Joshua Tree Wedding and Elopement

Tips to make the most of your wedding day timeline

Because we know each other and we care about every minute for you to make the most of your day

Tips for getting the Most out of your Timeline

Looking to create a stress-free wedding day timeline that allows for celebration and ensures you capture your desired photos?

Establishing a well-structured timeline and being prepared are vital steps to achieve this. Here are our top tips based on our personal experience to help your wedding day run smoothly!

Leave Plenty of Time for Getting Ready

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Too often, brides underestimate the time required for hair and makeup, leading to delays in the wedding day timeline, particularly when it’s time to put on the dress.

It’s crucial to create buffer time to account for any unexpected delays.

This ensures that even if you fall 10, 15, or 30 minutes behind schedule, you’ll still be on track.
For instance, let’s say you have an event scheduled for 1:30pm, such as a first look or formal photographs, and it takes place on the same premises or within a 15-minute distance.

In most cases, we recommend aiming to start getting into your dress by 12:15pm or even earlier.

This allows you to give yourself plenty of time and even the opportunity to get ahead of schedule.

It’s important to anticipate that there will be at least one person who is highly focused on adhering to the timeline.

This person, sometimes known as a “timeline Nazi,” ensures that everyone stays on track and helps to avoid unnecessary delays.

Their role is to keep the wedding day flowing smoothly and according to the planned schedule.

Know That There Will Be at Least One Person Who Is a Timeline Nazi

bride sitting in a hotel room with a beautiful bouquet and crown on her head waiting for the moment of the first look

Absolutely, there’s often one person who becomes concerned about the wedding day timeline. It’s essential to identify this individual and have a conversation with them before the big day. 

Go over the timeline together and explain where the buffer times are allocated. Assure them that regardless of any minor deviations, your wedding day will be filled with joy and celebration.

By addressing this concern in advance, you can defuse any potential tension and ensure everyone is on the same page. This allows you to fully enjoy your comfortable and well-planned timeline without unnecessary stress.

In addition to managing the timeline, make sure to have all your wedding details organized and ready. This includes items such as your vows, marriage license, rings, and any other essential documents or accessories. 

Having everything together in advance will save time and prevent last-minute scrambling or delays on the day of your wedding.

Have All Your Details Together

camouflage details on a table such as a wedding invitation, wedding ring, some flowers and the bride's shoe

Are you a fan of intricate details? Or perhaps the more important question is, do you possess significant details that you would cherish to have beautifully styled and photographed as a memento? That’s precisely why we specialize in flat-lay photography.

Creating a captivating flat-lay arrangement requires a little time and effort, but the key to success lies in ensuring that all your items are organized and prepared for the photo shoot in a neat and orderly manner. 

In our guide, “Meaningful Items to Include in Your Flatlay,” we recommend keeping your smaller details in a plastic Ziploc or a similar bag, while larger details, if any, can be stored in a bigger bag. 

You can then gently place the Ziploc bag inside a small shoe box, which can be further placed in the larger bag. This way, you will be fully prepared to hand over your items directly to your photographer upon their arrival!

Keep everyone and everything together as much as possible during the process.

groom and bride being celebrated by showers of rose petals by the bridal party

Get ready to unleash the power of action! If you want to supercharge your wedding photos, it’s time to keep things streamlined and concentrated in just a few locations. Trust me, every minute counts when it comes to capturing those precious moments that will make your heart skip a beat.


Imagine this: by minimizing the number of locations, you’re not only minimizing travel time but also unlocking a world of possibilities for your talented photographers and videographers. Instead of wasting precious minutes on packing, loading, unloading, and all the logistics in between, they’ll be fully immersed in their art, capturing the essence of your special day in all its glory.


Picture this: a seamless, efficient flow that keeps the energy high and the focus sharp. By choosing to centralize your wedding experience, you’re creating a dynamic atmosphere where every detail, every emotion, and every magical instant can be captured with passion and precision.

Consider a First Look

groom and bride doing their first look the groom in a tuxedo and the bride in a beautiful dress

Now, I understand that you may have some reservations about the idea of a “first look.” And that’s perfectly alright! 

We believe in embracing individual preferences.

However, it’s hard to deny the fact that incorporating a first look can significantly enhance the flow of your wedding day timeline, which is why it has become so popular in modern times. If you’re still uncertain about when you should lay eyes on your beloved for the first time on your special day, we highly recommend reading our insightful article on the Pros and Cons of Having a First Look.

Let me paint a picture of how a first look can work wonders for your timeline. 

By opting for a first look, you have the opportunity to capture almost all, if not all, of your formal photographs before the ceremony even begins. 

Just imagine the freedom and excitement of saying “I do” and then diving headfirst into a night of pure celebration! 

Not to mention, you won’t have to worry about your guests anxiously waiting for dinner to start while you’re frantically wrapping up your photo session.

Embrace the possibilities of a first look and give yourself the gift of a seamless wedding experience. 

By taking care of the formalities ahead of time, you’ll be able to savor every precious moment with your spouse, friends, and family without any interruptions. It’s an opportunity to truly be present, soak in the joy of the occasion, and create lasting memories that will make your heart sing.

So, take a leap of faith and consider the advantages of a first look. It’s a chance to optimize your timeline, alleviate stress, and create a truly unforgettable wedding day that will leave you and your loved ones smiling from ear to ear.

