Wedding timelines are definitely not one size fits all! It definitely depends on your location, light and how you want to organize your day. It takes into account location, travel, best light and other things. My ultimate wedding timeline is just one of many ways to schedule a wedding day! But most importantly this timelines shows you one way a wedding can be planned – giving you a detailed idea of what you could expect from day – especially in terms of how long certain portraits take and when would be the best time to schedule it!
Things to think about…
in terms of creating your ultimate wedding timeline..
When it comes to a wedding schedule, there are a few things that govern the decisions of when all things should occur. Firstly, your ceremony location! What time is the ceremony location most beautiful! And that’s definitely a question you can ask the wedding coordinator at your wedding location. Knowing when is the ideal time for the ceremony will help dictate the rest of your day! Another question is, do you even have the option to choose what time? If you can choose, does that mean the whole ceremony site is yours to use for the rest of the day? Or, are you limited and we’ll have to find another location for any extra photos? These are important questions to ask.
The season and weather is definitely a determining factor. Ideal time changes with the season. Especially if the sun sets early – like later in the year – that would mean everything needs to be shifter earlier. So time of the year will change the timeline.
Weddings are not a one man deal. It is contingent on many vendors working together to make the celebration it’s best! So hearing what’s needed from everyone is also an important step!
A photographer’s timeline
As the photographer, we play a huge part. Our job is to take everyone’s needs into account and to help create a timeline which we could also benefit from! Certain time of the day has the best light and we try to make the most of it! We want to give you memories that will last and will look THE BEST! :D. So, we want to work with you to create that ultimate wedding timeline that is perfect for all!
DETAILS & PREP : 1.5 HOURS
FIRST LOOK & PORTRAITS : 30-40 MINS
BRIDAL PARTY : 30-40 MINS
FAMILY FORMALS: 30 MIN – 1 HOUR
EXTRA PORTRAIT TIME : AS MUCH TIME AS YOU’LL GIVE ME!
7:15 – 8:00 am
Every bride loves having those beautiful shots of her bridal details. It’s an important part of the story and I love having some time to shoot the dress, shoes, jewelry, invitations, etc. These shots allow me to get warmed up for the rest of the big day. I nor- mally like to allow at least 45 min- utes for this part of the day. While I’m shooting details, I’m also capturing some shots of the bride and her girls getting ready! If the groom is getting ready nearby, Andrew will begin photographing the boys close to 40 minutes before the first look since it always takes them less time to get dressed!
8:00 – 9:30 am
After the details have been photographed, it’s time for the bride to get into her dress! This is a big moment! I usually ask the mother of the bride and all of the bridesmaids to be dressed by the time the bride is ready to get into her dress. This ensures that everyone will look nice in those i-mages. After the bride is in her gown, she can put on her jewelry, veil, shoes, etc. and I will shoot some additional bridal portraits!
10 – 10:15 am
This is one of my favorite parts of the wedding day! I will find the perfect location for my couple’s First Look prior to the getting ready portion of the day! Don’t stress about that one bit! I will make sure the location is private and as secluded as possible.
Bride & Groom Portraits
10:15 – 10:45 am
After the bride and groom take their time with the First Look, I will be- gin taking a few romantic portraits of the two of them while the initial excitement is still present! I will find the locations for these shots as well! Remember, the LIGHT determines where we shoot and so I can’t decide on portrait locations until the day- of. As we shoot these portraits, the bridal party can start making their way to us for Bridal Party portraits!
Bridal Party Portrait
10:45 – 11:45 am
Now it’s time for Bridal Party shots! I buffer in extra time throughout the day just in case we have some unexpected things that hold us up! One way to make sure we stay on schedule for bridal party portraits is to have someone put the boutonnieres on the guys BEFORE they arrive for portraits. But we make sure to take our time to get great shots of the guys and girls both separately AND together! After bridal party portraits are complete, the bride will go into hid-ing so that early guests don’t sneak a peek, and the ushers will begin their duties.
Immediate Family Portraits
11:45 am – 12:45 pm
After the bridal party portraits, I like to add the immediate family portraits. These photos are, in my opinion, just as important as the bridal party portraits. It’s often times the only time everyone looks their absolute best and especially mom and dad of the bride/groom – they usually pull out all their stops just to celebrate the wonderful and happy occasion!
Bride In Hiding
12:45 – 3:00 pm
During this wedding, there was a lot of downtime! It was awesome because I was able to edit and look through photos while everyone just took a breather and to freshen-up!
4:00 – 4:30 pm
It’s time to get married!! Most ceremonies are 30 minutes long. If your ceremony is longer than 30 mins, we’ll make adjustments to the timeline! Cherish these moments! Your ceremony will pass by so quickly!
Extended Family Photos
4:30- 5:00 pm
Family formals normally take place immediately following the ceremo- ny. It’s best to save all of the family formals until after the ceremony be- cause ALL family members will be present at that time.
We’ll need about at least 30 minutes for family formals and I will send a questionnaire before the wedding where you can list out the shots that you want. I recommend shooting portraits outdoors if possible so that they resemble more natural family portraits.
After Ceremony Photos
“Just Married” photos
5:15 – 5:30 pm
Like I said, I love having all the time that I need to do the photos that I want! For this wedding, after the ceremony was the best time for these photos. And we had to do them quickly, but it was totally worth it! Afterall, they were “JUST MARRIED”!!
5:45 – 6:00 pm
If the reception is in the same location as the ceremony, I will use this time to shoot the reception decor UNTOUCHED. If the ceremony and reception are in different locations, I recommend having a cocktail hour outside of the main reception area if possible so that I can grab some great shots of your reception before the night begins and guests start laying down purses and coats on their seats!
This is when the bridal party lines up for introductions and the party begins!! By this part of the day, my timeline isn’t as strict. I work off of the natural light and so after the sun is set, my portrait time is over andI begin focusing on the reception events!
For this reception location, the sun set much quicker than I anticipated. RIGHT WHEN I noticed it, I stole a few photos of the bride and groom and these were some of my favorite shots of the day. You can’t beat that orange glow and halo of light!
I include 8 hours of coverage so that I can be present for the main events of the reception and about an hour of dancing! If you’re interested in having your exit photographed, there are several options for this! You can either add additional cover- age or plan a faux exit with just your bridal party! We have had GREAT success with this and the party never stops! Email me about this if you’re interested in learning more!
As a special treat…
click on the images to download my Ultimate Wedding Day Timeline! Feel free to print, or whatever you need!
more about me and our Wedding Experience!
If you have any questions or need any advice on creating your ultimate wedding timeline, feel free to ask anytime!