The story is all too familiar…
You’ve planned the perfect day, your timeline is precise – down to the minute.
The wedding finally arrives, and your picture perfect timeline is slowly going by the wayside.
No one is sticking to this timeline that you have slaved over for months!
(sound familiar?)
Today we’re talking about when weddings run late.

It always happens at other people’s weddings (not yours of course!), but are there things we can do to help everything stay on time?

When Weddings Run Late

Unrealistic Timelines

It’s all well and good to want to have everything happen at a specific time, but take a step back and ask yourself: is this realistic?

I love that you want to have all the girls do hair and makeup and get dressed and be ready for pictures in 30 minutes.

We are totally on board with having more portrait time for you and your besties!

But is it really possible to get all 6 bridesmaids (and you, the bride!) ready in such a short amount of time?

Take a step back and ask yourself how realistic it is.

Then add on 1/2 an hour to pad the schedule.


round cut engagement ring Saude Creek Vineyard

Forgetting About Mother Nature

Whenever a couple inquires with us, I will check what time the sun sets on their wedding day.

This is important if you’re having an outdoor wedding, if you want to do photos outside after the ceremony, if we need to move the ceremony time forward/backward, etc.

The reason we live and die by sunset times is because you get that gorgeous, soft, golden light right before the sun goes down.

It’s a dreamy way to finish wedding day photos.


Not Allocating Enough Time for Getting Ready

Did you tell the HMU artist you were only having 4 people, and on the wedding day she has to work on 9?

Did you have the perfect updo in mind, but changed your mind and now want something long and curly for your wedding?

Didn’t get a chance to button up/lace up that wedding dress and now you can’t figure out how on earth to do it? (even though the gal at the bridal shop made it look SO easy!)

Pro tip from MHD Beauty, LLC: don’t bother the bride and other attendants/family while hair & makeup is getting done unless you want a delayed timeline.

Faith, with Faith Redd-Walker says “Another reason we (HMUA) are blamed for why weddings run late is because of unrealistic timelines. The bride wants to change what time they need to be ready by, and often many of them don’t hire a reputable company because of budget. Then they get a person who backs out, show up late, isn’t timely etc because they can do it all for 40 bucks.”


Forgetting Things

I’m a big fan of the boy scouts motto: always be prepared.

On a wedding day, this sentiment couldn’t be more appropriate!

We’ve seen clients forget all sorts of things: flowers, suit jackets, scissors and even the wedding rings (I have never seen a groom so tense!). But with a little pre-planning, you can avoid this one easily.

We suggest having a master list of all the things that need to be brought with the bridal party on the wedding day.

This list should be with someone like the maid of honor, or a close relative. Someone who can keep a cool head and make sure to remember everything that needs to be brought.


Cavalier Hotel Bride Suite


This is such a big one!

Make sure you know how members of the bridal party (and family) are getting from one location to the next.

We’ve had instances where keys got locked into cars, the limo was late, and even one where the poor bride and groom were left behind because everyone thought someone else was driving them.

Also account for traffic.

We photographed a wedding once where the bride was driving from Town Center Virginia Beach where she got ready, to her ceremony site in Deep Creek….

on Friday afternoon…

at 4pm.

Needless to say that local traffic was terrible with everyone getting off of work, and the poor bride was an hour and a half late to her wedding ceremony!


Family Formals

I always tell people, doing family formals after the wedding is like trying to herd cats.

Everyone wants to scatter and chat, they want to get to the reception, and no one likes having their picture taken.

We prevent this by creating a master photo list that our couples fill out before the wedding ceremony.

On it, they list all the family groupings that they want, so we can get those done and release non-bridal party members to the reception.

Be preparing our couples and the families beforehand, we are usually able to do family formals in 20 minutes or less. 😎


Wedding Gown and Engagement Ring

Wedding Toasts and Speeches

Hands down – this can be one of the best parts of the evening.

I love when friends and family share about the bride and groom, the stories are often hilarious!

But not putting a time limit on speeches, or allowing anyone who wants to come up and talk can really derail your timeline.

Especially when you were only planning 5 minutes for toasts.

Make sure you know who will be speaking beforehand, and give them specific direction.

I always tell people keep it short, and make ’em laugh.


There you have it – our top reasons for when weddings run late.

What did you think – Is this spot on or out in left field?


Love What You See? Want to Have Your Own Session?!

If you’ve finished looking at our list for when weddings run late and are thinking to yourself – I don’t want that to be me! Awesome!!! We would LOVE to take the stress out of your wedding day and create some gorgeous images together! Feel free to message me by hitting the { CONTACT ME } button or by giving me a call at 757-749-5350. We can’t wait to create some magic!