Wedding Day Timing Guideline
I have put this page together with the hope of giving you some rough guidelines to figure out the timing of your wedding day. Keep in mind that every wedding day timeline is just a guide and that I will always go with the flow of the day as it happens. It’s not often that an entire wedding day follows an exact timeline. As your wedding date gets closer I will send you an online form to fill out, then I will contact you to discuss and create a more specific timeline tailored to your wedding day needs. I have put together most of the common options for a timeline below. Please look at the options that will apply to your wedding day and the information should help with your planning.
• Don’t forget to add in travel time between all the locations that you will be visiting on your wedding day including any additional photo stops.
• Please keep in mind that when traveling with a group of people such as your family or wedding party it usually takes a few extra minutes to gather everyone together and get on the road.
• If you are having hair and/or makeup done where you are getting ready, I suggest that the bride and whoever will be helping the bride get dressed, be scheduled to finish just after I arrive. This way if anything is running behind the bride can get dressed while the rest of the girls finish hair and makeup.
• Please also allow time to actually get in your dress. If it is a zip up dress it is usually quick but I have seen some of the lace or button up dresses take up to 30 minutes to finish.
Both Bride & Groom getting ready
Allow 30 minutes for guys + travel time + 1:20 for girls
I will usually start with the guys getting ready. I'll want the guys to be dressed in pants and a t-shirt (if they are wearing one) and I will photograph them finishing getting ready. Next I will head to where the bride and girls are getting ready. Once I arrive there I will quickly photograph details such as dress, shoes, jewelry, etc. as well as some candids of everyone getting ready. Approximately 1 hour before leaving for the ceremony or first look I will photograph the bride getting in her dress and the finishing touches as well as a few bridal portraits.
Bride only getting ready
Allow 1.5 hours
When I arrive I will quickly photograph details such as dress, shoes, jewelry, etc. as well as some candids of everyone getting ready. Approximately 1 hour before leaving for the ceremony or first look I will photograph the bride getting in her dress and the finishing touches as well as a few bridal portraits.
First Look at ceremony location
Allow 2 hours
I like to schedule you seeing each other for the first time approximately 2 hours before your ceremony. I will start with the bride and groom seeing each other for the first time. After that I will take a few minutes to photograph some portraits of the bride and groom together then add the wedding party into the mix. Lastly if there is any immediate family present I will do some family groups before the ceremony. At this point I should be able to have the bride hidden away roughly 30 minutes before the ceremony so arriving guests do not see her. I suggest doing any extended family photos immediately following the ceremony since that is the easiest time to have everyone in the same location. Since most if not all of the other photos will be done already I would only need about 10 minutes to finish with the extended family groups then you will be on your way to the cocktail hour.
First Look at a different location from the ceremony
Allow 1:30 + travel time
I like to schedule you seeing each other for the first time approximately 1.5 hours plus travel time before your ceremony. I will start with the bride and groom seeing each other for the first time. After that I will take a few minutes to photograph some portraits of the bride and groom together then add the wedding party into the mix. Lastly if there is any immediate family present I will do some family groups before the ceremony. Ie suggest doing any extended family photos immediately following the ceremony since that is the easiest time to have everyone in the same location. Since most if not all of the other photos will be done already I would only need about 10 minutes to finish with the extended family groups then you will be on your way to the cocktail hour.
No First Look
No Extra Time
Yay, you have nothing to worry about in this section!
Simply add in the approximate length of your ceremony
With a Receiving line (greeting guests as they leave the ceremony)
Allow 20-30 minutes
I know this sounds like a lot of time but trust me it takes a while to say hello to everyone. Your guests are very happy for you at this point and they will hug, kiss and congratulate you like crazy! If you know you will be running short on time I suggest skipping a receiving line to gain back a few precious minutes. If you have the time then this can be a great opportunity to say hello to everyone so you don't "have" to do it again at the cocktail hour or reception.
No receiving line
No Extra Time
If you plan on opting out of a receiving line I do suggest having a place to go after the ceremony that will hide you, your wedding party and immediate family from the guests leaving the ceremony. It can be easy for an unintended receiving line to form if your parents or wedding party begin greeting guests.
After ceremony exit (bubbles, flower petals, butterflies, etc.)
Whether you have done a receiving line or not this part is usually really quick. I'll help to usher all your guests and wedding party out of the ceremony location and I'll help to coordinate your ceremony exit as I photograph everyone cheering for you. Immediately following this I will usually head right back to the ceremony location to photograph all the family groups. I will usually make an announcement for all immediate family to head back to the ceremony spot for these photos.
Family Group Photos
No First Look - all family groups photos need to be done
Allow 30 minutes
I understand that this is not the most fun part of the day so I have a system to get through these photos as fast as possible. The most important part you can do to help make things move along quickly is to inform everyone you want included in family photos to stay at the ceremony location after. If we have to wait for someone to return or go find them in the cocktail hour it can really delay everything.
There is no need to give me a list of family groups unless you have some very specific groups you need such as certain aunts, uncles, long-lost cousins, or your mother's best friend's cousin's son. If they are in your immediate family (this includes grandparents) and they are there, I will photograph them with you. All joking aside if you do have specific groups that you want that you don't think I would know to photograph you can provide that info to me when I send you an online form closer to your wedding day.
First Look - most family groups photos are done
Allow 10 minutes
Since I have hopefully done most of the immediate family groups earlier I only need to do the extended family groups now so it should be nice and quick.
There isn't really much to schedule during this time. Hopefully I have planned the day to allow you to enjoy most of your cocktail hour. If some of your cocktail hour time is needed for photos please know that whenever you have had enough with photos I will be happy to stop. I love taking photos and I would be perfectly happy photographing you and your spouse all day long but I understand that would make for quite a boring wedding. I know this is your day and what ever you would like to do on your wedding day is exactly what I will do. Not to mention, I love nibbling some cocktail hour goodies and I use this time to check over my gear and set up everything for your reception.
Time to party! The reception is similar to the cocktail hour in that I won't really be bothering you for any photos. I will be floating around documenting all of the events that happen during your reception, plus I'll do my best to photograph your friends and family showing off their finest dance moves (great for blackmail photos!) The only time I may ask you to leave for photos is if you have chosen to do a sunset or night time photo which I will ask you about in the online form I send to you closer to your wedding.
I will be with you until the hours you have booked me have run out or your reception ends. If the schedule has me leaving before your reception is over I will do my best to coordinate with everyone to try to photograph as many events as possible before I leave. Often your DJ/band and Maître d are happy to work with me to get the important things done before I leave.
That is pretty much it. Please keep in mind this is meant only as a guideline and if you ever have more specific questions don't hesitate to get in touch with me. About 7 weeks before your wedding date I will send you the form to fill out online that gives me all the details I need to really nail down your wedding day timeline. After you fill out the form I will get in touch with you to finalize everything and you will always have the option to add an additional hour or two at that point. I hope this has helped you out with your planning and I am looking forward to hanging out with you on the wedding day!