does matter! Let's dive into what you need to keep an eye out for during your planning process!
Winter Weddings: Snow, Icy Roads & Dangerous Conditions
I don't think anyone will deny that we're coming off of a really fun winter that was filled with lots of unpredictability. If you are having a winter wedding or are considering a winter wedding, you have to take the potential for snow and icy road conditions into account. I'm from Texas, so not only do I have zero idea of how to drive in the snow, but I have seen how crazy DC drivers get when even the smallest flurry falls from the sky. It's not fun (or safe!) to be on the roads!
If you are having a winter wedding, I often recommend that you minimize travel between locations and opt to have your ceremony and reception at one location. This is a much safer bet for both you and your guests and will save a ton of time, should the weather turn foul. It is so important to have a plan in place well in advance, should you be lucky en0ugh to receive a giant snowfall on your wedding day. If you do have multiple locations involved with your wedding day (like a ceremony at a church with a different reception venue), please take some time to think about and plan transportation options to ensure that your guests are able to safely get from location to location.
A note on how I handle snow days: If your day happens to have a large blizzard or large snowfall scheduled within the time that the 10 day forecast is released, I will typically request a hotel room from you for the night prior (if lots of driving is involved) to ensure that I am able to arrive on time as well. Nothing would cause you more panic than, first having all of your family and friends traveling through a snow storm on your wedding day, but then having your photographer snowed in the morning of.
Sunrise and Sunset
Mother Nature is pretty strict about when she likes to start and end her days. These times, specifically sunset, really do dictate quite a few things about your wedding day, especially for my fall and winter brides. We're going to focus on sunset today as it relates to your wedding day! While it may not cause a timeline holdup specifically, sunset does mark the end of when we are able to photograph you as a couple, outside, with gorgeous natural light. This is a HUGE priority of mine because these are the sweet photos that I know you will hang in your home, will treasure for years and that your grandkids will love to look through in the future.
What this means is that, if you are getting married in the winter and your ceremony is later on in the day (Let's say you are planning a 3:30PM or 4:00PM Catholic Mass), we will need to take your portraits prior to your ceremony. This means that a first look is an absolute necessity. Limited daylight does come with a tighter timeline, and I always am so incredibly grateful when my couples are able to be flexible with what their day looks like. This photog is team first look all the way, y'all!
During spring and summer weddings, sunset isn't as big of a deal, but it does play a factor in scheduling outdoor ceremonies and sunset portrait times. I love to take some time at sunset with my couples for some intimate married portraits in some gorgeous golden light. I have had a few couples that wish to have a sunset ceremony and do not want to do a first look. I always request that we will need at least TWO (ideally more!) hours for bridal party and family photos, in addition to bride and groom portraits scheduled throughout your day. Keep this in mind while setting your ceremony time (in winter, spring, summer & fall weddings!) to ensure that sunset doesn't cut your portrait time short.
Rain, rain, go away
Rain on a wedding day may just be everyone's biggest nightmare! I want to let you know that it doesn't have to be a big deal, if you plan ahead. If you are having an outdoor ceremony or reception, it is an absolute must that you do consider how rain could play a part in your day well in advance. Sorry... hoping for the best is not going to fly, and if the worst happens and it pours down rain, you will be so happy on your day that you do have a plan in place! Please, please, PLEASE have a plan in place (that you are happy with) well in advance of your wedding day. Please talk to your venue about this and ask them what everything will look like in addition to how fast the setup can be turned around, just in case! By having a plan in place, you will be able to focus on what really matters during your day, instead of making logistical and stressful decisions at the last minute. Rain does tend to hold things up during portrait times, but that is something we are able to work with (Thank you, clear umbrellas & Dark Sky!).
Leaving your planning to the last minute
Wedding days don't just happen. They take a lot of work and time and care and planning. I always say that I have found the most chill and relaxed weddings to be the weddings that have been the most thought out and coordinated. Think ahead and plan ahead. By turning your ideas into well planned action, you are already so far ahead in regards to staying on timeline. When you wait until the last minute to get things together, I guarantee that you will get stressed out and something may slip through the cracks, leading to more even stress on your wedding day. That's no fun! Pace your planning over the course of your engagement and have FUN with it!
Parking... especially in cities!
This is the newly found city gal in me coming out! If you are planning on traveling between multiple locations on your wedding day, you need to confirm that there is easily accessible parking at every spot... or you need to have someone that is able to stay with our vehicle at each spot. From portrait locations to your ceremony and any other pitstops along the way, there is a huge potential to fall behind on schedule, just because we had to stop to find parking. I don't know about my other DC friends, but I have often circled my neighborhood for 15-20 minutes in search of just one spot in walking distance to my front door. That sounds like major panic on a wedding day!
Photo permissions and permits
I know I am a stickler when it comes to this, but this is just your friendly reminder that you need to make sure that you have photography permission for all properties that will be utilized during your day. If your wedding is happening on one property (like a wedding venue!), chances are good that you are a-okay to go! However, if you have more moving parts and desire to venture off to additional locations, you must confirm that you have the proper permissions for each spot. You will need a permit at the monuments and many other locations in the DC area, in addition to other large cities and metro areas (wedding dresses are major flags for those that are responsible for enforcing photo permissions!). You will need to secure the time from your church to have your family portraits taken at the alter. (Often, churches and larger cathedrals have a quick turn around between weddings, so it is always best to check to be absolutely certain that we will have enough time!)
I have heard horror stories of brides thinking that they did not need to secure permissions and have been turned away from multiple locations, with their family members and bridal party in tow. When in doubt, just ask! We run into hiccups when we have not been granted permission and are forced to make a brand new plan on our feet, often with family members along for the ride! Transporting that many people can bring a lot of tension on its own, so please confirm that you have photography permissions at your desired locations before committing to a spot!
That's all, y'all! There are plenty more timeline holdups that we haven't covered, but I hope that helped give you an understanding of some of the holdups that I see over and over (or felt were really important to communicate with you!). I am an open book, so if you have any questions or uncertainties about planning your day, please don't hesitate to send me a note!
If you enjoyed this post, you may also like these posts on these other common timeline holdups: