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!
Tip #1: Be aware of sunset time! If your photos are scheduled for midday in high-sun, you may want to look for a large space to fit everyone that has even shade. The best time for photos is about an hour before the sun sets, so it’s nice to schedule some couples portraits during that golden hour glow!
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!)
Tip #3: 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
Tip #4: If you are doing a first look and photos at the venue, make sure to leave some time to wrap up photos before the guests arrive so they don’t see you taking photos. We typically plan to wrap up photos at least 30 minutes before the ceremony start time! You’ll also be able to freshen up your hair/ makeup if you need to during this time too.
2pm – Getting Ready Photos (90-120 minutes recommended) – Hair and makeup should be finished or finishing up by the time the photographer arrives.
4:30pm – Ceremony
5pm – Portraits
Family Photos (15-30 minutes)
Bridal Party Photos (20-30 Minutes)
Couples Portraits (15-20 Minutes)
6:30pm-10pm – Reception Coverage
2pm – Getting Ready Photos (90-120 minutes recommended) – Hair and makeup should be finished or finishing up by the time the photographer arrives
3:45pm – First Look & All Portraits (at least 90 minutes recommended)
5pm – Ceremony
5:30pm – Grandparent + Extended Family Photos (15-30 minutes)
5:50pm – Just Married/ Sunset Portraits (10 minutes)
6pm-10pm – Cocktail Hour/Reception Coverage
If you’re one of our couples, you will receive a worksheet to fill out where we will walk through your family dynamic and help plan out all of your family photos, as well as any other group photos. This is typically the only list we need! The rest of the day flows seamlessly and we are able to do our best work if we are not operating off of a shot list. But having a list of names for group photos always ends up being super helpful for making sure we have everything covered! A typical list looks something like this:
Other Important Groupings:
Family Photo 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.
Family Photo 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, so they don’t feel the need to jump in the middle of an organized list on the wedding day. It’s also 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. However, they can always grab the photographer 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!
Stop and pause. Take a few minutes alone after your photos are done. Take a few seconds before walking down the aisle with your partner to observe all your loved ones around you. The day goes by so quickly. Don’t forget to take it all in!