Decide how seriously things should be taken ahead of time

People are the most common reason weddings run late. Surely there are lots of specific catalyzing circumstances, but most of the time, at the heart of it, it’s well intentioned people trying to make your day perfect. It frequently backfires.

You’ll be giving different people agency over various aspect of your wedding day. Someone will be making sure the flowers are brought up to the hotel room. Someone will be making sure the jars for the sand ceremony are brought into the chapel. Someone will be helping with the groomsmen’s ties, and someone else may be there helping you get into your wedding dress. All of these people working for you will be taking their job very seriously, maybe more seriously that even you would. That’s something you want to avoid.

Taking some things too seriously is a frequent cause for delays, and only a fraction of the time is it the bride taking something too seriously. We once lost nearly a half an hour of shooting time because a maid of honor thought it was really important to get a leaf unstuck from between two layers of the bride’s dress. It wasn’t that important, it wasn’t important at all. Not in light of what they were giving up for it.

I suggest brainstorming a list of things that are allowed to make your wedding late—and anything that isn’t on that list, tough.

Hire a DJ who’s a team player

DJ’s do a lot more than just play music, they also give your photographers and videographers the pulse of the event. A good DJ can be the difference between lackluster images of a cake cutting, and really spectacular ones. The DJ is the ultimate gate keeper for what happens next at your wedding. Without them, things don’t move foreword. That’s why, if you have a photographer and/or a videographer covering your event, your DJ needs to be a team player.

While a DJ sets up in a specific place, and all his duties can be performed right there, a photographer and a videographer are looking for free moments to capture the sinuous and disparate parts of your wedding day. If there isn’t a special event happening, they may be off creating images on the back patio, or looking for wedding details they missed, or getting an unlikely photo with Uncle Joe and Aunt Linda. In other words, they’re less in tune with how the reception itinerary is unfolding.

One of the worst things a DJ can do is move onto a planned reception event without giving the photographer or videographer a heads up. Yet, as inexpensive and amateur DJ options become more available, it’s happening more often.

Your DJ, perhaps more than any other vendor, really needs to see themselves as part of Team Wedding, not the one track mind of just making a party fun.

Don’t let your venue put your wedding table under an exit sign (or anything distracting)

People who do not see like photographers should not set up arrangements for people who do. That’s not a knock against anyone personally. It takes years to see like a photographer. We notice things others don’t see until the photo comes out.

We’ve been to spectacular venues whose wedding coordinators made a floor plan that makes sense to the space, but looks horrible in the camera. For example, a recent barn wedding placed the couple’s head table with its back to the open barn door. If you’re standing in the space, it looks dramatic and seems to direct attention the way you’d want it to. But the images proved to be so badly backlit and there were no truly excellent angles.

In another example, a whimsical indoor venue placed the head table in such away that the only angle including the bride and groom in the same image also featured a nasty red exit sign. We took the time to remove it from the final images, but not all photographers will. Ask your photographer about the floor plan, and invite them to tour the venue with you. If they’ve never been there, they might jump at the opportunity.