I’m known for capturing those didn’t-know-you-were-there shots and busting a move on the dance floor just to get those perfect candids. I also work with you to ensure we incorporate your style and story into your engagement and wedding photos!
Overwhelmed by creating a wedding day timeline? Need some examples from someone who’s been in the game for over 6 years? Don’t worry, I got you! This blog post is all about sharing some wedding day timeline examples and some info on how to create your timeline specifically for your unique day 🙂
For every couple I have the pleasure of documenting their wedding day, I always help with building a custom timeline for them. I just love organizing everything they had in mind for their wedding and it helps us all be on the same page. Depending on how many hours you have your wedding photographer there for to capture everything, I wanted to share some timeline examples that I actually send to my couples in my Welcome Guide to help get an idea for what a typical 6-hour and 8-hour wedding day timeline looks like.
So! Today, I wanted to share those with you all so you, too, can have some guidance! Are you ready? Let’s do this!
Alright, so first, here are some basic examples of timelines I use as a good reference tool to help organize everything you want to do on your big day. After these timelines, I’ll go into more detail on each part of the basic timeline.
Here are some 8-hour example timelines:
Here are some 6-hour example timelines:
Now let’s dive more into each part of the timeline:
Most photographers are going to encourage you to have a first look (hey, that’s me!) but its totally not required. You can wait to have your ‘first look’ down the aisle. Yes, it’s easier to have your first look before the ceremony, then wedding party photos, and then family pictures. I usually allow at least 1.5 hours before the ceremony to complete all of this. A family member or bridesmaid/ groomsmen is usually running a little behind so this amount of time leaves enough wiggle room to do it all and have some chill time before the ceremony. Depending on the amount of photos, an hour is plenty of time for everything.
But ultimately, if you don’t want to do a first look, thats totally okay. As long as you’re open to doing those portraits during your cocktail hour, we can make it all happen.
*Please note your sunset time! For example, if your ceremony is at 5pm but sunset is at 6pm (like in late fall or winter weddings), I really insist on a first look. If we run out of natural light before we are done with your portraits, that’s a huge problem! Then we have to do them inside and set up flash and honestly that’s not very pretty or interesting visually at all.
So if you’re planning on a first look, I count those as couple photos, too, because right after your first look, I like to take some of just you two while you’re got the first look tingles. It’s fun! So I usually allow about 15-20 minutes after the first look, and then about 20-25 minutes for Golden Hour Photos. That’s when I can steal you two away from the reception, give you two a break to relax and breathe, and then chase that PNW light!! We’ll get some more bridal portraits that are covered with the golden hour light. SO good!
So this tends to be one of the most stressful parts of the day- but I’m here to help de-stress it all!
I highly recommend making a shot list of all possible immediate family formal portraits you’d want before or after the ceremony. You can always have a separate requests for a shot with extended family during the reception, but try to keep it to immediate so we don’t take hours photographing every possible combination.
I recommend also to have someone in the bridal party or family who knows everyone who needs to be in the family portraits to help rangle everyone together to make the process even smoother. I’m not familiar with everyone so having someone else on standby really helps.
Depending on how many combinations of immediate family members you’d like, usually family photos take about 30-40 minuets if everyone is ready to go. Sometimes it takes a while to either find someone, rangle everyone, but no worries, we’ll get it all throughout the night!
Depending on how big your wedding party is, I recommend about 20-30 minutes for the wedding party photos. If kids are involved like your ring bearers or flower girls, sometimes they don’t want to corporate, so a bit of time to organize everyone and have some fun with poses as a group is recommended. If you aren’t doing a first look, we will do each side separately before the ceremony and then the whole group together after the ceremony.
A great tool to help with planning, I’ve learned, is The Knot Wedding Planning App. It’s easy to use, recommends what to get done when according to your wedding date, and more. It’s awesome! I used it for my wedding planning and it was super helpful! Check it out here.
So I hope that helps overall with thinking about your wedding day timeline! There are so many elements that play a part in creating a custom timeline that works for your unique day, so I highly recommend checking in with your wedding planner or your wedding photographer to create something specifically for you 🙂
Happy planning! Cheers!