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Wedding Wednesday

Wedding Wednesday: Creating Your Wedding Day Timeline

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Making sure you have your wedding day timeline well laid out before your magical day, is probably one of the most important things you can do. I wholeheartedly believe in the power of a wedding planner when it comes to this part of your day! However, if you are creating your wedding day timeline on your own, you will definitely want to keep reading. Below I will be sharing some professional tips and tricks to make your wedding day timeline run smoothly!


I get it, most of you have never been married before or planned a wedding day timeline! So where do you even begin?! I got you sister, friend! Here are some quick and easy tips for creating your wedding day timeline.

  • START FROM SCRATCH – Doing a quick copy and paste of a timeline will not work. Each wedding day has a different set of factors to be accounted for; so what worked for your bestie, will not necessarily work for you!

  • ADD AN EXTRA 30 MINUTE BUFFER FOR HAIR & MAKEUP – However, long you think it will take, I promise it will take longer! (totally not dissing on my hair and makeup sisters; not at all!) There are so many factors that play into this. Maybe mom and maid of honor get tied up BTS, a bridesmaid shows up late, you girls get wrapped up in the emotion of the morning (or mimosas) LOL either way 9/10 times we are ALWAYS running behind during the getting ready portion of the day. SO, just start 20-30 minutes earlier than you THINK you need to.

  • TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION ANY DRIVE TIME – This is pretty self explanatory, but DO NOT forget it! This also goes for any “walk time” or “golf cart drive time”. If its going to take you 5 minutes to get to your first look from your bridal suite, account for it sister friend!

  • ACCOUNT FOR ANY SPECIAL “EXTRAS” – If you want time for photos opening gifts, popping a bottle of champs with the girls, first looks etc; make sure you account for it!

  • DO NOT FORGET GOLDEN HOUR – More times than not, it is NOT golden hour during your cocktail hour. While you can get a lot of photos done during your cocktail hour; PLEASE set aside 10-15 minutes of your evening to sneak off at golden hour to get those epic portraits. You WON’T regret it!!! Most of our couples allot for this time after they are done eating (while their guest are finishing up eating) most times, no one even notices they are gone.

  • SHARE YOUR TIMELINE WITH EVERYONE – Seriously, EVERYONE. Every vendor, every bridesmaid/groomsman, every important family member etc. It sets the mood for you have a game plan and there will be no “winging it”. If everyone knows your expectations of the day; they are far more likely to follow them.


Now, ya’ll knew I couldn’t write a timeline blog without telling you how to make it photography friendly; right?! I’m going to break it down for you on exactly how much time we need to each portion of the day. Keep in mind, Chris and I work extremely quickly on wedding days to maximize the time you get enjoying your day! So, you may want to double check with your photographer and ask what their time allotment is, because again, this is not one size fits all.

Bridal Details 30-45 Minutes

I can typically shoot these nearby the getting ready area to make sure I am getting photos of the girls getting ready at the same time. If that is the case I typically only need 30 minutes. But, I always prepare for the worse and request at least 45 minutes for details.

Getting you into your dress! – 30-45 Minutes

This part of the day can get tricky! Sometimes it only takes 5 minutes, others it takes 45! So I always have a buffer here. This also is usually where we can make up any lost time if we happen to get behind during hair and makeup. And if we DON’T need the extra time, its just extra pictures of you in your pretty dress…. and you can never go wrong with that!

Bridal Party Portraits – 20-30 Minutes

Of course this will vary on the size of your bridal party! But we personally try to get through these as quickly as possible; because we know – your bridal party is there to PARTY. We personally capture just the bridesmaids, just the groomsmen, individuals with the Bride and Groom, and of course the fun group shots!

Family Formals – 30 Minutes

This can easily turn into one of the most craziest parts of the day as far as photography is considered! We recommend having 30 minutes set aside for this part of your day, BUT not at the expense of your bride and groom portraits. If you want more tips for organized family formals, you can check out our wedding Wednesday post over here!

Bride & Groom Portraits – 30 Minutes

Now, I discussed making 10-15 minutes for golden hour previously. And I still stand by that wholeheartedly. I absolutely LOVE having 15 minutes before the ceremony during your first look and 15 minutes after your ceremony for portraits. BUT, I am a realist and know that is not always possible. So ideally, 45 minutes total would make for the best portraits. Not to toot our own horn (TOOT, TOOT). I am not kidding when I tell you Chris and I have only had 10 minutes TOTAL and still delivered some amazing bride and groom portraits. So do not stress if your timeline does not allow for 45 minutes throughout your wedding day for bride and groom photos.

Reception / Ceremony Details – 20 Minutes

Having a full 20-30 minutes to capture all the details you’ve spent MONTHS planning would be my dream scenario. However, if we only get 10 minutes; we will still rock it out for you sister friend!


Here are some sample timelines for different wedding day situations! I always like to provide our couples with this information so they understand the ins and outs of building a photography friendly timeline.

5:30 Ceremony : After daylight savings WITH FIRST LOOK – Sunset around 8pm

1:30 Charolette begins with details & getting ready (Chris is with the guys!)
2:30 Dress on!
3:15 First Look & Portraits
4:00 Bridal Party Portraits
4:30-4:45ish Have Chris photograph untouched ceremony before guests arrive
5:00 Bride in hiding (Photograph reception details if at same location)
5:30 Ceremony
6:00 Family Formals
6:30 A few portraits of the newlyweds if the light is pretty! (If not, they can join cocktail hour!)
7:00 Introductions
7:30 Sunset Portraits (15-20mins) during dinner
9:30 Contracted coverage ends

5:30 Ceremony : After daylight savings WITHOUT First look – Sunset around 8pm

3:00 Charolette begins with details & getting ready (Chris is with the guys!)
4:00 Bride in her dress!
4:30 Bridesmaids portraits/Groomsmen Portraits in separate locations if possible
4:30-4:45ish Have Chris photograph untouched ceremony before guests arrive
5:00 Bride in hiding (Photograph reception details if at same location)
5:30 Ceremony
6:00 Family Formals (Limited amount due to lack of time)
6:20 Quick & efficient Bridal Party Portraits
6:40 As many Bride and Groom Portraits as we can fit into 20mins!
7:00 Introductions
7:30 Sunset Portraits (15-20mins) during dinner
11:00 Contracted coverage ends 


There you have it friends! I hope this Wedding Wednesday post was helpful in planning your special day! Creating your wedding day timeline can definitely seem overwhelming. But, I am hopeful with this breakdown you feel less overwhelmed and ready to take on this daunting task!

**REMEMBER, if this task still feels overwhelming; reach out to a wedding day planner! They are so beneficial and well worth the investment for a stress free wedding planning experience. One of our central valley recommended planners is Breanna with Planning Pretty! Go check her out, she does amazing work!!

Until next Wedding Wednesday my sweet friends.



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