Wedding planning can be so overwhelming. Especially, when you are trying to figure out what is needed to have a stress free wedding and still be able to get the images that you to look back on in the years to come. So I have put together some tips and tricks of building a timeline at least from my 10 years of experience in shooting weddings!
From my experience, most people underestimate how long everything on their wedding day will take, and the last thing you need before you walk down the aisle is to feel flustered and stressed.
But that’s where I come in. I’ve been shooting weddings for 10 years and over this time, have developed a wedding day schedule that can be applied to almost any wedding day. It allows plenty of time for preparations, family portraits, and a bit of a breather before you leave the reception as newlyweds.
Before we start, here are a few general guidelines…
For the Bride: A trial run of hair and makeup always helps to estimate how much time you will need to look your best. To be sure you have enough time to enjoy and relax, add another 30-40 minutes to this as a safety net for any issues that might pop up, and if nothing does, then you have a little bit of extra time to just sit back, relax, and soak in the day! You’ll also want to include about 20-25 minutes for getting your dress on. Some wedding dresses are tricky and take a bit of practice and time to get them zippered, laced, or buttoned properly. Ensure that your mom and at least one bridesmaid is dressed and ready ahead of you, so they can help you into your dress and look good in the photographs of you being buttoned up.
Average time: 1.5 – 2 hrs
For the Groom: Most weddings involve some sort of group activity early on, like golfing, shooting pool, etc. Afterward, we will get some details of the groom’s finishing touches, shoes, jacket, and cufflinks. These little pieces will help tell your story, so documenting the groom’s prep is essential. We will finish up with a few portraits of the guys together. The groom and groomsmen usually take a little less time than the bride and bridesmaids, but obviously, this can vary.
Average time: 1 – 1.5 hrs
Photos + Portraits
The next phase of your outline will vary quite a bit depending on your plans and preferences for the day. Consider whether or not you would like to do a first look (including couples’ portraits) before the ceremony, and whether or not you want to include the bridal party and/or family at this time. Another common photo request to consider is whether or not the bride would like first look photos with her father and/or family. These variables could really change your timeline so it’s important to start evaluating them now.
Average time: 1 -2 hrs
After the Ceremony
This is my favorite part of the wedding day! All the stressful bits are over and now all you have to do is enjoy yourself. This where I take photos of the wedding party and bride and groom portraits unless you’ve opted to do a first look and photos prior.
We would decide in advance where and how long we want to stop for photographs on the way to the reception, but ideally, I want to get you to your reception about 45 minutes before dinner starts so that I have time to photograph detail shots of the reception hall and photograph the cake. This also gives you time to relax and chat with your guests!
Dinner: After you have had time to eat and all the speeches are finished, I will typically grab my couple during a portion of dinner to do sunset photos. This gives you a little time to be alone together, and we create some amazing images as the sun is about to set!
Average time: 30 mins
Once that’s done we head back in for the first dance and reception!
I hope you found these tips helpful in building your wedding day timeline!