Split Up Formals

bridal party posing for photos with a background of a house

Even if you’ve decided against a first look, there’s still a way to make your formal photographs more manageable and enjoyable. Let’s face it, not everyone relishes the idea of standing and smiling at the camera for an extended period. But fear not!

By splitting up your formal photo sessions, you can divide and conquer, ensuring that they don’t all happen at once.

Here’s a clever approach we often recommend: when a first look isn’t part of the plan, we suggest capturing the groom with his groomsmen and the bride with her bridesmaids before the ceremony.

This strategic arrangement allows us to focus on the full wedding party photos exclusively after the ceremony. Just imagine, you’ll be able to get the party started much sooner!

The same principle applies to family formal combinations. If you have specific shots in mind, such as portraits with your parents or other cherished relatives, consider setting aside some time before the ceremony to check those off your list.

By scheduling these sessions earlier in the day, you’ll have more flexibility and can ensure that everything flows smoothly without rushing or causing unnecessary delays.

So, why not take advantage of this practical approach? By splitting up your formal photographs, you’ll have the freedom to enjoy your day to the fullest and create beautiful memories with your loved ones.

And most importantly, it means less time posing and more time celebrating the joyous occasion that brought you all together.

Remember, it’s your day, and it should be filled with love, laughter, and cherished moments. By optimizing your photo sessions, you’ll have more time for the things that truly matter, allowing you to create an unforgettable wedding experience for both you and your guests.

Talk with Your Wedding Photographer and Go Line by Line Through Your Timeline

Bride and groom leaving the ceremony celebrating with their hands up and their guests applauding

We believe in the power of a “Timeline Planning Session” with our cherished couples. This dedicated time allows us to align our visions and ensure that we are perfectly synchronized for your wedding day.

We strongly recommend going through your timeline meticulously with your photographer, step by step. This collaborative effort ensures that everyone involved is on the same page and understands the flow of events.

It’s essential to make sure that both you and your photographer have a crystal-clear understanding of the locations where you’ll be capturing your precious photos. Knowing the exact spots in advance will help streamline the process and minimize any potential hiccups. Additionally, it’s always wise to have a backup plan in place just in case unforeseen circumstances arise.

By investing time in this planning phase and fostering open communication, you can relax and trust that everything will unfold seamlessly on your special day. Together, we’ll create a harmonious timeline that allows you to focus on creating lifelong memories while your photographer captures every joyous moment.

Make Sure You (and Your Photographer) Know Exactly Where You Are Going to Do Photos (And Have a Backup!)

Best Wedding Venues in Joshua Tree

Ensuring a seamless timeline includes having a well-thought-out plan for your photos, including couples portraits, wedding party photos, and family formal photos. It’s essential to have a backup location in mind in case your original choice is unavailable due to bad weather or any unforeseen circumstances.

By having a backup plan in place, you can save valuable time that would otherwise be spent searching for an alternative photo location or deliberating on the spot. 

This proactive approach allows you to make the most of every moment, ensuring that your photo sessions run smoothly and efficiently.

With a solid plan and a backup location, you can feel confident and prepared, knowing that even unexpected challenges won’t hinder the capturing of beautiful memories. 

By taking these steps, you can maximize the time available, allowing you to focus on enjoying your special day while your photographer skillfully documents every cherished moment.

And we arrived for your big moment

wedding couple dancing on an outdoor dance floor with lights and their guests around

The dance floor is where the magic happens, where the joyous energy of your wedding day comes to life. 

It’s the perfect ending to your celebration, where you can let go of any remaining stress and immerse yourself in the pure bliss of the moment, surrounded by your loved ones.

As the night unfolds and the music fills the air, take a deep breath and let the rhythm guide your every move. 

This is your time to shine, to create lasting memories as you dance hand in hand with your spouse, sharing laughter, smiles, and the sheer exhilaration of the occasion.

But it’s not just about the two of you. The dance floor is a gathering place for family and friends to come together, celebrating your love and the joyous union that has brought everyone together. 

It’s a time for laughter, hugs, and heartfelt moments shared with those who mean the most to you.

As you sway to the beat, surrounded by the sounds of laughter and the twinkling lights, let all worries fade away. 

Embrace the freedom of the dance floor, where time seems to stand still and happiness fills the air. It’s a celebration of love, a culmination of all the beautiful moments that have led you to this point.

So, savor every step, every twirl, and every spin. Let the music carry you away, as you create cherished memories that will live on in your hearts forever.

As the night draws to a close, you can take comfort in knowing that you have ended your wedding day in the most joyful and stress-free way possible, on the dance floor, surrounded by the love and laughter of those who have been there with you every step of the way.

So, let go of any remaining stress, embrace the magic of the dance floor, and dance the night away, ending your wedding day with pure, unadulterated happiness.

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Joshua Tree Elopement

We’re not a collective of associate or a team of photographers – we’re a family of wedding and elopement photographers fully dedicated to delivering the most beautiful imagery and experience of your Joshua Tree wedding or elopement. 

We’re outdoor enthusiasts and travelers living our best lives in our favorite place in the world. 16 years ago we discovered in wedding photography a way for us to create beautiful, heart-stirring, meaningful art. 

At the same time, it allows us to fulfill our love for adventure and connection with nature – all together as a family!

We traveled full time with our home on wheels, all across the 50 States photographing love for over 8 years. When the world stopped in 2020, we chose Joshua Tree, California to call home and be our base, as it holds such a special place in our hearts. Now, we get to photograph couples like you on your most important day, in a place that fills our souls. 

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Tips to make the most of your wedding day timeline
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