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Creating a Timeline with Example

Creating a timeline for your wedding day can seem daunting and a lot of couples are unsure of where to begin. So, I am sharing an example of a wedding day timeline without a first look (stay tuned for the blog post including a first look!). Typically your wedding photographer and/or wedding planner will help you build your timeline. If for some reason they don’t, here is a good place to start!


This timeline is working off a 4pm ceremony and no first look. I usually recommend couples to start with their ceremony time first and then plug in everything else. A big question in creating a timeline is how much time do we need for photos? For me personally, I can have all pictures including family formals done in an hour to an hour and a half. If we are able to get bridesmaid and groomsmen photos done before the ceremony than it ends up being closer to an hour. 


All weddings are different. So please do not feel like your timeline has to look like the example below. Some couples are not interested in details or getting ready shots, so that frees up more time for other things. Timelines are customizable; create yours to fit you and your needs for the big day!


Wedding Day Timeline Example:


Bridal Details 2:30pm-3:00pm

I love having some time to photograph the little details that help tell the couples’ love story. I normally allow at most 30 minutes for this part of the day. While I’m shooting details, I’m also photographing the bride and bridesmaids getting ready. If the groom is nearby getting ready, my second shooter will be photographing them. 


Bridal Prep 3:00pm-3:15pm

After the details have been photographed, it’s time for the bride to get in her dress! I usually ask the mother of the bride and bridesmaids to be dressed by the time the bride is ready to get into her dress. After the bride is in her gown, she can put on her jewelry, veil, shoes etc.


Bride and Bridesmaid / Groom and Groomsmen  Portraits 3:15pm-3:45pm

I typically am with the bride and bridesmaids while my second photographer is with the groom and groomsmen. We always try to knock these out before the ceremony to make more time after. However, if we get behind or are unable to get them done, we can always do them with the rest of the portraits during cocktail hour.  


Rest 3:45pm-4:00pm

If possible, I like to give my couples a 15-30 minute break before the ceremony. This gives everyone time to relax, do touch ups, and whatever else is needed before you get married! I will also be photographing ceremony and reception details at this time. 


Ceremony 4:00pm-4:30pm

It’s time to get married! Most ceremonies are 30 minutes long. If your ceremony is longer, we’ll make adjustments to the timeline! 


Family Portraits 4:30pm-5:00pm

Family formals normally take place immediately following the ceremony. It’s best to save all of the family formals until after the ceremony because all family members will be present at that time. We’ll need about 30 minutes at max for family formals and I will send a questionnaire before the wedding where you can list out the shots you want.


Wedding Party Portraits 5:00pm-5:25pm

Now it’s time for wedding party shots! During the wedding party portraits, my second photographer and I will make sure to get some shots of the girls and guys both separately and together. 


Bride and Groom Portraits 5:25pm-6:00pm

Unless the couple has a specific location in mind, I will find a location for portraits. I usually don’t decide on the location until the day of because it all depends on the lighting. 


Reception Details 6:00pm- 6:20pm

If the reception is in the same location as the ceremony,  and we weren't able to get reception detail shots earlier, I will use this time to shoot the reception decor. If the ceremony and reception are in different locations, I recommend having a cocktail hour outside of the main reception if possible so that I can grab some shots of your reception before the night begins and guests start laying down purses and coats at their seats.


Reception Begins 6:20pm

This is when the wedding party lines up for introductions and the party begins! By this part of the day, the timeline isn’t strict. I work off of natural light and so after the sun is set, my portrait time is over and it’s time to focus on the reception events. You can include cake cutting, first dances, etc in the timeline so that I know where I need to be and when.


The Exit 10:30pm

I offer 6-8 hours of coverage so that I can be present for the main events of the reception and about an hour of dancing. If your exit is after I leave, we can do a faux exit with just the wedding party or you can purchase additional hours.


It’s important to remember that every wedding day is different and couples might want different things. If you don’t want 30 minutes of bride and groom portraits, then we can adjust that. If you have a smaller family and don’t need the whole time allotted for family formals then we can adjust that too. It’s your day, so let’s create a timeline off of what you want.


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