Wedding Day Timeline

Your wedding photography timeline should be designed to capture all the important moments of your big day and be as stress free as possible! Here are some tips to help you create a wedding timeline that will ensure you get beautiful, lasting photos that you will cherish forever.

 

Sample Timelines

8 Hours | First-Look

Check out this sample timeline based on a 6p ceremony time with a first look!.

3:00 | Arrival
*Bridal hair and makeup must be near completion*
3:10 | Final shots of bridal hair and makeup
3:20 | Capture Details | Dress, invitations, jewelry etc.
3:40 | Bridesmaids in robes, cheers!
3:50 | Groom getting ready *bridesmaids get dressed*
4:00 | Bride gets zipped up, shoes, earrings, veil etc.
4:20 | First Look with Groom followed by Couples Portraits
4:45 | Bridesmaids Portraits
5:00 | Full Wedding Party
5:15 | Groomsmen Portraits
5:30 | Venue Decor Shots and Capture Guest Arrival
*wedding party hides*
6:00 | Ceremony 
6:30 | Ceremony Ends
6:40 | Family Formals
*cocktail hour begins*
7 | Full Wedding Party/ Catch Up On Any Missing Photos
7:10 | Couples Portraits #2
7:30 | Bustle Dress + Wedding Party Line Up
7:40 | Bride and Groom Entrance to Reception
10:45 |  Exit
11:00 | Photographer Departure

8 Hours | No First-Look

With 8 hours of coverage, you do have some flexibility when it comes to opting out of a first look.  Check out this sample timeline without a first look based on a 6p ceremony time.

3:00 | Photographer Arrival
* ALL hair and makeup must completed*
3:10 | Bridesmaids in robes, cheers!
3:20 | Capture Details | Dress, invitations, jewelry etc.
*bridesmaids get dressed
3:40 | Bride gets zipped up, shoes, earrings, veil. Shots putting lipstick on etc.
4:00 | Optional First Touch OR First Look with Dad
4:20 | Bridesmaids Portraits
4:40 | Groom getting ready (Bridesmaids get dressed)
5:00 | Groomsmen Portraits
5:20 | Venue Decor Shots
*wedding party hides*
6:00 | Ceremony Begins
6:30 | Ceremony Ends
6:40 | Family Formals
*cocktail hour begins*
7 | Full Wedding Party
7:10 | Couples Portraits additional shots
7:35 | Bustle Dress + Wedding Party Line Up
7:45 | Bride and Groom Entrance to Reception
10:45 |  Exit
11:00 | Photographer Departure

6 Hours | First-Look

Basic wedding coverage includes 6 hours of coverage. Check out this sample timeline based on 6 hours of photography coverage, with a first look and a 6p ceremony time.

4:00 | Arrival
*hair + makeup must be done*
4:10 | Bridesmaids in robes, cheers! 
4:20 | Capture Details | Dress, invitations, jewelry etc.
*bridesmaids get dressed*
4:40 | Bride gets zipped up, shoes, earrings, veil etc.
5:00 | First Look with Groom followed by Couples Portraits
5:30 | Venue Decor Shots + Guest Arrival
*wedding party hides*
6:00 | Ceremony
6:30 | Ceremony Ends
*cocktail hour begins*
6:40 | Family Formals
7:00 | Full Wedding Party + Bridesmaids + Groomsmen
7:10 | Couples Portraits 2nd Location
7:30 | Bustle Dress + Wedding Party Line Up
7:40 | Bride and Groom Entrance to Reception
9:45 |  Fake exit or final photos
10:00 | Photographer Departure

6 Hours | No First Look

Basic wedding coverage includes 6 hours of coverage. Check out this sample timeline based on 6 hours of photography coverage, without a first look and a 6p ceremony time.

4:00 | Arrival
*hair + makeup must be done*
4:10 | Bridesmaids in robes, cheers! 
4:20 | Capture Details | Dress, invitations, jewelry etc.
4:40 | Bride gets zipped up, shoes, earrings, veil etc.
5:00 | First Look with Groom followed by Couples Portraits
5:15 | Bridesmaids Portraits
5:30 | Groomsmen Portraits
5:45 | Venue Decor Shots + Guest Arrival
6:00 | Ceremony
6:30 | Ceremony Ends
*cocktail hour begins*
6:40 | Family Formals
7:00 | Full Wedding Party + any remaining shots
7:10 | Couples Portraits 2nd Location
7:30 | Bustle Dress + Wedding Party Line Up
7:40 | Bride and Groom Entrance to Reception
9:45 |  Fake exit or final photos
10:00 | Photographer Departure

4 Hours | Elopement or Ceremony + Portraits Only

Simple coverage of elopements or ceremony and portraits only includes 4 hours of coverage. Check out this sample timeline based on 4p ceremony time.

