August 13, 2021
If you are in the midst of planning a wedding, or you are already married, you know that the wedding planning process is a stressful one! Coming up with the timeline of your wedding day takes a lot of strategizing and thinking ahead.
As a bride or groom, it isn’t necessarily your responsibility to create your photo timeline, but it is your responsibility to discuss with your photographer what you want the day to generally look like as far as wedding photography goes. Do you want a relaxed, slow-paced day with lots of time set aside for photos? Or do you want to get the photos done quickly so that you can move on to the party and get your drink on! Wedding days come in all shapes and sizes, so having a clear vision of what you want is crucial when talking to your photographer about your timeline.
Your timeline can usually go one of two ways, depending on whether you do a first look or not. Here’s what they would look like if I were your photographer:
Dear panicked bride,
Take a few deep breaths. Relax. It’s all good up in this wedding planning chaos. I gotchu. This post is all about your wedding day timeline! I’m the expert in this situation, and you should not be planning and editing and reediting and changing a timeline you found off Pinterest in a Google doc. This is your first wedding, but not mine, and I’m here to help and create a timeline specifically for you and your wedding day. Below is an overview of what an average wedding day timeline looks like. I hope it gives you some confidence and helps you see how everything will fit together.
Your day will likely start with hair and makeup. As your wedding photographer, I will arrive about 3 hours before your ceremony. You are likely either already hair and makeup ready or just finishing up. I shoot your wedding day details, as well as candids around the bridal suite. Then comes the fun part! It’s time to get into your wedding dress.
Once your dress, shoes, and jewelry are on, we can do one of two things. Either we take bridesmaids’ photos and then go into your first look, or we go straight into your first look. After the first look wedding photos, we then move on to bridal party and family photos. Sometimes I will take a divide and conqueror approach with my second shooter and I will capture the bridesmaids while my second shooter captures the groomsmen, and the same goes for family photos!
During the ceremony, all the important moments are captured, including the first look (if the first look occurs during the ceremony), the bride walking down the aisle, the vows, the first kiss, and of course the emotional family and friend reactions to it all. When the ceremony is over, we capture any remaining family photos on our list, take even more bride and groom photos (if it’s an early sunset), or you can go and enjoy some or most of your cocktail hour instead. Remember, this day should be tailored to YOU and your wants and needs.
A lot of couples believe you can’t go to your cocktail hour because then that means you can’t have a grand entrance, well take it from me… YOU CAN! You can do whatever you want! You’re the ones paying for all this amazing food and drink, YOU SHOULD ENJOY IT TOO!! And more importantly, you should be going and having fun with your guests. The day goes by so fast, take every moment you can to be with the people you’ve invited.
Once the reception begins, I take more of a documentary-style approach to taking photos. I love to capture the events as they unfold. I capture all the couples and families at each table, I’m scarfing down my dinner all the while, and then I’m back at it for the toasts, dances, and cake cutting… and the open dance floor of course!
What’s so important to remember is that this is just a general timeline for what most weddings look like. Of course, every couple has different needs and wants. I love curating a timeline specifically for my couples and the unique day that they have always dreamed of.