Planning your wedding day timeline

 
 

your wedding day, on paper.

After securing your wedding photographer, planning your timeline is the next big step. Creating your timeline is essential to make sure you leave enough time to get all of the photos that you hope to capture, and also for letting other vendors (florist, hair and makeup, videographer) know where they need to be when. I am happy to help craft your customized timeline based on your wedding day! (In fact, it's one of my favorite things to do in preparation, so don't hesitate to ask.) Below are tips and examples for wedding day timelines! You don't want to go too overboard with your timeline down to the minute or seconds, and you don't need a shot list (because every wedding day is different and the best photos aren't planned) but a guideline for the day is helpful for everyone! 

*PRO TIP 1: Be aware of sunset time! If we are shooting midday in high-sun, we'll ideally look for a large space to fit everyone that has even shade. The best time for photos is the hour before the sun sets, so even if we miss it during the designated portrait time, we can always run outside and grab some quick golden hour portraits of just the two of you.
*PRO TIP 2: Your wedding day timeline is a guideline - it is totally fine to deviate from it as the day begins to flow! (This is where a talented coordinator or planner comes in. I know it's not always in the budget but I highly recommend making room for one if you can or at least pick a friend/family member to be the point person that day. If you're the type to stress over whether everything is going as planned or if things are getting done in time, a coordinator could be the best gift to yourself. You'll be way less stressed!) 
 

Example 8 hour timeline (NO FIRST LOOK)

2pm - Getting Ready Photos (60-120 minutes recommended) - Hair and makeup should be finished or finishing up by the time I arrive. I'll start with detail shots (it helps to have everything in one spot!), and then we can do group bridal party photos, putting on the dress, and bridal portraits. 
4:30pm - Ceremony
5pm - Portraits
Family Photos (15-30 minutes) - Usually right at the ceremony location immediately following ceremony. Have everyone stay put to make things efficient! 
*Change locations if desired for:
    Bridal Party Photos (20-30 Minutes)
    Couples Portraits (15-20 Minutes)
6:30pm-10pm - Reception Coverage


EXAMPLE 8 hour TIMELINE (with FIRST LOOK)

2pm - Getting Ready Photos (60-120 minutes recommended) - Hair and makeup should be finished or finishing up by the time I arrive. I'll start with detail shots (it helps to have everything in one spot!), and then we can do group bridal party photos, putting on the dress, and bridal portraits. 
3:30pm - First Look & Portraits (at least 60 minutes recommended)
The first look goes quickly! I love to give the bride and groom a couple minutes to themselves to soak it all in. It's sometimes the only time you're alone the whole day! Usually only 10 minutes are needed for the first look, and then we'll move right into couple portraits and bridal party photos! If you're interested in a first look, I can help you with the logistics like how, where, and with who. 
5pm - Ceremony
5:30pm - Family Photos (15-30 minutes) - Usually right at the ceremony location immediately following ceremony. Have everyone stay put to make things efficient
5:50pm - Just Married/ Sunset Portraits (10 minutes) - Before heading into the reception we can do a quick couple more photos if time allows. If not, some couples will choose to go outside for the sunset during the reception for a quick couple photos.. 
6pm-10pm - Cocktail Hour/Reception Coverage

 


*PRO TIP 1: Make sure to leave cushion time and travel time! Things sometimes run a little behind, so it's nice to have some time to breathe and take in your day!
*PRO TIP 2: If you are doing a first look and photos at the venue, make sure to leave some time to get in hiding from the guests at least 30 minutes before the ceremony time! You'll also be able to freshen up your hair/ makeup if you need to during this time too!


example family photo list

  • After Ceremony:
    • Bride & Groom w/ Bride’s Parents (Mary, Dan, Rose, Edgar)
    • Bride & Groom w/ Bride’s Parents & 2 Brothers & Nephew (Mary, Dan, Rose, Edgar, John, Edgar, Jack)
    • Bride & Groom w/ Bride’s Grandmother (Mary, Dan, Momo)
    • Bride & Groom w/ Groom’s Parents (Mary, Dan, Rosemary, Joe)
    • Bride & Groom w/ Groom’s Parents & 2 Brothers (Mary, Dan, Rosemary, Joe, Sam, Luke)
    • Bride & Groom w/ Groom’s Grandparents (Mary, Dan, Margaret, Burt)
    • Bride and groom with ring bearer (Mary, Dan, Jack)
    • Bride and groom with flower girls (Mary, Montana, Sidney)
  • During Reception:
    • Bride and Groom with Groom's Cousins
    • Groom with college basketball team
       

*PRO TIP 1: Designate a bossy friend or family member to keep the next group on deck! Give them a copy of the list, and let all family members who will be in the photos know ahead of time to stay put after ceremony.

*PRO TIP 2: Run this family list by your in-laws and your parents to make sure they are getting all the family photos they expect, too. It's a small gesture that goes a LONG way and could be really important to a mom or grandmother to get, for example, a siblings photo of themselves or one with a friend who is traveling from far. They can always grab me during the reception for a photo with a person or group, so don't feel like you have to get too specific with the list! 


MY BIGGEST PIECE OF ADVICE:
Stop and pause. Take a few minutes alone after your photos are done. Take a few seconds before walking down the aisle with your new husband to observe all your loved ones around you. The day goes by so quickly. Don't forget to take it all in!