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How To Create A Wedding Day Timeline (W/ Examples)

Let’s talk about timelines. Argh. The dreaded timeline. As a current bride myself, trust me, I get it. I feel the same way! This is probably the least appealing part of the wedding. It’s the part that everything else relies on. Where do you begin? What do you include? And who needs what?

© Susannah Lynn Photography |


I put off the idea of a timeline because it stressed me out. But when my venue and my photographer reached out to give me a sample timeline, I knew it was time to start considering it. My photographer asked when my HMUA would show up and my venue asked when we would arrive for photos. Everything kind of flows off of each other so even starting was difficult. I gave my start time to my photographer and worked off of her recommendations. I knew what I wanted captured so that was the easy part. As a wedding photographer myself, I can give a good idea of a basic timeline but when it’s your own timeline, it’s a bit different. 


© Susannah Lynn Photography |


On Facebook I always see brides asking for sample timelines but I find that hard to go off of when most people’s wedding days start and end at different times. Below I have included our timeline just in case you’re someone who is interested in taking a look. But first, let’s look at a general timeline. Whether you’re doing a first look or not, only a few things will change but timing will be relatively similar in the grand scheme of things. I’ve put a general amount of time for each “activity” so that no matter when things take place, you can easily adjust these timelines to suit you. 

Getting ready (before photographer arrives):

Photographer arrives: about 30 minutes before you’re done with HMU – this is when the photographer captures your detail shots and then a handful of staged images of you getting your HMU done. 

Getting ready images: 30-40 minutes

Leave time to drive to venue: depends of course but we did 20 minutes (should have left a little extra room)

First look and a handful of couple photos: 15 minutes

Family/wedding party photos: 1 hour and 15 minutes

Bride and groom images: 30 minutes

Rest/refresh before ceremony: 30 minutes

Ceremony: 30 minutes

Couple photos/extra photos: 30-45 mins

Reception (time varies)

If you’re not doing a first look, just move the photo time to after the ceremony. Still arrive at your venue 30 minutes prior to your ceremony if you need to “hide away” before guests arrive. 

Order of reception events (sample):

Grand entrance

First dance

Cake cutting (I highly recommend cutting your cake before dinner is served! Trust me on this one!!)



Cake served during speeches

Dances (father/daughter, mother/son, etc)

Garter/bouquet toss, games, etc. 

© Susannah Lynn Photography |


Our timeline – like I said at the start this was my biggest worry! I even worried all night the night before our wedding thinking about how I didn’t want it to run late. I was told so many times that Weddings always run late and I didn’t want that to be ours. And to my surprise (and our coordinators and photographers), our timeline was so well planned out that we actually had extra time before the ceremony so we could get some of our couple photos done (and that was even with the guys arriving 20+ minutes late)!

10am: Guys and girls arrive at getting ready locations

10:30am: HMUA arrives (she did my mom and my hair and make up) – finished by 1pm

12:30-1pm: Photographer arrives and photographs details

1pm-1:40pm: Hair/makeup images, getting ready outfits/images, getting into dress, putting on jewelry

1:40-1:50pm: First look with my dad

2-2:20pm: Drive to ceremony location

2:30pm: First look

2:45 pm – 4:00 pm : Group photos 

4:00 – 4:30 pm: Bride & groom images

4:30 pm: Done with photographs and go to rest at the reception location

4:30 – 5:00 pm: Guests are arriving

4:50 pm: Wedding party will head down to ceremony location

5:00 pm – 5:30pm: Ceremony

5:30pm-6:15pm: Group photos/sunset photos

5:30 pm – 6:30 pm: Cocktail hour

6:30pm: Grand entrance and right into our first dance

6:40pm: Welcome speech & prayer

6:45pm: Dinner service begins (plated meal)

7:15-7:30pm: Speeches (ours ran WAY over so I suggest putting in more time for each person to speak)

7:30pm: Cake cutting and served

7:40-7:50pm: Dances

10:30pm: Reception ends


If this blog helped you to plan your timeline or gave you any new ideas, let me know in the comments on Facebook and don’t forget to share this blog on Facebook and tag your friends <3 You can also join myself and other brides in our group Mary Taylor’s Wedding Deals & Finds and like us on Facebook at Mary Taylor Weddings

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3

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Wedding Registries… Where do I Begin?!

