Some people will leave the wedding day timeline until late into the planning process. Assuming that once the ceremony's locked in, everything else will just figure itself out. And it's a fair assumption to make. After all, the ceremony dictates what time your guests will arrive. But getting everyone to attend on time is just the first hurdle. Once the ceremony's out of the way, there's still a heap of other important wedding day traditions to squeeze in after you've said your 'I dos'. And depending on how late in the day you get married, that window of time narrows even more.

Making your timeline vital to ensuring everything runs smoothly. After all, a half hour out, here or there, can make the world of difference. Creating a domino effect where everything after that one late start gets thrown into chaos. So, what's a girl or boy to do when trying to keep their wedding to time? As someone who's been through the process (and attended MANY a wedding) knows: it's all about the planning. So I've pulled together my 5 top tips to take on board when creating your wedding day timeline…

1. Tell a little white lie (or two)

We all have them, those friends or family members who just seem to run to a different time zone than the rest of the population. They enter fashionably late to EVERY event. In fact, they're so adept at being late they could make a career out of it. You're thinking of that person right now aren't you? I know me too! But, despite their timing shortcomings we love them anyway (even if they do occasionally drive us up the wall). My advice when dealing with habitual latecomers? Lie. Tell them the ceremony starts half an hour earlier than it does. In fact, tell EVERYBODY the ceremony starts earlier than it does. There's nothing worse than a walk-in when you're already into your vows. And (like they say) the occasional white lie never hurt anyone…

2. Assume everything takes longer than it actually does

If your day's going to stay on schedule it's essential you allow extra time for every part of the process to unfold. If you keep your timings too short, it's easy for one thing to overrun and tip the entire days order out of whack. Case in point: The Royal Wedding (the ceremony overran by 15 minutes). Once that first timing mishap occurs there's no going back. Something else will have to speed up or be cut short to compensate. Or you risk your evening guests arriving while everyone's still enjoying dinner awkward. So overestimate EVERYTHING on the day. Allocating more time than you truly think you need. It will save you a ton of stress when something does (inevitably) overrun.

3. Know your formal photography timings

Formal photos always seem like a good idea on paper. But even the best-laid plans have a tendency to go awry from time to time. The thing about formal photographs is that they rely on people (several people) simultaneously being where they're supposed to be at exactly the same time. Trust me, even with the most precise wedding day timings it never works out this way. In fact, think back to all the weddings you've been to. Isn't there always someone searching for a bridesmaid, best man or mother-in-law because they're needed for a formal photo? All these lost minutes searching for your wedding party soon add up. And that's on top of the time it actually takes to capture that perfect picture once everyone is together. So, make sure you factor in enough time for your formal photos. 30 photos can easily add up to an hour (or more).

Here are some realistic timings I give to my couples to help you plan:

Groups of 2-3 people: 3 minutes per photo

Groups of 5-8 people: 4 minutes per photo

Groups of 10+ people: 10 minutes per photo

Couple shots: 2 x 15 minute sessions (one at sunset)

4. Know your sunset time

Believe me, sunset's golden hour is THE BEST time to capture photos of the two of you together. The fading light is like a gift from nature. So I always try to steal my couples away just as sunset is starting for a short 15-minute shoot. And because sunset is fixed it's imperative you allow for this in your wedding day schedule. There are no do overs where sunset (or your wedding day) is concerned. So making sure you're both free at this exact time of day is crucial. After all, you'll never get a second chance if you miss it. So any cake cutting, speech giving, or first dances will need to be factored in around your sunset time to allow for you disappearing (for a very short while). Particularly in winter months when the sun sets so much earlier.

5. Stay fully flexible You can be the best time planner ever.

With every inch of your day mapped out to military precision. But sadly that still doesn't guarantee that everything will go to time on the day. You have to leave a little leeway in your timings to allow for unplanned disruptions to your schedule (not everyone can be as efficient and punctual as you). If only! Staying fully flexible doesn't mean the whole days timings go out the window. Your day still requires order and structure to run smoothly. It just means that if the worst should happen and something doesn't pan out the way you planned, you have a contingency in place. Because if something does go AWOL the first person people will come running to is you. Something you want to avoid on your wedding day at all costs. So, if your timings do go up in smoke, try not to panic too much. It's your wedding day after all. The day you've waited for your whole life. Time will fly by in a flash, what's important is you enjoy it

I'm all about helping you have the best wedding day ever at Natasha Jay Photography. So I'll support you through the photography planning process ahead of the big day. Plus (like tip number 5) I'm always fully flexible on the day too.

So if something (or someone) gets a little squiffy, it's not a problem. I just keep calm and carry on. All that matters is that I capture your wedding day in all its glory. From the people you love, to the tiny details you painstakingly put into place. Trusting me with your wedding photography means you get a unique set of images that tell the story of YOUR special day. Even if things don't run exactly to time.