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Creating Your Wedding Day Timeline

Updated: Oct 10, 2023

When creating your timeline you should work backwards from your ceremony start time to plan the first part of the day, then work forward from your ceremony for the remainder of the day. Planning around times that can't be changed such as ceremony and reception start times, hair and makeup appts. , etc.


I need certain amounts of time allotted to each portion of the day in order to capture your day in a way that reflects what you have seen on my blog and website! In the event that our timeline gets thrown off or it is impossible to give me the desired amount of time for each section of the day, we’ll be as efficient as humanly possible!! It is ALWAYS our goal to capture the images that you’ve always dreamed of for your wedding day! However, capturing images that you are going to love can take some time! So here are some general guidelines for photo times! :

BRIDAL DETAILS : ( invitations, dress, shoes, rings, etc. ) 30-45mins (I can usually get these done while stepping into the getting ready area and photographing the girls hanging out at the same time!)

GETTING IN THE DRESS : 30-45mins! This can take 10 mins or 45! You just never know! This is an area where we build in extra time just in case! Also, I love having a few minutes to capture just the bride in her gown!!

BRIDAL PARTY PORTRAITS : 30-45 mins depending on the size of the party. We always capture just the bridesmaids, just the groomsmen, the entire group together and then individuals with the bride and groom separately. Even with our super fast workflow, this can take some time!

BRIDE AND GROOM PORTRAITS : 30-60 minutes -I love having 30 minutes before the ceremony and 30 minutes after the ceremony. However, I know this is not always possible. My goal is to be able to give my couples some additional portraits that add a little extra variety from the ones that we took pre-ceremony! If you are not sharing a first look, I cannot stress enough how important it is to at least have 30 minutes of portrait time after the ceremony!

FAMILY FORMALS: This is the hardest part of the day as far as photography is concerned! We make it our mission to make family formals fast, easy and as efficient as possible! We recommend 30 minutes for family formals, but not at the expense of your Bride and Groom portrait time! We can always grab large group photos during the reception. That glowy sunset light for Bride and Groom portraits has to be taken advantage of right when it’s happening because it will disappear quickly!

RECEPTION DETAILS: I would love 20 minutes to photograph all of the beautiful details and decor of your reception. However, if I’m only able to have 10 minutes, that will suffice and I will work quickly!

*** Don't forget to factor in drive time between locations****

Sample Timelines

12:00 p.m.—Details Photographed

1:00 PM - Bride in Hair and Makeup / Second photographer to Groom

2:00 PM- Bride getting into dress/shoes/jewelry

2:30 PM - First look / Bride and Groom Photos

3:00 PM.—Bride with Bridesmaids/ Groom with Groomsmen Photos

3:30 PM - Bridal Party Photos

4:00 PM- Bride / Groom Individual Portraits

4:25 PM -Bride & Groom out of sight

4:30 p.m.—Doors open / Room ready for guests / Pre-ceremony music starts

5:00 p.m.—Invite time

5:15 p.m.—Ceremony starts

5:45 p.m.—Ceremony ends

545 p.m.—Cocktail hour starts

5:45-6:15- Family formal portraits

6:20 - Bridal Party Announced In

6:30-6:40 PM- Cake Cutting

6:45 p.m.—Buffet opens / Dinner served

7:00 p.m.—All guests have food

7:15 p.m.—Toasts

7:40 PM-8:00 PM Sunset Photos

8:15 p.m.—First dance

8:20 PM - Father / daughter dance

8:25 PM - Mother/ son dance

8:35 p.m.—Open dance

9:00 PM- Bouquet / Garter toss

9:45 p.m.—Last call

10:00 p.m.—Guests depart / Photographer leaves

11:00 p.m.—Breakdown done / All staff departs

**This couple booked 10 hours of photography coverage and were at all all in one venue with bride and groom suites on site. ***

With first looks:

11:30 AM -Photographer arrives at hotel for make-up / Second photographer to groom

12:30- travel to venue

1 PM- Photograph the dress and details (rings, invitations, flowers)

1:30 PM-Getting ready shots of the guys at the venue

2:00 PM  Bride getting into her dress at the venue

2:30 PM First look 

2:45 PM Bride and Groom Portraits

3:15 PM Bridal party photos

4:30 PM Shots of the venue, any remaining details shots, 

5:30 PM - Candids of the guests arriving

6:00 PM - Ceremony

6-30 PM- Family Formals

7:00 PM-Reception

8:30 PM- Photographer leaves

2 p.m. Photographer Arrives- At Venue

2:15 p.m. Bridesmaids are dressed and ready, bride’s hair and makeup is complete.

2:30 p.m. Bride Gets Dressed

2:45 p.m. First look

3:00 - 3:30 p.m. Bride and Groom Photos 3:30 - 4:15 p.m. Bridal Party Photos

4:15 - 5:00 p.m. Family Photos

5:30 p.m. Start Time Listed on Wedding Invitation

5:45 p.m. Actual Start Time

5:45 - 6:15 p.m. Ceremony

6:15 - 7:15 p.m. Cocktail Hour

7 p.m. Sunset Photos

7:30 p.m. Grand Entrance and First Dance

7:35 - 7:40 p.m. Welcome Speech from Hosts

7:40-7:45. Cake Cutting

7:45 - 8:30 p.m. Dinner

8:30 - 8:40 p.m. Bridal Party Toasts

8:40 - 8:50 p.m. Parent Dances

9:30 - 9:45 p.m. Bouquet Toss and Garter Toss

9:45 p.m. Open Dance Floor

10:00 PM -Photographer leaves

11:30 p.m. Grand Exit

** This timeline does not allocate time for details because this bride did not want details photos. **

Without first looks:

1 p.m. Photographer Arrives- At Venue

1 p.m. Details photographed

1:30 bride hair and makeup / Second photographer to groom

2:30 p.m. Bride Gets in Dress/ Shoes / Jewelry

3:30 p.m. Ceremony

4:00 - 5:00 p.m. Family Photos

5:00-5:30 p.m. Travel to Forest Park

5:30-6:00 p.m. Bridal Party Photos

6:00-6:30 p.m. Bride and Groom Photos

6:30 - 7:00 p.m. Travel to reception venue

7:00 p.m. Grand Entrance

7:05 - 7:10 p.m. Welcome Speech from Hosts

7:10-7:15 Cake Cutting

7:15 - 8:15 p.m. Dinner

8:00 - 8:10 p.m. Bridal Party Toasts

8:15-8:20. First Dance

8:20 - 8:30 p.m. Parent Dances

8:30- Open Dance Floor

9:30 - 9:45 p.m. Bouquet Toss and Garter Toss

10:00 PM - Photographer leaves

** This couple booked 9 hours of photography coverage **

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