DAY OF Wedding timeline

March 11, 2021

Full / Micro Wedding Timeline for photography

When planning your wedding, the timeline is the hardest part to nail down. Especially if you haven’t been around a lot of weddings! If you are not working with a wedding planning of day-of coordinator, you will definitely need to work closely with your photographer so you can customize a wedding timeline based on your needs. However, if you haven’t picked a photographer yet, please feel free to use these day-of wedding timelines to help you guide you!


Things to consider for your wedding timeline!

Why you should do a FIRST LOOK:

People are usually really set on or against a first look. There usually isn’t much space for an argument once the decision has been made. The first look is the pivot point for me when building a timeline. It indicates how much portrait time is needed and how early I need to arrive/when and where to place all the other photo times needed during the day.

Having a first look? Cool- that means we can knock out the bridal party and the immediate family photos prior to the ceremony, leaving nothing but portraits and party time after. A timeline not including a first look is typically one where there isn’t much going on prior to the ceremony and then we try to cram everything into the hour after. Here is what I want you to consider before deciding whether you will be having one or not.

  1. THIS IS NOT ABOUT TRADITION– it’s about maximizing time on a chaotic day where every minute is accounted for. There are things that happen during a wedding day that are out of our control and cannot be predicted. These can greatly affect the amount of time we have for couples’ portraits during a wedding day. I’ve even had it happen where the wedding was so behind that we didn’t get ANY sunset portrait time at all. Having a first look is a fail-safe as it allows for TWO portrait times. One immediately following the first look and another during sunset portraits. If for some reason, your wedding runs behind, you will at least have portraits from the first part of the day.
  2. YOU GET TO SPEND YOUR WHOLE WEDDING DAY TOGETHER– This is the whole point, right? Instead of spending the last 5 hours of your wedding day together, you can spend 10. Win/win.
  3. PRIVATE TIME – a basically nonexistent part of the traditional wedding schedule. Instead of rushing straight from the ceremony into family photos and bridal party group shots and reception entrances, etc., etc., you can spend time alone together before the ceremony. Helps with nerves, allows you to read private vows or go for a walk and kiss and cry alone (well, with me. Still counts.). You can walk the entire day together from that point on.

It’s all about that Light

Let me save you from a crucial mistake. Once the ceremony time is set, printed, and mailed off to all your nearest and dearest on your invites, that’s it. There’s no going back. Picture this- a 4 PM ceremony in July (when the sun sets at 9 PM), both of you in your finest, sweating like animals at the front of a blazing hot aisle while one of you squints at the other. Not only are you uncomfortable and sweating in unmentionable places, but one of you has your back to the sun and the other is facing right into it. Not only can I see every drop of sweat but your photographic result will be less than ideal because your partner’s face is totally shaded while you are as bright as the sun you’re under.
Things to consider when choosing a ceremony site:
-TIME OF DAY
-TIME OF YEAR
-LOCATION OF CEREMONY IN RELATION TO THE SUN AND SURROUNDING AREA (directional, trees, etc.)
This will also depend on geographical location. Certain parts of the world are known for their overcast skies. Things like mountains, trees, and especially bodies of water will also have an impact on the light. Don’t worry though! I am here to help you figure it out.


A few things to consider when planning your wedding timeline:

What you need to decide on is how much you want captured! Do you want a lot of the getting ready details shot? Shoes, dress, jewelry etc. Or how about the a flat lay of the wedding stationary! You will need to allot time for that at the beginning of the day, before you are fully done with your hair and make up.

Having a hard time picturing how your wedding day will go? Use these sample timelines as a starting point to visualizing your day! These all are assuming the ceremony will take place at 5:00.

Wedding Timeline Planning

4 Hours with 1 Photographer

Ideal for those who just want the basics. This does not allow for a lot of photos of details or extras. Just the bridal party & family photos, ceremony and reception photos. Want more details? Ask for more hours!

