The Final Six Months

Maybe you've had two years to plan or maybe you just got engaged last week! But with a wedding around the corner and 6 months left to plan, there are some items that need to be taken care of, and very important tips I have for you to stay on track!


Don't Stress

I know it may seem a bit cliche, but please do not stress. Everyone and their mother tells you that you need AT LEAST a year to plan a wedding but in my eyes, you're getting fed some very false information.

Planning a wedding in six months is far easier than planning a wedding in a year or two time period.

Yes, I said it! The less time you have to plan (to an extent) the easier it'll be!

Of course, that means more items to check off of your to do list in a shorter amount of time, but you still have the same number of items to check off that list as someone who has two years to plan. And here is why...

I once planned a wedding from start to finish in 10 days. Yes, 10 days. And to be completely honest, it sounded almost impossible when I first spoke with the couple, but as we began planning, I began to realize that it was one of the easiest weddings I had ever planned!

As we began booking vendors and making timeline and wedding day decisions, I knew and they knew that a decision needed to be made, and it needed to be made now. So many couples think, "I like both of these photographers and I just can't decide! I have two years to think about it and come to a decision, so that's plenty of time!"


It is now only a couple months before the wedding and that decision you thought you had plenty of time to make, now needs to be made. And it becomes more stressful than ever! You thought you had plenty of time, and you were stressed about making a decision and now with even less time, you become even more stressed about making your decision.

And so, with less time to put these items off, decisions are made quicker and items are checked off of your to-do list NOW, rather than waiting until later.


Limit Your Options

Instead of choosing between 10 venues, only look at three. Don't waste your time speaking to vendors who are over your budget or venues that won't fit your guest count. Limit your choices, and your decisions will be far easier!


Make A Decision and Move On

Deciding between two venues may be a touch call, and putting it off won't help. Whether it's now or in six months, you'll still love the same things about each venue and you'll still have a decision to make. So make it now, and move on.

Boy does it feel great to check items off of that list :)

Quick Tip: If you are having trouble with this, mark dates in your calendar when you HAVE to make these decisions by. These are your homework assignments and they cannot be late. So no matter what, your deadlines have to be met, just as your school work must get turned in on time. There is no other option.


Purchase "Hitched in A Hurry"

One of the best wedding planning guides for those of you who are planning your wedding in 6 months or less, only have 6  months left, or just for any bride in general, is called "Hitched In A Hurry," by Karley Kiker. It can be purchased here.

So whether you have four years or four months left you plan, make your decisions and move on, and have fun doing it! Because as always, if at the end of the day you are happily married, then that is all that matters :)

Timing Is Everything

While I strive to get each and every one of you to keep MARRIAGE at the center of your wedding plans, I still get brides worrying and stressing over this perfectly planned event. You want to impress your family and friends. You want your wedding to be the most memorable wedding they've ever been to. And so you ask, "What can I have at my wedding to ensure my guests have the very best time?"

Many will answer with food, more alcohol, a better DJ, a photobooth, more activities to do throughout the evening, and so on.

But my answer is even least in my eyes.

After hundreds of weddings planned at all different budgets, the one thing that you can do to ensure your guests have the very best time is timing.

That's right, timing. The timeline you plan for your day! Isn't it great that the best way to give your guests a memorable event doesn't cost you a penny? Yes, guests love good food but the majority will honestly not remember what they ate even a couple weeks later. You spend thousands and thousands of dollars on the perfect meal and it doesn't even stay in their memory?? What a waste!

But the one thing that guests will remember (good or bad) is the flow of the wedding day.

The Big No-No's of the Wedding Timeline

- Don't give your guests an hour of waiting time between the ceremony and reception, when it is only five minutes away!

- Keep the wedding flow going, so there is always something for them to do or see.

- Don't ever let your guests have enough time to think, "Soooo, what are we supposed to do now?"

- Don't leave four hours of "just dancing" time at the end of the evening. One hour to an hour and a half is just perfect!

Time and time again, I have couples who want to extend their night to 7, 8, 9, or even 10 hours. I know you just want to keep the party going but there just aren't enough activities in a wedding to actually keep your guests satisfied for that long! And even if you plan a full day of activities, that is just way too long to keep their attention, let alone tiring!

So keep your wedding day to around 5 or 6 hours long and that's just enough time for everything you'll have planned. Keep the flow of the day going and never leave your guests questioning what they are supposed to be doing. By hiring a coordinator to plan your day out and a DJ who is great at keeping your guests informed and entertained, you'll have no problem having the most memorable wedding of the year.

And it won't cost you a penny.

If you need any help mapping out your day, you can refer to this wedding day timeline to use as a reference guide. And even this one is as far stretched out as you should have it!

