A Sample Wedding Day Timeline

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Over the last eighteen years, I’ve photographed a couple hundred weddings.  Everyone from the church coordinator to the DJ has an opinion on what a timeline should look like.  And if you’ve hired professionals then what the timeline should look like for THEIR part of the day is most likely solid advice.  The church coordinator is going to know when to start the processional, the DJ is going to know when to start the first dance and the caterer when to start serving food . . . however, unless you’ve hired a wedding planner (which I highly recommend!), your photographer is the only part of your vendor team that will be there from getting ready to going away and they should be a huge part of the timeline planning process.

So . . . today I thought I’d share what a timeline looks like for a typical wedding I’m a part of.   In my experience, it allows plenty of time for GORGEOUS images AND plenty of cushion for wedding day emergencies.

**Keep in mind every photographer shoots differently and this is for what I call a “standard” wedding . . . (8) hours of photography time with the wedding and reception at one location and a first look scheduled.  I work with each of my clients to make sure THEIR needs come first and it may not always look like this.


2:30 MK arrives – begins bridal detail images 
(PRO TIP:  All hair and make-up should be done and bridesmaids in their dresses.)

3:15 Getting ready images with the girls
(PRO TIP:  Hair and make-up images are staged!  Bride gets in gown!)

3:45 Getting ready images with the guys
(PRO TIP:  Guys should be dressed and ready to go!  This includes boutonnieres!)

4:15 First Look and Couple Portraits
(PRO TIP:  We’ll pre-plan this location – let everyone know this is a PRIVATE moment and you’d like to be alone, having an audience may take away from the emotions you’d would normally express! – For more on why I suggest a first look hop over here!)

4:45 Wedding Party Portraits
(PRO TIP:   Make sure everyone is in a central location and know what time these start!   If time allows we’ll sneak in family portraits here too!)

5:15 Catch up Images and Detail Shots from Reception

6:00 Ceremony

6:45  Family Portraits and a few “Just Married” Portraits
(PRO TIP:  Have a friend or family member not included in the images to be designated people-gatherer.  I won’t know who everyone is and having someone to gather people when their picture time comes up helps to keep it moving!)

7:30 Couple Enters Reception and the Party Begins!
(PRO TIP:  Other than a few snaps here and there I’ll be capturing everything as it happens!  Enjoy your family and friends!)

10:00 Prep begins for going away images | Couple exits at 10:20
(PRO TIP:  Have someone in charge of passing out your going away goodies, rather it be bubbles, confetti or sparklers you wouldn’t believe how long it takes to get this organized!)

10:30 MK heads home to start processing images for your sneak peek on Tuesday!

Again, this is for a “standard” (8) hour wedding – all kinds of factors play into this, having a second shooter, multiple locations, choosing to not have a first look, cultural traditions etc.  Just know, ESPECIALLY if you are reading this and I am your wedding photographer, you do not have to do this by yourself!  Ask your vendor team for help!

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