  • 4:00-4:30 First look + couples photos
  • 4:30-5:00 Relax before ceremony
  • 5:00-5:30 CEREMONY!
  • 5:30-6:30 Cocktail hour
  • 5:35 Sign license
  • 5:40-6:30 Bridal party + Family photos
  • 6:40 Grand entrance
  • 6:45-7:15 Dinner
  • 7:15-7:30 Speeches
  • 7:30 Cake Cutting
  • 7:45 First Dance
  • 8:00 Photographer Departs

8 Hours with 2 Photographers

  • 1:00-2:00 Getting ready details
  • – Photographer 1 with bride/bridesmaids
  • – Photographer 2 with groom/groomsmen
  • 2:00-3:00
  • – Photographer 1 with Bride + Groom for first look and couples photos
  • – Photographer 2 with bridal party for individual + group photos
  • 3:00-3:30 Snack + champagne break!
  • 3:30-4:30 Bridal Party + Family photos
  • – Photographer 1 Bridal Party + Family photos
  • – Photographer 2 to take detail photos of the ceremony + reception space
  • 4:30-5:00 Relax before the ceremony
  • 5:00-5:30 CEREMONY!
  • 5:30-6:30 Cocktail hour
  • 5:35 Sign license
  • 5:40-6:30 Extended family photos
  • 6:40 Grand entrance
  • 6:45-7:15 Dinner
  • 7:15-7:30 Speeches
  • 7:30 Cake Cutting
  • 7:45 First Dance
  • 8:00-9:00 Sunset Photos
  • 9:00 Photographer Departs
Pelindaba Lavender Farm
Wedding Timeline Planning

10 Hours with 2 Photographers

  • 12:00-1:30 Getting ready details + Flat Lays
  • – Photographer 1 with bride/bridesmaids
  • – Photographer 2 with groom/groomsmen
  • 1:30-3:00
  • – Photographer 1 with Bride + Groom for first look and couples photos
  • – Photographer 2 with the bridal party for individual + group photos
  • 3:00-3:30 Snack + champagne break!
  • 3:30-4:30
  • – Photographer 1 Bridal Party + Family photos
  • – Photographer 2 to take detail photos of the ceremony + reception space
  • 4:30-5:00 Relax before the ceremony
  • 5:00-5:30 CEREMONY!
  • 5:30-6:30 Cocktail hour
  • 5:35 Sign license
  • 5:40-6:30 Extended family photos
  • 6:40 Grand entrance
  • 6:45-7:15 Dinner
  • 7:15-7:30 Speeches
  • 7:30 Cake Cutting
  • 7:45 First Dance
  • 8:00-9:00 Sunset Photos
  • 9:00-10:00 Party photos
  • 10:00 Grand Exit + Photographer Departs

Want to talk to me about your wedding photography and personalizing your wedding timeline?


Elopement Timelines!

In the past, eloping was a dirty word that meant you just wanted to sneak away in the dead of night to get married in Vegas by a man dressed up as Elvis! (Low key that still sounds like a blast to me)

But today it is so different. Eloping today means crafting a truly authentic and intimate event

Wedding Timeline Planning

Planning an Elopement Timeline

Not sure where to start with planning your day oftimeline? Use this sample timeline to help guide your day!

  • Getting ready location: Fall City Airbnb
  • Ceremony location: Rattlesnake Lake
  • Extra photo locations: Franklin Falls
  • Meal/Post ceremony celebration: Local winery, Fall City Airbnb ​
  • 6:00 (Yes it’s early, but you won’t regret it) everyone wakes up, has coffee and breakfast couple get’s ready in separate rooms
  • 7:00 quiet and intimate moment for your first look
  • 8:00 all leave and head to the ceremony location
  • 8:30 arrive at the ceremony couple relaxes with coffee while friends set up ceremony décor
  • 9:00 ceremony time portraits by the lake pop some champagne!
  • 9:30 brunch and mimosas by the lake cut the wedding cake (or donuts)
  • 10:30 couple hike to the ledge overlooking the lake for portraits
  • 11:30 head down to the vehicles
  • 12:00 leave to meet the group at a local winery for a private wine tasting family + friends portraits at the vineyard
  • 2:00 leave winery and head to Airbnb
  • 2:30 arrive at Airbnb snacks/lunch first dance
  • 2:30 arrive at Airbnb snacks/lunch first dance
  • 4:00 sparkler photos of bride and groom kissing

Want to hire me for your wedding photography and have me help plan your wedding timeline?

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