You’d think that creating a wedding registry was one of the most fun parts of wedding planning- I mean you get to add a bunch of gifts that you want to a website where OTHER people buy them for you! Haha. 

For me, it was actually one of the more stressful processes because we have guests from over five different countries coming to our wedding. That means five different currencies and no common stores. Originally, I had just put ideas for cash gifts. We didn’t want to just ask for cash (although we all know that it’s probably the easiest and most wanted gift). I honestly changed our registry page so many times! From suggested cash amounts with an activity, to just a list of activities/items that we would purchase with the cash, to finally seeing the best solution I could find! Trust me, I did a TON of research. I even signed up for several registries that I explored and decided didn’t work for us. Until, I found They had a plug-in that worked on websites across the world so it was super easy to add ANY item to our registry. Not just items that they approve of or that they sell. This made it easy for our guests to purchase e-gift cards in the currency we use and to stores that we actually have in New Zealand. 

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This was the solution that I had been looking for the whole time! They even let you create several different registries so I have one for my bridal shower and one for our wedding.

Whether you go with or not, here’s a few ideas of what to include on your registry.

Your bridal shower gifts should be smaller items such as kitchen items (stand mixer, instant pot, cheese board, blender, etc), robes, lingerie, frames, small decor, makeup bag, cozy throw blankets, jewelry or jewelry organizer, placemats, champagne glasses, sheets, and more.  

Your wedding gifts should be gifts that match or be close to the price of per plate (that’s my opinion at least).  However, you should have a range of price points. Remember that some guests are coming as a couple so a few high ticket items are always a good idea. Some people would prefer to get you two small gifts instead of one large gift. Also, some people may not be able to afford their price per plate in terms of a gift. Give your guests options so they’re excited to give you a gift. We asked for a couple of excursions and food gift cards for our honeymoon! This is a great way to get something you want and allow your guests to be apart of your honeymoon experience! You can even tell them where you are going and let them choose any restaurant they think you would like to try! We also asked for a gift certificate for a couple’s massage. 

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Click the items above to see some items I suggest from Amazon! Amazon even has their own registry as well – click here to check that out.

Go comment on the Facebook post with this blog link and let me know your favorite item on your gift registry. If you haven’t created one yet, definitely give a try!


Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3


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Mary Taylor’s Wedding Deals

This week I launched Mary Taylor’s Wedding Deals! As a bride myself, I know how expensive (and time consuming) it is to plan a wedding. I also know how valuable the opinions and experiences of other brides are. Because I am currently planning, I am also coming across new deals all the time. Instead of constantly updating my past blog posts about current deals, I created a place that not only I can share the deals that I come across but you can also share the products that you have purchased and love! 

It’s all about creating a community of brides that love shopping, love to get ideas from other brides, and love to share their own wedding day purchases. Don’t you sometimes just want to share your amazing deals you’ve found but can’t because your guests will see? This is the perfect place to save money, have fun, and meet other brides <3

I will even help you find what you’re looking for! So, what’s something that you’re unsure about or want help looking for? 

Find me on Facebook at and don’t forget to like me on Facebook at

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3

© Stefanie Irene Photography, LLC |

Bridal Shoe Inspiration

Who else is struggling with what shoes to wear? I had no idea that this would be such a difficult task. There are so many options and so many things to consider. You want to make sure that you’re comfortable, that you can dance in them, and that they match your dress. You should also consider where your wedding will be taking place. Our wedding is on a golf course – which means lots of grass and no thin heels. 

