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Wedding Day Timelines

Hi All,

Today I will discuss wedding day timelines. As you know, I am a photographer, so my main concern with the timeline is ensuring we have ample time to get the photos of the day. Generally I photograph things as they happen but there are a few exceptions that must be accounted for in the wedding day timeline.


Timelines have a lot of benefits and proposes. Timelines are a good basis for the wedding day; setting a pace for the day and to keep things on track. It also sets clear expectations, allowing family and friends to know when they need to be where (for photos, transportation, etc).

A few general tips for your timeline. Start with the meat and potatoes (my husband always uses that phrase!). What time does your ceremony start? What time does it end? Is there a cocktail hour, if so, what time? What time does your reception start? What time does your reception end? Get those into the timeline because those won’t be changing.

Think about transportation, how long will it take to get from the getting ready site to the ceremony site, and from ceremony to the reception?

Then start adding in vendors. What time is the makeup artist arriving? How long did they tell you it would take? What time is the photographer arriving? When is the cake being dropped off? When will flowers be delivered?

You’ll see below, this is a timeline from a recent wedding I shot. The bride was working with a planner, who did an amazing job, and then the bride and I worked together to add in the allotted time for the photos. For this wedding, the planners timeline is much more detailed than mine (not included) because they note thing like prelude music, lining up the bridal party for the ceremony, final walk through of reception space, etc. (You can include these too!! Details, details, details).

For my clients, I prefer to arrive about 30 minutes prior to bride putting on her dress. This allows me to get detail shots (about 15 minutes) and some getting ready photos before the bride puts on her dress. I LOVE capturing my clients when they put their dress on. It’s such a special moment. *I’ve wrote a separate blog post about what details you should have ready when your photographer arrives so they can jump into detail photos right away.

You’ll notice that there are specific times for certain photos. For this wedding I had a second photographer with me so we were able to do bride photos and groom photos during the getting ready. At 2:30 we scheduled ALL family photos at the church after the ceremony-this was known to the family so no one departed before we were done. The bride let everyone know prior to the ceremony which was super helpful because then we could dive right into the different family groupings after the ceremony.

Having a timeline of the reception not only keeps the pace of the event, but also allows all your vendors to know what to expect. For this wedding, I knew running to the washroom at 7:15 wouldn’t work, so I could plan accordingly.

If you have specific timeline questions comment below and I’ll happily help where I can! Or shoot me an email

Happy Planning!

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