Leo Pham Photography


Welcome to our blog, where we will give you tips and recommendations that help you with your wedding planning. If there is any topic that you would love to know, feel free to leave us a message.

Warning: these items can throw you off schedule.


One word that no one wants to hear or see at a wedding. I bet you are doing everything you can, just like everyone else, so that "LATE" won't have a chance to happen at your wedding. But why did many couples still experience that even though they did their best? What did they do wrong and how can you make it right?

What I am going to show you are so small and simple that everyone overlooked them, surprisingly. These are the common glitches of a wedding timeline that you can learn to avoid from the beginning. If you already had one, it's time to review and make necessary adjustments.



This is one of the most common issues (about 3 out of 10 weddings have it). A makeup artist (MUA) can estimate how long it would take. However, if the MUA says 3 hours, you shouldn't set exactly 3 hours for that. Chances are you will be constantly interrupted (people ask you questions, your parents need something, people call you, etc.). In addition, on the wedding day, you might not like the makeup/hair, and the MUA has to change till you like it. What are the solutions?

First, schedule a trial with your MUA. If you don't have a trial, you and your MUA will solve a puzzle for the first time on your wedding day. If it is the case, you must give it at least 30' extra on the timeline. Second, get someone to be the point of contact on your behalf. All you need is to sit still and let the MUA finish as quickly as possible.


Buffer Time

This guy is extremely dangerous. I've mentioned it in the previous article (5 things that make your wedding successful) and probably will do again in future as I see it keeps on coming.

What is it and why is it dangerous?

It is dangerous because only a few people are aware of it. That's why I see it again and again.

Simply put, it is just a short gap between two activities, usually 5' to 15'. The reason it must be on the timeline is: you can't start one thing immediately after another. You and the vendors need time to move and prepare for new activities. So how should you do it correctly? Below are two examples:

Example #1: You want family photos right after the ceremony. The ceremony is from 3:30 pm to 4:00 pm. The family will last 15'.

Example #2: You get ready at a hotel from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm. The driving to the venue takes 15'.

 How to make a timeline correctly

The explanation for this is simple: in example #1, you need about 10' to make the announcement and gather people; in example #2, you need about 15' to pack, wait for the elevator, and walk to the parking lot.

There is no single answer to how long the buffer time should be. But as a general rule of thumb, if you think you need 5', make it 10'. If you need 10', make it 15'. Be generous with this guy and remember to put him in between every activity.


Travel Time

This one is usually underestimated. In order to know the actual driving time, you can check it on Google, but it must be at the same time, the same day of the week as your wedding date. If your wedding is on Friday and requires travel at 3 pm, google it on Sunday at 8 pm will give you wrong traffic information. Instead, google it on Friday at 3 pm (exact same weekday, same time). In case you don't trust Google, give travel time an extra 15' for every 30' indicated by Google.

Note: Be aware of major events that can take place around your venue on your wedding day as well.



There was a time when it took our clients and us 20' to find parking in downtown San Francisco because it was packed everywhere. If your venue is in a busy area, pay more attention to this.


Guests and family

Some people have the tendency to be late for a wedding, and we have no idea why. There were a few weddings where the reception, and even ceremony, started 30' late because half of the guests were late. Or family session was delayed because the parents were late.

Dealing with this is quite sensitive. One common way is to invite them earlier than normal if you know they have that tendency. How earlier is up to you, but don't upset your on-time people. For family members, you can make a fake schedule exclusively for people who are habitually late.

Note: We think it's a good idea to give your guests a heads-up regarding travel time and parking to help them to be on time. Guests don't usually plan ahead for a wedding like you.


If you have questions regarding your timeline, you can email us and we will look at it with you.