How the Bridal Party Can Make or Break Your Wedding Timeline

how the bridal party can make or break the wedding day timeline by alyssa rachelle photographyA lot of things can throw off a wedding day timeline. It’s not uncommon for vendors like wedding planners or photographers to be named as the culprits. But in my experience, the bridal party has a ton of influence on the timeline.

Often times, the bridal party doesn’t realize just how much impact they can have! The bridal party sets the tone. The morning portion of the timeline is reliant on the bridal party getting ready on time. And to be honest, the bridal party can be a photographer’s quasi-assistants or become a major obstacle from giving the couple a great photographic experience AND gorgeous images.

For weddings with First Looks, the morning portion of the timeline is much more dependent on the bridal party. (Without a First Look, the ENTIRE day becomes more dependent on them.) The entire morning is dependent on the bridal party getting ready on time. When the timeline gets thrown off, the domino effect begins. Things tend to get much more stressful on EVERYONE from there on out.

A couple doesn’t deserve the kind of experience on their wedding day! So, here are some general recommendations that the bridal party can follow to help support their best friends well. (Based off of a wedding with a First Look.)


  • If the bride hasn’t already done it, gather all the details (e.g. rings, dress, veil, hair pieces, shoes, bouquet and boutonniere, jewelry, perfume, invitation suite, borrowed and blue, etc.) for her so that I can begin photographing them as soon as I arrive. This will save time from trying to gather them and asking the bride where to find things as the day begins building momentum. It’ll also give us more time to get getting ready shots of the bride with her girls!
  • Schedule more time than you think you need for the bridesmaid’s hair and makeup.
  • When the bride is getting close to the end of her hair and makeup, bridesmaids should be ready to get the infamous “robe shot.”
  • After we capture the robe shot, the Bride finishes getting ready. This is the time for bridesmaids and the Mother of the Bride to get into their dresses, because we want them to look their best while helping the bride into her wedding dress. If a bridesmaid isn’t 100% finished getting ready, like she’s missing jewelry, that’s okay! It’s better to not slow down the timeline, because these images focus on the bride anyways! No one will notice that earrings are missing, but they’ll notice the timeline being off!
  • Make sure the bride leaves for her First Look WITH her bouquet.
  • Bring the bouquets with you as you head out for the Bridal Party pictures.



  • Groomsmen need to be ready BEFORE the photographer comes to take getting ready pictures of the groom. This ensures that everyone looks their best when helping the groom is photographed doing things like getting his jacket on.
  • Make sure the groom leaves for his First Look with the boutonniere on.
  • Put boutonnieres on while the couple’s doing their First Look.


Entire bridal party:

  • If you plan on drinking during the getting ready portion of the day, consider assigning a Designated Non-Drinker to help keep things running smoothly, respectful to others, and on time.
  • Have your bouquets and boutonnieres delivered to the rooms you are getting ready in BEFORE the First Look.
  • Make sure ALL THREE RINGS are with the bride the morning of. Don’t hand them off to anyone else! I need to photograph those beauties in the morning with the other details!


Is this overwhelming? It can be! That’s why it’s so important to delegate and choose your bridal party (and photographer—shameless plug) wisely!

I hope this was helpful! I can’t wait to meet and work with whoever you’ve chosen to be by your side on your Big Day! 🙂