stress free wedding timeline

A Stress-Free Wedding Timeline

I know this isn’t the most exciting aspect of the wedding day, but I like to start the planning process with my couples by chatting about creating a stress-free wedding timeline. It’s the most important thing that can make or break your wedding photography experience!

Below is an ideal timeline based on a typical summer ceremony time of 5:00pm that ensures your day runs smoothly and easily. This ideal timeline also includes a First Look. (You can read more about the benefits of having a First Look here.)

Remember that while this may be a typical eight-hour timeline, all weddings days are different and yours may differ based on the photos you value the most, travel between locations, and other unique events.

1:00 Detail Photos

While you and your friends are starting to get ready or finishing up hair & makeup, I will start by photographing your beautiful, hand-picked details such as your invitations, dress, shoes, rings, jewelry, perfume, vows, watch, cufflinks, tie, etc.(You can read more about detail photos here.)

2:00 “Getting Ready” Photos

Here we will capture the finishing touches of you getting ready- you getting into your dress, or suit jacket, shoes, jewelry, etc.

3:00 First Look + Couple Portraits

Time to see your partner for the first time! Let’s capture some portraits while ya’ll are fresh and excited.

3:30 Bridal Party Portraits

We’ll photograph your friends pre-ceremony so that they can enjoy cocktail hour after the ceremony, instead of hanging back for photos.

4:15 Bride/Groom in Hiding, Photographers capturing Ceremony & Reception décor

Let’s get you tucked away to relax before the ceremony begins. I’ll capture all the beautiful personal touches set up for your event.

4:30 Guests begin arriving

5:00 Ceremony

Most ceremonies are around 30mins.

5:30 Cocktail hour & Family Formals

While your guests head off to enjoy cocktail hour, you two and your immediate family will hang back for a few more photos.

6:00 Newlywed Golden-hour Photos (for 7pm sunset)

Your first photos as a married couple! The sun sets at different times of the year, so this time will often change. These photos are taken 1hr before sunset.

6:30 Reception Begins (grand entrance, dinner, toasts, first dances, cake cutting, etc)

Every reception looks different, so be sure to let us know what special things you have planned to ensure we don’t miss a thing.

8:00 Open Dancing

An hour of dancing coverage is usually enough to capture the vibe of the night. But feel free to add on additional time for more partying or to capture a Grand Exit

9:00 Photography Coverage Ends

This above timeline gives you, your guests, and your photographer plenty of time to capture all the big and small moments that go into the wedding day without feeling rushed or stressed.

However, there are several factors that may alter your timeline in which you will want to consider adding on more time. These factors include things such as adding in travel time for multiple venues, adjusting photo times for your dates scheduled sunset time (you can check your dates time here), removing the first look, having a longer ceremony, not having a coordinator, desiring more dancing photos, having a grand exit, or not having a second shooter.

Overall, be sure to communicate your preference to your photograph to ensure you have a stress-free wedding timeline in place before your big day. That way, come celebration time, you can relax knowing that you are in good hands.


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