Whether you’re looking for flats, boots, wedges, or stilettos, here is some wedding shoe inspiration from real brides:


Questions to Ask Your Wedding Vendors

You’re looking for your vendors now! How exciting! But you’re sitting there saying to yourself, “I have never done this before. What should I ask? What should I look for?” Those are great questions to start with. Of course, your list of questions will depend on the vendor but here are some general questions you’ll want to ask all of them!

  1. Do you have / require insurance? Your venue may require your vendors (or even yourself) to have insurance. Always make sure that you ask this upfront so that you don’t get your heart set on someone who you cannot end up hiring.
  2. What do your services include? For example, does your florist include installation for gazebo/decorative pieces? Does your cake baker include delivery to your venue? Does your venue include linens, chairs, etc?
  3. What is your deposit and when does final payment need to be made by?
  4. If we pay in full ahead of time, can we receive a discount?
  5. Is this your full time job? How long have you been a ______? You may want to ask them this to get an idea for how experienced they are.
  6. If you haven’t already, ask for their portfolio and social media accounts to get an idea of the work that they produce. Ask yourself: is their work consistent?
  7. What happens if I need you stay an extra hour because the day has run longer than we thought? How much extra is it per hour?
  8. Are taxes included? What about gratuity? Is any amount of gratuity required?
  9. What is your backup plan if you cannot make it?
  10. What is your cancellation policy?
  11. Do you have a contract that we sign upon our deposit? This is to protect all the parties involved and is extremely important!!

For specific questions to ask certain vendors click below:

Printable and editable lists for all vendors

What to ask your venue

I hope this helped you to figure out some questions to ask your vendors. If you’re still stuck, look out for more blog posts coming soon and don’t forget to check out my new ‘questions to ask your wedding vendor’ lists!

If you’re a part of Weddings, Wine & DIY, I have offered a surprise discount code to the first five people to purchase! Just find the post about the list and comment on it <3


Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3

All You Need Wedding Day Utility Basket

Everything To Include In Your Wedding Bathroom Utility Basket

Have you ever heard of a “bathroom utility basket” for a wedding or party? Recently, I have seen so much about them! It got me thinking, I may make one for our wedding! I personally don’t think they are necessary but they definitely add a touch elegance to any party! If you’re like me and haven’t heard of these before, they are essentially a basket or box that goes into the bathroom. It contains all sorts of items such as ibuprofen, wet wipes, mini sewing kit, and even a Tide To Go. The purpose of the basket is so if guests needed, they could help themselves in the event they’re not feeling well or there’s a mishap.

A few tips:

  • Make sure to make two baskets – one for men and one for women
  • Collect product samples throughout planning so you don’t need to buy everything
  • If young children will be there, don’t put the baskets where they can be reached or at least put medicine and sharp objects separate
  • There’s no need to buy name brands or fancy products – keep it simple
  • Get creative with your basket and add a sign to let people know they can help themselves throughout the night

Here are some suggestions on what to include in your wedding day bathroom utility basket:

  1. Wet wipes
  2. Deodorant (men’s and women’s)
  3. Tide To Go stain remover
  4. Mini sewing kit
  5. Tylenol/Ibuprofen
  6. Bandaids
  7. Pads & Tampons
  8. Listerine breath strips or mouth wash with small cups
  9. Floss sticks
  10. Hair ties & bobby pins
  11. Hair spray
  12. Lint rollers
  13. Toothbrushes & mini toothpastes
  14. Sunscreen if an outdoor daytime wedding
  15. Hand sanitizer
  16. Tums or antacid tablets
  17. Bug spray (if needed)
  18. Tissues
  19. Cough drops
  20. Lash glue
  21. Baby powder (great for chafing!)
  22. Scissors
  23. Body spray

I hope this helps in creating your wedding bathroom utilities basket! If you end up making one or have made one before, go to our Facebook page (here) and comment a picture! I can’t wait to see all of your creativity!

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3


Wedding Day Nightmare!!

