When you and your fiance first start researching wedding photographers, you’ll quickly see that every photographer offers a set list of packages that include a certain amount of hours. The range of hours that a photographer offers in each package might be confusing to you and lead to more stress during the planning process. With years of experience I have been able to create the perfect wedding day timeline that I share with all of my potential clients at their initial consultation. This wedding timeline can be customized to fit the needs of clients but 95% of my clients use this timeline and I have found that it gives my clients the best wedding day experience for them, their family and guests.
Below is my customized wedding timeline that I use for the majority of my weddings but as I stated previously it can definitely be customized to fit your needs but I think it’s most important to see how long each section of photos typically take to ensure that your wedding day is fully documented to tell your story.
1:00pm -2:00pm Getting Ready Photos
2:00pm – 3:00pm First Look/ Bride and Groom Photos
3:00pm – 4:00pm Wedding Party Photos
4:00pm – 4:30pm Family Photos
4:30pm – 5:00pm Relax
5:00pm – 5:30pm Ceremony
5:30pm – 6:30pm Cocktail hour
6:30pm – 8:00pm Dinner
8:00pm – 9:00pm Dance starts
9:00pm Photography ends
Here is a breakdown of each category:
Getting Ready Photos- 1 hour
I usually like to arrive at the tail end of you getting your hair and makeup done so I can capture you getting ready and candids of you with your bridesmaids. I also like to take photos of all your important details during this time. This includes: your dress, shoes, jewelry, bouquet, veil, invitation suite and any other special items items that you might have for your wedding day!
This is also the time when I will photograph the groom’s details, candids of him with the groomsmen and him getting ready as well.
First Look/ Bride and Groom Photos- 1 hour
The majority of my couples opt to do a first look prior to the ceremony. They love that they can see each other privately and have time to talk and take it all in prior to the ceremony. You truly see the couples relax after this first look and it’s a great way to get all of your photos done prior to the ceremony so that once the ceremony is done you can relax and have fun with your new spouse and guests!
Wedding Party Photos- 1 hour
Ensure that your wedding party arrives and is ready 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start time for photos. Below is a list of photos that I usually capture during this time.
☐ Bride with all bridesmaids
☐ Bride with each bridesmaid
☐ Bouquets together
☐ Bride with groomsmen
☐ Photo of one bridesmaid bouquet
☐ Groom with all groomsmen
☐ Groom with each groomsman
☐ Groom with bridesmaids
☐ B&G with entire wedding party
Family Photos: 30 minutes to 45 minutes
Right after wedding party photos I like to do the family photos and just like the wedding party it’s best to ask them to arrive 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start time to ensure that you get started on time. Below is a list of the typical photos I take during this time. During my last meeting with my couples we go over this list and add any other additional photos i.e Couple with grandparents, Couple with siblings If you want to get large group photos with cousins, aunts and uncles, I suggest doing those during cocktail hour or the reception. That way everyone doesn’t see you prior to the ceremony and you don’t have to worry about a large group arriving prior to the ceremony.
☐ Bride and Groom with Groom’s immediate family
☐ Bride and Groom with Groom’s Parents
☐ Bride and Groom with Bride’s immediate family
☐ Bride and Groom with Bride’s Parents
☐ Bride and Groom with both sets of Parents
30 minutes of downtime prior to Ceremony & Ceremony time 30 minutes
I like to build in a buffer of 30 minutes into your timeline to ensure that we have plenty of time prior to the ceremony for you guys to go hide and to freshen up! A typical ceremony is 30 minutes but if your ceremony is longer more time can be added.
Cocktail hour: 60 minutes
This is a great time to get candids of your guests and any other group shots that we didn’t get during the family photos. If you would like to do a receiving line, it is typically done at the beginning of cocktail hour right after the reception. This is also the time where I like to take venue photos and detail photos of your reception.
Dinner: 60-90 minutes
During this time I will capture candids of you and your guests during toasts and cake cutting. Candids of guests during this time are some of my favorite photos during the wedding day!
Dance 30-60 minutes:
During this time I like to capture your first dance, first dances, mother/son, father/daughter dances, garter toss, bouquet toss and dancing shots of the guests.