Common Wedding Timeline Holdups: Travel and Reception | Friday Chatter

 Shot while second shooting for Nikki Schell Photography . Shot while second shooting for Nikki Schell Photography .

IT’S FRIDAY! I’m off to work with some sweet Penn State Seniors this weekend, and I just can’t wait! Do you have any fun plans?!

We are plugging along on this mini series on timeline holdups, and after today, we’ll only have one week left!! Today’s topic may not be the most exciting thing in the world, but it is SO important that you take these logistics into account before your wedding day. Today, we’re talking about common holdups when it comes to travel and your reception.

I say this all the time: time on your wedding day moves fast. Because of that, every second on your wedding day truly counts! Take these tips into consideration during planning to ensure that your day is smooth and enjoyable for everyone involved!

Just for reference, here’s what we’ve chatted about and what we have left to go!

Getting Ready
Prepare your Bridal Party
Ceremony and Family Portraits
Travel and Reception
(That’s Today!)
Other Delays & Mother Nature


Lost Transportation or Lack of Transportation

  • I cannot emphasize this enough! If you are considering having multiple locations play a part in your day (Getting Ready Location, Ceremony Site, Cocktail Hour, Reception, After Party etc.), then you have to have a means of transportation in between each spot. Whether it’s a party bus, limo, trusted friend in a big car, everyone drives themselves, it is within walking distance (you get the point… anything goes!), you need to make sure that you make arrangements before your wedding– please let everyone know what the plan is before it is happening. One of the biggest holdups I have seen (that also makes people very stressed and crabby) is when transportation vehicles are not where they are supposed to be, are late, or do not show (I’ve seen it happen before!). Run through your day from start to finish well in advance. Make sure that you have all of your bases covered, have considered both sides of the bridal party, have considered times when the bridal party may be separate, and have coordinated appropriate transportation for any applicable family members, vendors and guests. Then, sync up with your transportation vendors well before your day. Give them exact locations and times for pickup and drop off. By taking a little extra care to ensure that everyone will be taken care of, you’ll be one step ahead with keeping stress away on your wedding day!

Bonus tip: if your guests are responsible for navigating in between locations, please let them know the best way to get to and from spaces. Whether that be a designated driver, Uber or transportation provided by you, your guests will so appreciate having an idea of what to expect and how to plan ahead. I have seen a lot of couples include this detail on their wedding website! 

Bathroom Breaks, unpacked bags & not being ready to go

  • This point is mostly in reference to your lovely bridal party! I love having the opportunity to work with your sweet friends, but let’s face it… moving large groups of people is tough! One of the biggest delays that can happen when moving between locations occurs when people are just not ready to go. Please prep those that will be traveling with you from place to place ahead of time. Let them know exactly what time they have to be ready and where they should be. Also, they should take any bathroom breaks and ensure that their bags are packed well ahead of our departure! When everyone is on the same page, we will be good to go when it’s time AND there is far less risk in accidentally leaving anyone behind!

Bonus tip: if you have any friends that tend to run 15-20 minutes behind, feel free to give them a timeline that is moved up by about 10 or 15 minutes. This increases their chance of being on time!

Traffic, Traffic, Traffic

  • This may be the most “D.C.” point of this entire series, but you HAVE to account for time on the road and then some. On a normal day, there is nothing more stressful than sitting in bumper to bumper traffic. There is nothing more inconvenient than a motorcade. There is nothing worse than not knowing what is causing the delay up ahead or how long you will be stuck. Now… add standstill traffic with a rapidly approaching ceremony time and a crowd of expectant guests, and that is pretty much a recipe for panic. I recommend that my couples account for 1.5-2 times the amount of expected travel. Plan travel time with a buffer into your timeline in advance, so if the worst happens and you encounter gridlock on your day, it won’t be that big of a deal! As a bonus? If we don’t need the extra time, you have a few extra minutes for portraits or can take the time to enjoy your day!!


Variation in Vendor Timeline

  • I see this one more often than I would like to admit. Please make sure that your coordinating staff, photographer, catering team and DJ are all on the same page and have the same timeline before your wedding day. While this doesn’t necessarily cause a delay on your day, it could cause a pretty big hiccup in your coverage. For example, if your photography coverage wraps at 9:30PM and the timeline we have agreed upon says that you will be cutting cake at 9:00PM, and your DJ has created a different timeline for your reception that has you cutting cake at 9:45PM (PHEW that sounds like a lot of chaos), you could wind up with needing to extend your coverage or may have to sacrifice coverage of some pretty important moments! Ensure that each of your vendors are on the same page BEFORE your day to keep things flowing smooth.

Straying from your timeline also falls into the same camp! When one thing falls behind (for example: dinner service!), the other items behind it tend to domino. Talk with your vendors beforehand to create a timeline that works well for everyone involved and that will also ensure that everything you want documented is documented within your purchased coverage amount!

Delay in Vendor Meals

  • I typically request that my second shooter and I be fed at the same time as the sweet couple. We’ve been on our feet for a long day, and refueling is pretty much a necessity at this point! When we are fed at the same time as our couple, we will be ready to go for all of the exciting events that are set to follow dinner (like your dances, speeches, cake cutting and open dancing!). I always advise that my couples chat with their catering staff beforehand, as many caterers feed vendors last. I absolutely understand that your guests are and should be their priority. However, when we are fed last, this leaves us with little to no time to eat and return to your reception space. I always say that the earlier we are fed, the better because then we can eat quickly and will be able to get right back to it!

That’s it for today, friends! If you have any questions or want to chat, leave me a comment below!

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