It was a few hours before my wedding and it started to pour! Like streets flooded type of pour. We were having our wedding at a large school with different halls. The room that I originally thought we would be in (what was pictured on their website for events and weddings), was not actually the room they put us in to start decorating. We had invited 85 people to attend our wedding. The room they expected us to have our wedding was a plain, small room with white walls and a low ceiling. Imagine your standard classroom I suppose. It looked like it could barely fit 25 people. Because I had planned my wedding from overseas, this was my first chance at the venue. Kids and people were running everywhere as school had just gotten out.

I went in search of the building that I had seen on the website. It had tall ceilings, exposed wood, and a few other rooms attached. There were long steps leading up to the building. When I finally found it, I went in to ask why we were put in such a small (and different) room. My mom interrupted, “Mary! Don’t even ask. They’re going to charge you more! Just stay with the room we have now.” They said they hadn’t reserved us the space we saw online but would allow us to use it for less time as we originally planned and for $300 extra dollars. I agreed to the extra charge because the other room was just too small!

As people were helping to set up, I noticed that the tables were long and rectangular – very opposite of what I had originally wanted and was told I would get (round tables). The decorations were horrible. The burlap tablecloths didn’t even cover to the edge of table and looked ridiculous being so small. My cousin was walking around sprinkling fake red and white rose petals on the tables. There were a few small round tables that could only fit two people. Nothing looked like I had planned. Then, I noticed someone helping who was not invited to the wedding. She was telling my friends how she and her friend (we will call her Daisy) were attending the wedding. I barged into the conversation saying, “No. You’re not invited. You and Daisy were never invited and you can’t come!” Suddenly I remembered I had never finished the officiant’s speech or my vows. I frantically ran to the previous room we were setting up in and started writing.

Fast forward and we are saying our goodbyes to everyone. We had a fun night dancing, drinking, and sharing stories. That’s when I remembered that we had changed our wedding date and never informed our photographers or videographers so we didn’t have a single professional image from the entire day.

Then, I woke up! Thank goodness it was truly a nightmare. Now, I am going to make sure I finish our officiant speech and vows today.

I’ve heard that tons of brides have nightmares before their wedding day. Things going wrong, other people showing up, no one showing up, your dress doesn’t fit, and so much more! Have you had any nightmares about your wedding day? If so, what happened?! Comment below or go to our Facebook page and comment there.


Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3

Photo by Kayla Renee from Pexels

Choosing Your Bridesmaids & Setting Expectations

Hi Brides! Let’s talk about how to choose your bridesmaids and setting their expectations.

Thoughtfully choosing your bridesmaids is really important! These are the women that are going to help you plan your wedding, be there getting ready with you, and be standing next to you on your wedding day. These women will be in images that will be in your home for the rest of your life.

Some people instantly know who they want to be their bridesmaids but other times it takes some thinking. That might be because you have SO many amazing friends but can only choose a few to stand by your side. Maybe you have sisters that you want to include as well. Maybe your partner knows how many groomsmen he wants and you want your numbers to match up. I have heard so many times that brides don’t feel like they have very many or any close female friends. Trust me, you’re not alone. The most important part is choosing people that make you happy!

I personally chose my bridesmaids (my MOH – sister – and long-time friend as a bridesmaid) because I knew these women would always be in my life. I don’t have many strong female friendships and was very particular about making sure that whoever I chose was always going to be an important part of my life forever. For me, having even numbers wasn’t important.

I think it’s hard to remember that every bridesmaid/bride relationship is different. Some brides require a lot from their bridesmaids – help with creating decorations, finding their dress, planning a bridal shower, planning a bachelorette party, buying a certain dress, having matching shoes, asking for specific hair and makeup, etc. Some other brides are the opposite: stand by my side and have fun. I don’t think there is a right or wrong way of going about it as long as you appreciate the help that you do get.

There is a spoken and unspoken responsibility of being a bridesmaid. No matter what you want from your bridesmaids, you should let them know before they agree to be your bridesmaid. It’s helpful to give them an idea of how much it’s going to cost them to be a part of your wedding because some people might not be able to afford to be a part of your special day and will just have to attend as a guest.

