How to plan the perfect Wedding Day Timeline

May 30, 2017

Our Suggested Timeline for your Wedding Day | 8 hour wedding day

First, this is only a guide to let you know how long things take. You DO NOT have to plan for everything – if you don’t want getting ready photos, don’t do them! This is just a guide to help you plan an efficient and non-stressful wedding timeline.

When should your Photographer arrive?

To determine when your photographer should arrive, first you must decide a few things.

  • Do you want to getting ready photos?
    • These are perfect moments to get sweet moments of your Mom, Sister, Best Friend helping you with the final details. Then, putting on the dress of your dreams to walk down the aisle to the love of your life – these moments are beautiful candid ones you will treasure. Also, a great time for a group photo before putting on the dresses and tuxes – fun final cheers before I DO.
      • takes about 15-20 minutes
  • Do you want photos of the dress, shoes, jewelry, and such before putting them on?
    • These are great for telling the story of the day while telling the story of your wedding day to your children, grandchildren, nieces, or nephews.
      • takes about 15-20 minutes
  • Do you want to do a first look?
  • Do you want to do wedding party & family photos first?
    • If you do the first look – it’s the perfect time to get the family & wedding photos out of the way.
      • family photos take 30 minutes
      • wedding party photos also take 15-20 minutes
  • Do you want to do a receiving line?
    • This is where you say thank you for coming to everyone after you walk back down the aisle.
      • this can take anywhere to 30-45+ minutes (depends on my guests there are)

Below you will find the timeline I suggest (with buffers) with all of the above.

12PM – photography starts (the photographer will gather all the details to be photographed, photograph the ceremony site if it’s set up, and candids of family and wedding party)

1PM – Get dressed

130PM – first look & a few photos of the couple

2PM – wedding party photos

245PM– family photos

330PM – we leave the couple and wedding party to finish up final details while we photograph the guests and ceremony site

4PM – ceremony starts (30-minute ceremony)

430PM – receiving line with 150 people

5PM – (cocktail hour starts) more wedding party photos off-site that are less traditional, along with some couple photos. We do this because you are both wearing your rings – and your faces glow with newlywed bliss!

530PM – photographers arrive early to photograph the venue before the guests touch everything if possible.

6PM – dinner (the photographer will photograph speeches and candids of guests)

  • we try to steal our couples for a few photos at sunset. During this time, we always suggest the couple take a few moments to take in the day.

730PM – dances

8PM – photography ends

Buffers explained

As I said, this had a few buffers – family photos before the ceremony can take a little longer due to some family members running a little late. Or the day runs a little behind – which is totally normal. Buffers could also travel time from getting ready first to look location, ceremony location, and reception location.

Do not be afraid to have a little time with the wedding party before going to the reception. I suggest not going too long – as your wedding party shouldn’t show up drunk to the reception. I understand wanting to celebrate and have fun, but you don’t want to leave your guests waiting too long.