1:00 | Arrival
*hair + makeup must be done*
1:15 | Bride + Bridesmaids in robes, cheers!
1:30 | Capture Details | Dress, invitations, jewelry etc.
1:50 | Bride gets zipped up, shoes, earrings, veil etc.
2:10 | Groom Details
*must be ready by this time*
2:20 |First Look with Groom followed by Couples Portraits
3:00 | Bridesmaid/Groomsmen Photos or Bridals
3:40 | Set up for Ceremony + Capture Guest Arrival
4:00 | Ceremony
4:30 | Ceremony Ends
4:40 | Family Formals  
5:00 | Full Wedding Party + any remaining shots
5:30 | Mingle with guests, take photos
5:45 |  Fake exit or final photos
6:00 | Photographer Departure

Timeline Tips

Always start your timeline with setting your ceremony time first, then work backwards or forward from there to build out the rest of your day. The time of day that your wedding ceremony may be dictated by your venue based on availability, but there are a few things to consider.


Indoor or Outdoor Ceremony: Consider the location of your ceremony and what it will look like during photos. Editing can do a lot but it cannot help squinting and for this reason, we recommend 1.5 -2 hours before sunset in most cases.

Sunset time. Whether an indoor or outdoors ceremony, couples love getting portraits done outdoors as it gives a variety of backgrounds and more lighting options than indoor only.  We recommend 2 hours before sunset in most cases.

* if your ceremony time backs up to sunset you will need to have had nearly all of your portraits done before the ceremony, by doing a first look.

As your big day approaches, you’re probably wondering whether you want first-look wedding photos—or whether you want to wait until you walk down the aisle for your big reveal.

What Is the First Look?

The first look is when a couple sees each other (usually privately with the exception of the photographer) for the first time on their wedding day. This intimate moment makes for an amazing and sweet photography opportunity before the chaos of the day really starts.

The Pros of First Look Wedding Photos

The biggest reason couples should consider the first look is just the practicality of timing.
  • -You get many of the photos taken before the ceremony, so that most of the big business is taken care of and you can just celebrate!
  • Doing a first look ALWAYS means more portrait images for you to enjoy later! You may even have time for additional portraits after the ceremony in a different location or in different lighting which is always a plus!
  • -It gives you and your partner a some additional private moments together.
  • -You can capture an emotional moment on camera: Yes, walking down the aisle is emotional, too, but you’re not always together in those photographs.

Wedding Party Portraits- group shots and individual with bride 15-20 minutes (consider venue layout and time that is needed to get to areas you will want photos)

B. Add Groomsmen portraits- group shots and individual with groom. 15-20 minutes (consider venue layout and time that is needed to get to areas you will want photos)

C. Add First Look- optional If you opt for a first look, allow for at-least 20 minutes for a private moment with the couple and getting started on wedding portraits.

We highly recommend getting at minimum getting the bridesmaid and or groomsmen photos completed before the ceremony. If you can, also do a first look.

D. Add Bridal Portraits- if you need time for bridal photos add 10 minutes.

Family Photographs Checklist

Here you can find the list of family photo combinations  to keep in mind to make the family portraits go as smoothly as possible. All combinations assume pictures with two families. Feel free to omit and adjust to fit your needs.

  • Couple with immediate + extended families
  • Couple with parents, siblings + grandparents
  • Couple with grandparents
  • Couple with parents & siblings
  • Couple with parents
  • Bride or Groom with mother
  • Bride or Groom with Father
  • Bride or Groom with siblings
  • Any additional combinations.

Have More Questions? We Have More Resources!

Read through our extensive list of frequently asked questions by clients like you!

Preview The Perfect Timeline!

8 Hours of Coverage with a First-Look

3:00PM
Arrival
Photographer Arrives

Check-in with bride, scope out venue set up and set up equipment as needed.

3:10 PM
Final Touches + Bridesmaids
Getting Ready

By this time, the bridal hair and make-up should be nearing completion!

3:20 PM
Final Touches + Bridesmaids
Bridal Suite
 

Capture, Bride with Bridesmaids in robes, cheers!

3:30PM
Photographer Arrival
Capture Details

Capture dress, invitation spread, rings, shoes, jewelry, decor, venue, etc.

3:45PM
Guys Details
Groomsmen Dressing

Final details of Groom getting ready, tie,  cufflinks, shoes. Shots together with groomsmen, cheers! (Bridesmaids get dressed at this time)

4:00 PM
Dress + Veil
Bridal Dressing

Bride gets zipped up, shoes, earrings, veil etc.

4:20 PM
First Look
First Look + Portraits

Private first look between the couple, followed by couples portraits.

4:45 PM
Bridesmaida + Groomsmen
Wedding Party Portraits

Group and individual images of the Bride with her bridesmaids and the Groom and his groomsmen. Knock out as many as possible!

6 PM
Couple + Wedding Party Hide
Pre-Ceremony

Photographer prepares for ceremony, captures any venue/ reception table details, guests as they arrive to ceremony space.

*wedding party hides*

6:30PM
Ceremony

Precession, Ceremony, Recessional.

7 PM
Cocktail Hour Begins
Portraits

Family portraits are captured, then any remaining wedding party images. Remaining time used for additional couples portraits.

*Guests at Cocktail hour*

8 PM
Line Up at 7:50
Reception

Wedding Party grand entrance followed by dinner. Reception timeline is generally provided by the DJ and includes first dances, toasts, cake cutting, other games or events and dancing.

10:30PM
Last Dance 10:15
Exit

The guests line up for the couples exit to the get away car. Can include bubbles, sparklers or other elements.