Here is an outline of an ideal wedding day working off of a 6pm ceremony timeframe. This timeline is also based off a wedding day that includes a first look. Remember that all wedding days are different and your timeline may differ due to travel times and unique situations.
Every bride loves having those beautiful shots of her bridal details. It’s an important part of the story and I love having some time to shoot the dress, shoes, jewelry, invitations, etc. These shots allow me to get warmed up for the rest of the big day. I normally like to allow at least 45 minutes for this part of the day. While I’m shooting details, I’m also capturing some shots of the bride and her girls getting ready! If the groom is getting ready nearby, the second photographer will begin photographing the boys getting ready close to 40 minutes before the first look since it always take them less time to get dressed!
Bridal Prep: 3:15-3:45
After the details have been photographed, its time for the bride to get into her dress! This is a big moment! I usually ask the mother of the bride and all of the bridesmaids be dressed by the time the bride is ready to get into her dress. This ensures that everyone will look nice in those images. After the bride is in her gown, she can put on her jewelry, veil, shoes, etc and I will shoot some additional bridal portraits!
First Look 4:00pm
This is one of my favorite parts of the wedding day! I will find the perfect location for my couple’s first look prior to the getting ready portion of the day! Don’t stress about that one bit. I will make sure the location is private and as secluded as possible.
After the bride and groom take their time with the first look, I will begin taking a few romantic portraits of the two of them while the initial excitement is still present! I will find the locations for these shots as well! As we shoot these portraits, the bridal party can start making their way to us for bridal party portraits.
Bridal Party Portraits 4:50-5:20
Now its time for Bridal Party shots! I buffer in extra time throughout the day just in case we have some unexpected things that hold us up! One way to make sure we stay on schedule for bridal party portraits is to have someone put the boutonnieres on the guys BEFORE they arrive for portraits. During bridal party portraits, my second photographer and I will make sure to take some great shots of the guys and girls both separately and together! After the bridal party portraits are complete, the bride will go into hiding so that early guests don’t sneak a peek and the ushers will begin their duties
Bride and Groom go into hiding 5:30-6:00
Reception Details 5:30-5:50
If the reception is in the same location as the ceremony, I will use this time to shoot the reception décor untouched. If the ceremony and reception are in different locations, I recommend having a cocktail hour outside of the main reception area if possible so that I can grab some great shots of the reception before the night begins and guests start laying down purses and coats on their seats.
Its time to get married! Most ceremonies are 30 minutes long. If your ceremony is longer than 30 minutes, we’ll make adjustments to the timeline! Cherish these moments! Your ceremony will pass by so quickly!
Family portraits 6:40-7:10
Family formals normally take place immediately following the ceremony. Its best to save all of the family formals until after the ceremony because all family members will be present at that time. We’ll need about 30 minutes for family formals and I will send a questionnaire before wedding where you can list out the shots that you want. I recommend shooting portraits outdoors if possible so they resemble more natural family portraits, especially if the ceremony location is dark.
Sunset Portraits 7:!5-7:30
7:00 is the best time of day for portraits in the late spring, summer and early fall. This is what we call the golden hour. I love having a few extra minutes with the bride and groom to take a few “just married” portraits right after family formals.
The Party Begins! 7:30-7:45
This is when the bridal party lines up for introductions and the party begins. By this part of the day, my timeline isn’t as strict. I work off of the natural light and so after the sun is set, my portrait time is over and I begin to focus on the reception event (the candid moments I love the most)
I include 8-10 hours of coverage so that I can be present for the main events of the reception and about an hour of dancing. If you’re interested in having your exit photographed, there are several options for this! You can either add additional coverage or plan a faux exit with just your bridal party. We have had great success with this and the party never stops! Email me about this!
Details & Prep: 1.5 hours
First Look & Portraits: 30-40 minutes
Bridal Party: 30-40 minutes
Family Formals: 30 minutes
When you’re planning a wedding day timeline, the best advice I could give is to add cushion time! Sometimes the most simple things can take an extra 20 minutes and then all of a sudden, the whole morning is thrown off. Its smart to add in an extra ten minutes here and there so that we have some wiggle room to work with! This way, if one part of the day gets thrown off by 20 minutes, I can help you compensate that time in other areas. There are so many different things to think about when you’re planning a wedding day and so here are some tips for the pre-ceremony timeline. I realize that every single wedding is different and so not all of these tips will apply to every wedding day schedule. Something else to consider is that not everything will go as planned, and I promise you, that is completely normal!
Bouquet & Bouts
You will need you bouquets & bouts for your first look. Have them delivered to the room where the bride is getting ready.
Hair and makeup
I encourage brides to have at least their makeup done before I start because who wants a ton of shot without their makeup on J
Be sure to think about the travel time and traffic to and from your getting ready location to your venue!
My second shooter will photograph the guys getting ready if they are getting ready in the same location as the bride or within 10-15 minutes
Ill instruct you to get into your dress close to a window and it would be fabulous to have your bridesmaid’s dressed when you’re getting in your gown!
Creating a Cushion
A10 minute cushion every now and then is a great idea. Its amazing how fast time slips away the day of.