@missbabycakes: So funny you should ask! That was indeed my plan. I had asked the entire bridal party to arrive before 3 p.m. and to be ready for pictures by 3:30 p.m. at the latest. I wanted to take every possible picture that we could take before the ceremony (including those with my Fiance, since we had planned a special moment to see each other alone with just the photographer and videographer present before the group picture taking), so that we would be free to enjoy the second half of our hors d’oeuvre hour and begin mingling with our guests, etc.
However, I was married on a Friday night of a holiday weekend, and, between some delays at the salon and the horrendous traffic between the salon and the venue (it ended up taking more than two hours for me to arrive!), I was not in my gown and ready for pictures until 5 p.m. With the wedding set to commence at six, we could only take certain pictures before the ceremony, and all of those were in the brides room instead of outside on the lovely grounds, which had been a major reason I had selected this venue in the first place. We ended up having to take all of the other photos during our hors d’oeuvre hour and in the dark after dinner. Although I had an incredibly moving, special, beautiful and spectacular wedding that all of my guests later raved and raved about, I was totally unprepared for and completely unaware of how the timeline was unfolding.
I was absolutely devastated when I realized that there would be no time for me to greet the vast majority of my guests or introduce my husband to my family and friends. The only dancing Darling Husband and I had time for was our first dance, our dances with our respective parents, and our last dance. To make matters worse, because we were having to capture the photos at a much more hectic pace and during a time when we really should have been doing other, more important things (such as enjoying time visiting with our family and friends), we also did not capture some very important shots. Finally, because we were taking pictures during the second half of the reception, I never had a chance to remove my veil and have any pics of my elaborate “up do” without my veil covering it. I was distraught over all of this for about nine months after my wedding, when I finally was able to put it all into perspective and realize that everyone LOVED our wedding and had a marvelous time, and I was indeed married to Darling Husband, and none of these things was the end of the world. But, for those nine months after the wedding, I could think of little else.
So, all of that said, please make sure that you have a very good understanding of your timeline, and someone who is tasked with monitoring this, because I did not, even though I thought I did. Do not try to compress it, because things almost never go exactly as planned. Although I eventually was able to get over my disappointment (and I had a fabulous, formal bridal portrait taken without my veil a few months after the wedding, someting I never would have thought to have done if not for what happened!), I don’t want anyone else to have to go through the kind of sorrow I experienced because of unexpected changes to the timeline.
Best wishes on a wonderful wedding!