Wedding Day Timeline…One thing that I see my couples struggle with is figuring out their timeline for their wedding day. Maybe you’ve attended a handful of weddings, but more than likely you didn’t realize the importance of a timeline. I always help create a customized timeline with my couples because that also helps me! I have to make sure that I have plenty of time to photograph everything you want. So if you are currently planning a wedding and are stuck on your day of timeframe, continue reading for my wedding day timeline tips!
From a photographers standpoint, I’m going to tell you approximately how much time I would suggest for each part of the day, and then at the end I will even give you an example of a timeline! To start the day off, I always begin by photographing bridal details. I like to give at least 45 minutes for this part, because at the same time, I will also photograph those last minute getting ready photos. Next, it’s time to finally get in that beautiful wedding dress! This should take around 30 minutes. Once you’ve got the dress on, you might need to touch-up your lipstick, put your jewelry on, or perfecting your hair, so I always suggest you give yourself a little extra time here! Once you are all ready, then we will go straight into the first look, if you have chosen to do one. This can last anywhere from 2 to 20 minutes. I don’t put a time limit on the first look because I allow my couples to savor this time, read personal vows to each other, and embrace and enjoy each other.️
Next up is bride and groom portraits ! We will give ourselves around 30 minutes for portraits of just you two. That way we can have a variety of poses, and venture around the venue. Once we are done with those, we will head right into bridal party portraits! I also give 30 minutes for these, just in case you’ve got a rowdy bunch 😉 but honestly I’ve shot the bridal party pictures in 5 minutes! We will take pictures of the guys and girls together and separately! After those are over, then I recommend that the bride goes into hiding 30 minutes before the ceremony starts, so that none of the guests can see her!
While the bride is in hiding, I will photograph the ceremony and reception details! Your ceremony may last 10 minutes, if you don’t want it to be long, or it could last an hour. I always let the couple tell me how long they can expect it to last. Immediately after the ceremony, we will go into family portraits! This will last around 30 minutes. As long as you list out the pictures you want, and everyone is aware that they are needed for portraits, then it typically goes smoothly.
Lastly, it’s reception time! Depending on the season, you should plan on sneaking out during dinner for 10 minutes for sunset portraits. For the little events during the reception, like dances, cake cutting, etc., I can help you, but the DJ will also need this information! And last but not least, the exit! If you’re planning on doing some sort of a fun exit, you can always stage it with your family and bridal party, 10 minutes before I leave. Once that’s over, the party can continue on!
I like to put in some buffer time in a few spots during the day, just in case something runs behind. This way the timeline works perfectly and no one has to stress out! Below you will find an example of a timeline for an 8 hour wedding day that has a first look.
1:30-2:15: Bridal Details + Getting Ready
2:15-2:45: Bridal Prep (getting in dress, shoes, jewelry, etc)
3:00: First Look
3:45-4:15: Bridal Party Portraits
4:30-5:00: Bride in Hiding
4:30-4:50: Ceremony + Reception Details
5:40-6:10: Family Portraits
6:20: Reception begins
If you need any a wedding photographer who creates a customized timeline, feel free to reach out to me!
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