7 Tips to Maximize Your Photographer's Time

Written with love, by Holly Green

Every stress-free wedding begins by creating an organized wedding day timeline. Most couples don’t realize you will be with your wedding photographer during 80% of that time. Since you’re paying good money for that photographer and want the best photos possible, maximize their time! Most brides contact me and say something along the lines of “my ceremony is at 4 and my reception is at 7, how many hours do I need you?” Although those times are helpful, there are many other factors that go into the timing of your day. For example, I would need to know what type of ceremony you’re having. An outdoor ceremony may be 30 minutes while a Catholic wedding may be an hour. When a Bride or Groom says the reception begins at 7, does that mean cocktail hour for the guests, when they are entering, or is that when dinner is served? As you can see it can get overwhelming very quickly!

A Photographer's Timeline

A typical timeline for a photographer would look something like the following:

        2:00- Arrival at ceremony location- getting ready
        4:00- Ceremony begins
        5:00- Family Photos
        5:20- Bridal Party Photos
        5:30- Photos of bride and groom and the ceremony site
        5:45- Leave for reception site
        6:15 - Photos of the Bride and Groom at the reception site
        7:00- Enter reception- Toasts- Cake Cutting
        7:30- Dinner
        8:30- Dances
        10:00- Photographer leaves

This timeline, though common, always varies on the specifics of YOUR wedding. To get the most of your photographer you’ll need to consider the following aspects of your wedding day.

Getting Ready

Most brides will want getting ready shots in some way. That can range from hair and make-up photos early in the morning to an hour before the ceremony in the venue’s bridal suite. If you want photos of your hair getting done, begin photos when the bride starts her hair/makeup process (and have the bride go last). Having you photographer arrive at the very beginning of your hair/makeup will be a waste of their time and your money. Women don’t want many photos of themselves make-up free. If you can do without hair and makeup photos I would have your photographer arrive 1 1/2 to 2 hours before the ceremony. That allows them time to photograph your dress, shoes, and other details, get some candids of the girls hanging out, photos of the bride getting into her dress, etc.

Ceremony Length

This is usually simple information you can get from your venue and/or officiant. If you have a ceremony at a church it will most likely be 45 min-1 hour. If its elsewhere 30 minutes is more common.

First Look

Most couples opt to do what is called a first look. Essentially a first look is setting up a location for the bride and groom to see one another for the first time on their wedding day. This allows you to see each other before the ceremony and get the majority of your photos out of the way. Not only does it ease stress, but it allows for more candid expressions. Believe it or not, I get more grooms crying during the first look than down the aisle. Why? I can only assume that they don’t feel the pressure of all eyes on them and having to hold it in! The other good thing a first look does is that it cuts down on post-ceremony photos which allows you to be with your guests at the reception faster.

Waiting Guests

If you take your photos after your ceremony your guests are inevitably going to have to wait. That includes times for the photos, traveling times, and loading/unloading of the bridal party into vehicles. If you want to drive 30 minutes to another location, the guests are going to be waiting during that time.

Travel Time

This is the most important question if your ceremony and reception are at separate locations. Many couples will have the ceremony at a church, go to a park after the ceremony for photos, then go to the reception. Try to pick locations close by unless you do a first look. As I mentioned earlier, your guests will be waiting during your travel times. Those travel times also cut into the span of time you’ll have for you photos. If you’re traveling 30 minutes one way and 30 minutes back, that's an hour you could have had better use of your photographer.

Family Photos

If your family is relatively organized it takes about 2-3 minutes per photo. ALWAYS make a list of the family combinations that you want. Whether your parents are divorced, siblings are married, you have grandparents who need to be in group shots, etc. There are hundreds of combinations possible. Narrow this list down to the photos you truly want to have. Do you need 2 photos of your whole family one with and one without the groom or will having one with him do just fine?

Receiving Line

Most weddings now don’t have a receiving line. One reason is it takes a major cut into your photo time. The second reason is that guests don’t want to wait in a long line just to talk to you. Greet your guests at every table after you’ve finished dinner. They’ll be much more relaxed, happy, and it will be a significantly more personal welcome. Not only that, but you will get plenty of beautiful candid shots that way.

By answering these questions you can easily simplify the planning of your day. You’ll maximize the use of your photographer and ease your stress considerably.

Last piece of advice, when in doubt round up! Buffer time will ALWAYS work in your favor.

At Green Holly Weddings we have developed an award winning style. We have won both the Bride's Choice Award and the Golden Feather Award for 2013, 2012, and many previous years. Holly has a bachelors degree in Photography from the College for Creative Studies and 9 years experience in the photography business.

Our ultimate goal is to tell the story of YOUR day, not the generic wedding day. When documenting a wedding, your end photos should feel how your day felt. With Holly you are hiring someone who has experience, and whose work you'll love. You can trust her to capture the complete story without mishap, in a way that is meaningful to you.