Some things to think about:

  1. Will you be requiring them to wear a specific dress? Or can they just be in the same/similar colors? What’s your/their budget for dresses?
  2. Do you want them all to have matching or new shoes or can they wear whatever shoes they’d like?
  3. Do they need to have their hair and makeup done professionally?
  4. Do they need to wear specific jewellery?
  5. Do they need to have their nails professionally done?
  6. How will all of you get to the wedding? The larger numbers of bridesmaids the more seats you’ll need (that shouldn’t necessarily be a deciding factor but it’s good to think about).
  7. Who will be paying for the above items? What do you expect them to pay for and what (if anything) will you offer to pay for?
  8. Will they need to help you set up or clean up on the day of the wedding?
  9. Will they need to help make favours or decorations?
  10. What other preparations do you expect them to help with?

Hey bridesmaids (and brides)! Look out for another post directed towards bridesmaids about how they can help the bride, what to expect, and general bridesmaid etiquette.

I hope you’ve found this helpful! What other tips and tricks do you have for people who are deciding on their bridesmaids?

Find us on Facebook at

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3

Photo by nappy from Pexels

How to Let Guests Know What to Wear

Whether you’re having a formal or informal wedding, it’s important to kindly let your guests know what they should wear. This isn’t about being a “bridezilla” or controlling how people look! It’s about making sure that guests feel comfortable for the occasion. Since every wedding is different, it’s helpful to guide guests so they aren’t completely lost on what to wear or have a difficult time at the wedding. For example, if you’re having an outdoor wedding at a golf course (like us), you may suggest that guests don’t wear thin heels that will be hard to walk in in grass. Or if you’re having an evening wedding that happens to be outdoor, you’ll want to make sure that guests know if it may be cold. Suggest they wear or bring something warm.

In addition, it’s important to also recognize that many cultural norms for wedding attire is different. For example, I recently learned that here in New Zealand many weddings can be very casual. This includes wearing shorts and maybe even jandals (flip-flops) rather than a suit. However, from what I have personally seen, read, and heard of in the States, our weddings are almost always more formal than that (nothing wrong with casual wedding). We included suggestions on what to wear so that our out of town guests don’t feel undressed based on what others are wearing and based on the look/feel/location/decorations of our wedding (most people hate showing up to an event and feeling out of place based on their attire – I know I do at least).

The Perfect Wedding Guide says that your invite should set the tone for the event but if that feels too subtle, feel free to put dress guidelines on the invitation.


Here are some options and what they mean:

  • Black tie invited or black tie optional is a cue to your guests that the men should be in a tuxedo or dark suit, and the ladies should wear evening gown or formal dress.
  • Semi Formal indicates that the men should be in a suit or jacket and the ladies should be in an elegant dress or dressy suit.
  • Cocktail Attire indicates that the men should wear a dark suit and the ladies a pretty cocktail dress.
  • Casual Attire indicates that the men should wear nice pants and a collared shirt and the ladies may wear a simple dress or nice pants.


These are just what this site says. Invitations By Dawn says:

  • Casual dress means wedding guests can wear pretty much anything they want. We recommend a summer dress for the ladies and dress pants with button-down shirt or polo shirt for the guys.
  • Cocktail Attire, Semi-Formal or Dressy Casual: All three of these phrases are asking guests to dress somewhere between formal and casual. We recommend a cocktail dress for the ladies and a suit and tie or a sport coat for the gents.
  • Beach Formal: Beach inherently indicates casual, which is why formal is tacked on to the end — it’s still a classy affair. We recommend a formal summer sundress (tea-length or knee-length) with flats for the ladies and a summer suit with linen shirt, linen pants or khakis and sandals for the guys.
  • Formal Attire or Black Tie Optional: These two phrases are very common in today’s weddings. They indicate that the wedding party will be in formal wedding attire, and it’s optional for all guests. We recommend a dark suit or tux for the men and formal evening wear (floor length dresses or evening pant suits) for the women.
  • Black Tie usually indicates an evening affair where the men where tuxedos and the women wear formal gowns of any length.
  • White Tie: This is the most formal of all wedding dress codes. We’re talking soirees at the White House kind of evenings. The gentlemen dress in long-tail tuxedos and the women don full-length ball gowns. If only we could be so lucky as to attend one of these fabulous affairs!


Hopefully these suggestions help you in deciding how you should guide your guests on what to wear. It’s also important to note that not all guests will “get the memo” or understand what to wear. It’s not about the clothes they’re in but that they showed up to celebrate you and your husband/wife. Just have fun!


Which term are you going to put on your invites/wedding website to describe what your guests should wear?

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3

Photo by: Erin S.

When to Send Invites

Michelle Nicole, wedding and event planner, suggests sending out your wedding invites 2-3 months prior to your wedding and requiring RSVP’s 3.5 weeks before your wedding. This helps you to plan your seating chart, favors, meals, and alcohol numbers. To me, these are just suggestions and if you think it’ll be better for yourself or your guests to send out invites sooner than 2-3 months, go for it!

Here’s how my timeline on save the dates and invites personally have gone (remember my wedding is in California and probably 90% of our guests are coming from one of these places: New Zealand, London, Spain, Minnesota, or Arizona). I had several guests asking specifics (where to stay, what to do, when it was, how to get there, etc) so I chose to send my invites out as soon as I could along with a wedding website. Our invites and save the dates were also sent via email because of the distance between all our guests. We also have a “backup” list of people we really want there but don’t have the budget for as of now. I told my guests that our RSVP date is just preferred but I wasn’t strict on it because it’s so far in advance.

Burke wedding date: September 14th 2019

Burke wedding save the dates sent on: around October 27th-28th 2018

Burke wedding invites sent on: December 10th 2018

RSVP date: June 14th 2019 (three months prior – but most of our guests will know by then anyways)

Number of yes’s as of today: 29

Number of no’s as of today: 0


When sending invites here are a few things to not forget:

  1. Brides name goes FIRST and then grooms name.
  2. If parents are contributing, it is traditional to include them in the invite (sample below). Not needed especially if mentioned on your wedding website instead (which is what we did).
  3. Check postage cost before fully committing to a style of card
  4. Proofread – over and over again!
  5. Get a custom stamp with your names/address to save time
  6. If you’re not putting in the guest’s names on the RSVP card for them, number the RSVP and keep track of who you sent it to (small in the corner or somewhere that isn’t visible to guests). I have seen SO many times that guests forget to label who is attending and then you have no way of knowing who sent that RSVP.
  7. Include a stamp on all your RSVP cards so guests don’t have to.
  8. If you’re having a wedding website, include instructions / the link to go check it out. This can also be a great way for guests to RSVP.
  9. Print extra invites (one for a keepsake, one to be photographed at your wedding with all your other little details, some for extra guests if you have a backup list like us, etc).
  10. If you’re not printing invites, still print one for yourself, your grandparents, and your parents.
  11. Stick to the style of your save the dates / style of your wedding.
  12. Be specific about who is invited (plus ones, just the named guests, children, etc).
  13. If you’re not having a wedding website or other place for guests to find out more information, include all other applicable information such as meal choices, dietary restrictions, guest accommodation, bar situation (cash bar, open bar, no alcohol, BYO, etc), transportation, dress code, parking availability, if it’s accessible by uber/taxi/lyft, gift registry, location/address, map if needed, ceremony time, brief schedule if reception doesn’t follow the ceremony, contact information, things to do in the area, etc. Most of this will go on a separate “details” card you’ll need to order/provide.
  14. Purchase matching thank you cards ahead of time (one less thing to figure out later) unless you want your thank you cards to use your wedding photographs. 
Thanks to everyone who sent me their invites to use for this blog <3 If you have images you’d like me to use for future blogs (whether you’re a photographer, other vendor, or bride) please contact me! 
Cover image provided by: Erin S. 


Signing off, 

Mary Taylor <3

mary taylor weddings, burke wedding
Our Invite!
Photo by: Aisha R.
Photo by: Ari J.