Common Wedding Timeline Holdups: Prepare your Bridal Party | Friday Chatter

Happy Friday, Friends! As you may know, I have been diving into timeline holdups and potential solutions to help you fix ’em! Last week, we dove into the Getting Ready portion of the day, and today, we are diving into the bridal party and portraits aspect of your day! Specifically, we are chatting about how you can prep your bridal party well! Just to get you pumped, see below for the schedule I’ll be following during this mini series (and links to previous posts!):

Getting Ready
Prepare your Bridal Party (That’s today!)
Ceremony and Family Portraits
Travel and Reception

Other Delays & Mother Nature

I’m so excited to help you learn how to best prepare your bridal party to be there for you on your wedding day, so let’s dive right in!

You love your friends, right? That’s why they’re standing next to you on your big day! It is so much fun to celebrate your love and a brand new chapter of life with your favorite people by your side, but, this comes with a little extra planning and prep work! Keeping people happy and involved does take work, but by planning ahead and thinking about the people involved with your day, you can actually use your bridal party to make your day easier and more enjoyable for all of you! Below, you will find some of the most common bridal party holdups that I have seen with some advice on how to help:

A large bridal party

  • Any time you introduce more people into the mix, you are introducing more personalities, more personal timelines and more potential to run off schedule. I know you love all of your friends and would love to have all 10-15 of them by your side on your wedding day! This is wonderful, but please know that this takes a lot of extra planning. When you have a large bridal party, you have many more people to coordinate. If your bridesmaids and groomsmen are not aware of where they need to be when, I have found that we often waste 5-10 minutes (and sometimes even more!!) waiting for someone to come back from the bathroom or to arrive from another part of the property.

    To put that into perspective, this could be close to half of the time we have scheduled to photograph your bridal party together!! Having a large bridal party is possible, if you prepare your crew in the right way. I had a bride this past year create a personalized day-of timeline for each member in her bridal party. It included their meal times, hair and makeup schedule, times for group portraits, suggested times for freshening up or using the bathroom, ceremony details, where to find transportation, etc. It was SO thorough! I threw up all the praise hand emojis when I saw this, and let me tell y’all, it helped SO much. Her bridal party felt confident and included on the wedding day, and they knew when they had to be where. They also knew how they could help and could answer any questions that came up throughout the day! It made this sweet couple’s day relaxing and really helped things run on schedule.

Quick tip: when it comes to selecting your bridal party, I often recommend choosing 4-5 of your closest friends (maximum; less than that is okay too!!) to stand by you on your wedding day! 

Being late to dress

  • This point could go in both this week and last week’s post! During the getting ready portion of your day, I will have your guys and gals assist with putting the finishing touches on my grooms and brides. A best man will help the groom into his jacket, a maid of honor may help a bride into her necklace, the girls may do a first look with the bride–you get the point! At this time, I like the entire bridal party to be dressed and ready to go. When we have members of the bridal party that are straggling to get into their day-of clothes, it can really set us back on time! I recommend letting your crew know that they have to be ready at least 15 minutes before your are both scheduled to dress. Give them plenty of time to track down shoes, accessories and ties! By having everyone dressed and ready to go ahead of time, not only will they will look much better in your getting ready photos, but when it is time to move onto bridal party portraits, everyone will be ready!

Bathroom breaks, makeup touchups, lack of focus and arriving late

  • Common thread here, y’all: It is important that you emphasize to your bridal party, just how important it is to be on time on your wedding day! When members of your bridal party take a few minutes each time we are moving locations to adjust makeup, take a bathroom break, or hit the bar, we are losing a lot of precious time. My biggest tip here would be to share your day of timeline with your crew well in advance. Let them know when they need to be where and that it is so important that they are on time! Add a few suggested times for them to freshen up on their timeline, if necessary. When they are prepared ahead of time, this will make the biggest difference! (Plus, they’ll know exactly when they can plan to hit the bar!!)

Quick tip: we all have the friends that seem to run about 15 minutes late everywhere they go. That won’t fly on your wedding day! I recommend giving your crew a padded timeline when you feel it is appropriate. Add a good 15-20 minutes to start times, if needed! So, if group portraits occur at 3:30, it may be a good idea to let them know that they should be ready to start at 3:15! That way, even if their natural rhythm is 15 minutes behind schedule, they will arrive right on time!

The under (and the over) fueled bridal party

  • Let’s talk about food and alcohol here for a second, friends. A well fed bridal party is a happy bridal party. When people are underfed, they often get irritable and cranky. Complaints and lack of cooperation during bridal party portraits really does set us back on timeline! Feed your people! It is so important to have lunch and little nibbles on hand to keep your crew fueled throughout the day. It will help keep everyone feeling good and will keep hanger at bay. It is a win-win for everyone all day long!

    Now, let’s talk about the over fueled bridal party…. I don’t want to sound like a total party pooper here, but I might! Your wedding day is a day of celebration and should be treated as such! I will say though, that portraits, especially group portraits, are a lot easier (for everyone–not just me!!) if you save the toasts and the shots for after. If I’m being honest, a bridal party that has already entered party mode is really hard to work with– it can take FOREVER, and no one wants to be in front of the camera when fun is to be had! I know how important these photos are for you, so please empower your bridal party members before hand by letting them know that: “YES! You are a huge part of this day and I want these photos to remember it forever! I want you to look good in photos, and then I want you to enjoy the party! Just please get through these pictures with me first.” A few mimosas or beers before hand never hurt anyone, but it is always easiest to get through these photos quickly if your crew hasn’t hit a rowdy level yet.

I hope that helped, friends! My biggest tip when it comes to utilizing your bridal party to stay on time is PREP! Communicate and prepare your bridal party ahead of time to help eliminate confusion and to ensure that everyone is where they need to be when they need to be there! Do you have any tips on managing bridal parties? If so, I would love to hear them in the comments!

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like:




  1. […] Ready Prepare your Bridal Party Ceremony and Family Portraits (That’s Today!) Travel and Reception Other Delays & Mother […]

  2. […] Ready Prepare your Bridal Party Ceremony and Family Portraits Travel and Reception Other Delays & Mother Nature (That’s […]

  3. […] done a post on this before (read it here!), but I’ve found that larger wedding parties often have a way of causing us to run behind on […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *