Tips for Brides

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How to create a wedding timeline

How to create a wedding timeline by Mabyn Ludke Photography
Creating your wedding timeline can be extremely stressful. Especially if you have to do it all on your own. Here are a few tips on how to create a wedding timeline that kicks butt!

A Traditional Wedding Timeline:

A traditional wedding timeline looks like this:
  • Getting ready time
  • Ceremony
  • Cocktail hour/ Formal photos
  • Reception
 
There are a lot of little spots in there to add subcategories, but we’ll get to that in a minute. The first thing you’ll want to look at is how your priorities fit into the basic timeline. I’ll use Daniel & my wedding as an example (photos not from our wedding day). When we got married our over arching priorities were guest experience, photography, & honeymoon. The honeymoon doesn’t apply here so we’ll remove that and focus on the others. Photography & guest experience both played a big roll in how we scheduled our day. I’m pretty biased when it comes to photography, so we centered our schedule around the best times for photographs!
We hired our photographer for these strengths: moments, artistry, & use of light (especially golden hour). She excels at all three and we wanted to capitalize on those strengths.
 
On the flip side of that, I also wanted to get married at sunset. There was something so romantic about saying “I do” as the sun set behind the mountains! Here in lies the problem with a traditional timeline. Had we kept the timeline above, we would have missed out on our photographer’s keen golden hour skills. We found that a traditional wedding timeline just didn’t work for us.
 Charlotte Photography Mabyn Ludke shows you how to create a wedding timeline
 

A Non Traditional Wedding Timeline:

Our non traditional timeline looked something like this:
  • Getting Ready
  • First Look
  • Cocktail Hour/ Formal Photos
  • Ceremony
  • Reception
 
There are a few unique things here, we chose to see each other before the wedding at the First Look. We also chose to have all of our formal portraits done ahead of the ceremony. This required our guests to arrive at the venue 2 hours prior to the ceremony! We didn’t want to compromise our guest experience, so we opted to position our cocktail hour before the ceremony as well. This insured our guests were well fed and had a good time while Daniel & I were off with our fabulous photographer!

 

A dramatic photo on the topic of how to create a wedding timeline by Mabyn Ludke Photography

Micro-Events:

Once you get the big events sorted, you’ll want to look at the micro events. These events are things like your unity candle, first dance, cake cutting, etc… Scheduling these events is mostly preference.
With a majority of these events take place during the reception there are 2 schools of thought. Get them all done at once OR spread them out through the night.
 
Again, think about your priorities and how they align. With guest experience in mind, we chose to have all of our events together.
We didn’t start our “party” until after the main events (i.e. formal dances & cake) were done. This allowed our guests to leave early if they didn’t want to drive down the mountain roads in the dark.
 
However, in some situations everyone is close by or staying at the venue so it would make sense to pace out your events for a long evening of fun!

Buffer Time:

There are a few places you’ll want to add in a little bit of “buffer time” in case things run late. Three big places to add in extra time is for hair & makeup, if you’re traveling for photographs, or you expect long winded toasts.

 

A hilarious wedding exit at this Charlotte, NC barn wedding captured by Mabyn Ludke Photography
Now that wasn’t so bad was it? You’ve got the tools, now go have fun & create a kick butt wedding timeline!
 
XOXOXO,
Mabyn

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How to Plan a Wedding Timeline

Wedding

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Middle Fork Barn, Meadowview VA

I love that every story we get to tell is so unique! One weekend we’ll be at an upscale hotel shooting an elegant back tie affair. Then next we’ll be in a backyard for an intimate casual event.
For this wedding we traveled up to the Middle Fork Barn in Meadowview VA for a country wedding!
Middle Fork is an incredible wedding venue. It’s nestled in the Appalachian mountains with acres and acres of rolling hills to see.
It was my lucky day because thunderstorms were passing by and gave us some seriously epic clouds! We all know how much I love clouds and mountains and here they are in one gorgeous wedding day!

Keeping it authentic!

Hillary & Will are so authentic and down to earth as is their families. Will loves to keep everyone laughing with his jokes and Hillary’s warmth is incredibly inviting. They make a perfect pair! We were immediately welcomed into the fold as family which we just love! It was a DIY affair and all hands were on deck. Family and friends scurried around all afternoon setting everything up. I loved all the rustic details that Hillary & her family had made themselves. It added a beautiful personal touch to the entire day.
 
When Hillary & Will were ready we got them together for their first look and I was trying hard not to cry! All the anticipation that had been building up burst from both Hillary & Will in tears of joy! What an emotional and beautiful moment.
 
From then on family & friends started to flood in through the gates to get ready for their ceremony. While they said their vows, cows even moseyed over to watch their union! It was literally picture perfect with the clouds, mountains, and joyful moments. I couldn’t stop snapping away! As Hillary & Will exited their ceremony, they gave one last epic kiss before running away to the barn! A signal to start the party!
 
The rest of the evening was filled with home made BBQ, soda pop, and LOTS of laughter. It was truly a joy to witness! Thank you Hillary & Will for allowing us to capture your beautiful country wedding day! We loved every moment!
 
XOXOXO,
Mabyn

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Middle Fork Barn Wedding in Meadowview, VA

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If your thinking of going the DIY route when planning your wedding, this next post will prove to you how it pays off! Denyea & Brandon’s wedding was a DIY Bride’s dream! I was dooling from the moment I drove into the driveway! Their wedding was the epitome sweet rustic joy! From the cotton blossoms in the bouquets to the wagon ride leading to our photo location! Denyea really thought of everything!

Take that and then top it off with two of the sweetest people I’ve had the opportunity to photograph! Their day was a beautiful reminder of sincere love. The testaments of all of their guests mooning over them is the proof! I loved listening to their story and how this has been an event in the making that everyone was overjoyed to be a part of! I sure was too and I am so thrilled to be able to share these images with you! Thank you so much Denyea & Brandon, it was an honor and a joy!

xoxoxo,
Mabyn

How did you meet?
We met at LeMoyne College, Brandon sat down on a couch next to me and we started talking, then I met him a few weeks later in a kilt and I knew it was love 🙂
How did your fiance propose?
We rode out to my parents hill overlooking Jamesville Beach to watch the balloons come up during the balloon festival… when the balloons had all gone up and the sun started setting, Brandon was on one knee
Tell me a bit about the planning process for your wedding (how did you pick the venue, colors, funny stories, etc..):
We got enganged and were about to leave for Germany for a bit, so we knew we had to act quick. The very night of the engagement, we were so excited we picked the date and the colors, and picked everything out before our trip. Justin’s Grill has great food and one of our friends had a beautiful wedding there, so we were sold. As the planning continued, our original black and white wedding turned into a black and white and… taupe and pewter. Most of the wedding was handmade as I perused the shelves of the Rescue Mission for over 100 vases, created mercury glass candle holders from clear ones, or made the invitations. I became such a DIY bride… which made it ever so special!
What details at your wedding had special significance?
Instead of doing a favor, we made a donation to the CNY SPCA. It felt so good to walk in there and make a donation. We love animals and want to do whatever we can to help! Our wedding song was also really special. Although it is kind of a sad song, it meant something important to us at the very start of our relationship. I can keep going by the way… everything was special!
What was the most memorable moment(s) of your day?
Walking down the aisle to meet Brandon- so much excitement, anticipation… everyone is looking at you, but you are looking at him! (Denyea) My best moment was when I got to kiss my wife Denyea. (Brandon)
If you had to do it all over, would you change anything?
Nothing!
Funniest memory from your wedding day?
Brandon was accidentally called a wife as the priest was going over the vows.
What was your favorite wedding purchase?
Our HONEYMOON! It was a surprise for Denyea!
Where did you go on your honeymoon?
Exuma Island in the Bahamas
Any advice for future bride & grooms?
It goes by fast, take every moment in!

Denyea was a stunning bride and I fell in love with her family! Her dad wiping away a tear gets me every time!

St. Matthew’s is absolutely gorgeous! So many beautiful angles to snap moments from!

We had 2 locations to do photographs after the ceremony. The first was the dorm at Le Moyne where Denyea & Brandon first met. The second was a field at Denyea’s parents home. The whole wedding party, parents, family dog, myself, assistant all jumped on in for one giant & amazing wagon ride! How many weddings do that?! My job is AWESOME!

Denyea was a DIY fiend! My jaw literally dropped when I walked into Justin’s Grill! All of the sweet country details that she put so much time & effort into really paid off! I was SO IN LOVE!

Hair: Joseph Anthony and Co.//Makeup Artist: Myself//Dress Designer & Store Location: Enzonie, New York Bride//Jewelry: Swavorski//Veil or Hair accessories: My mom’s veil redesigned by New York Bride//Shoes: Nina//Bridesmaids Dresses: Impressions, New York Bride//Grooms Attire: Mens Warehouse//Ceremony Venue: St. Matthew’s Church, East Syracuse//Reception Venue: Justin’s Grill, East Syracuse//Additional photo venue: Bride’s Parent’s Home//Florist: Melanie Daly//Transportation: S and S Limo//DJ: J Hatch DJ//Caterer: Justin’s Grill//Cake: Sweet Endings Bakeshop, Jamesville//Event Designer: Myself//Wedding Coordinator: Myself and Heather MacArthur and Justin’s Gril//Invitations & Stationary:  Myself//Other: All me!

Music:
Special Ceremony Music: Ave Maria sung by college friend Ellen Romano//Introductions: Each member of the bridal party had own based on personality and personal memories//Father/Daughter: “Just Fishin'” by Trace Adkins//Mother/Son: “Edelweiss” from Sound of Music//First Dance: “The Scientist” by Coldplay

Denyea & Brandon’s Love Story