Tips | Helpful Stuff

Building Your Wedding Timeline

I have drafted up these timelines in order to help couples plan their weddings! This advice and timeline tips should be taken with a grain of salt, as every wedding is unique and there is no right way of doing anything.  I ALWAYS encourage couples to invest in a wedding planner. It will take of a load of emotional and physical stress from your day. You can always opt for month of coordination, you’ll be surprised how helpful having a planner will be, and how much more you’ll be able to enjoy and live in the moment. For now, here are some tips and ideas to plan your wedding day timeline from the perspective of the photographer. My aim is to help you plan a naturally flowing wedding day that encourages you to enjoy every moment, so that your photographs can represent the joy you felt in those moments.

Getting Ready

Generally 1 hour is needed. Speak to your photographer/videographer to ensure this is enough time for them. To save on time, have everything ready and out to be photographed. Try to designate a spot to keep the clutter, so that the space you’ll be getting ready in is clutter free! If your fiancé is getting ready at another location you may want to look into hiring a second photographer.


30 minutes in length. I specialize in non-traditional, non-religious weddings, not by choice, this is just the type of client I have attracted. I encourage you to speak with your officiant about the length of the ceremony including any specific rituals that may add more time. Always let your photographer know about these ahead of time, to be sure to capture these moments.

First Look

 Otherwise known as ‘the reveal’ is when the bride groom sees the bride before the ceremony. This is usually a private and intimate moment that happens very quickly and is becoming the norm for most weddings. Do you plan to have your family and bridal party witness this or prefer for it to be private? First Looks generally happen earlier in the day, so keep in mind that the location you pick should be in the shade and in a private place. Also keep in mind to have it away from where your guests/family may see you. The last thing you want during this private moment is to have a stream of guests driving by and stopping to takes pictures too!

Family Photos

Be sure to let your family know ahead of time where and when they need to be. I always encourage my clients to send me a list of names for family photos, this way I am not just yelling “mom, dad, grandpa” but actually calling them by their names and getting to know them. Also, I always recommend to get family photos right after the ceremony. I find this is the best time to capture really happy posed portraits, but also very lovely candid photos as your family are glowing with joy almost as much as you. And this makes amazing portraits that you’ll cherish forever.

Cocktail Hour

Some couples see the cocktail hour is an important part of the day that they want to be apart of. And I find many of my couples prefer this! I always work with them to plan photos around getting to be apart of the cocktail hour because this is a special time where you get to see and mingle with your guests. It’s also a great candid photography opportunity for your photographer to capture happy and lovely moments as you share in a joyful exchange with your guests. You may not need to be there for the full hour, but it’s definitely it a great idea to spend some time at the cocktail, rehydrate, wet your whistle and enjoy the hor’deorves you spent so much money on.

Tips for Reception

It comes down to personal preference but here are some tips from my experience. Have speeches during each course of the meal. It’s a good time when people are sitting down and more likely to listen and be able to hear clearly. This is especially important as the bride and groom/ bride & bride/ groom & groom will be present in the room and won’t miss it.


 Google the date of your wedding and find out what time the sun sets. This is one of the best times to sneak out of your wedding and capture some really beautiful portraits and get to spend a private moment together. Let you photographer/planner know that you’d like to do this, and leave a gap of atleast 10-15 minutes in between dinner/speeches.

Traveling to locations

 Check ahead of time to make sure that roads are cleared. Especially during the summer when there are many events going on and roads may be closed. Always give yourself a buffer time in between traveling to locations, this will help keep the stress away in case you sit in traffic! Also keep in mind that the more you travel around, the more parking you need to find. If you are having a chauffeur drive you around, that’s awesome, but keep in mind your photographer will still need to find parking and this can take away from your photo time.


 For the photographer this is the most important part in capturing your photos. Great lighting makes capturing great moments all that more special. In order for me capture great photos, I need great light, and then I can capture you in all your glory. Keep in what the light looks like throughout your wedding. What time is the sunset? How bright will it be during the ceremony? Will the reception be filled with candlelight? Are you doing your first look in the middle of an open field during the brightest time of the day? For each part of your day, ask yourself, what does the light look like? I meet with all of my clients beforehand to build a photo timeline (just like the ones attached). During this time, I let my clients know what to expect with the light!

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