THE "IDEAL" WEDDING DAY TIMELINE FOR PHOTOGRAPHY
An 8-hour photo timeline is the most common time-frame we have found to need. For us, this works best to ensure all the key moments of your wedding day are captured and no special moments are missed. Here is a rough draft and sample of an 8-hour wedding day with the ceremony starting at 5:30PM. This timeline can be adjusted accordingly but is a good starting point.
1:30 PM: Photographers and / or Videographer arrive for getting ready photos.
Capturing the details of the entire day help to tell the complete story of your wedding. I tell my brides to be in the finishing stages of hair and makeup when I arrive, but not in the dress yet. This is a great time to document the details that you are going to want to remember. These details include your dress, shoes, jewelry, and bouquet, and anything else that may be sentimental for you.
2:30 PM: Bride Gets Dressed
An hour might not seem like a lot but depending on your schedule you should be finishing getting ready around this time. Many brides request that I capture the moment of them getting into their dress while others ask me to come in after they are covered. Either way is fine, as this is just a matter of personal taste. If Mother of Bride (MOB) is around, it’s nice to have her witness and even help you get into the gown along with your bridesmaids.
2:30 PM: Groom and Groomsmen Final Preparation
On the groom’s side of things, the men should be finishing up getting dressed as well. I send over my 2nd photographer to take some fun shots of the guys getting ready. Guys have it easy… LOL!
3:00 PM: First Look (Optional)
This can be an emotional part of the day. Once the location is set up, the groom will be placed in position and the bride will surprise him. Usually this is just a moment between the bride and groom and the photographer or videographer on hand.
3:30 PM: Bride and Groom Portraits
During or after your first look, you may want to take some Bride and Groom portraits as well, after your photographer or videographer captures the moments of the first look. I will pick out a special location with nice lighting and help direct you to ensure you look your best for these fun and romantic photos.
3:45 PM: Family Photos and Wedding Party Photos
Once you have your first look and bride and groom portrait session, the rest of the family can join in on the fun. During this time, the rest of the wedding party will come in to take formal wedding photos with the bride and the groom. Make sure that everyone in the wedding party is on hand about 30 minutes before 4:00 so that time is not wasted scrambling to get everyone together. Bridesmaids should have their bouquets, groomsmen should have their boutonnieres, and if there are children in the wedding party, they should be ready as well.
4:30 PM: Ceremony Details and Candids as guests arrive
Ok now that the formals are out of the way, everyone has a few minutes to just relax, get a drink, and recompose themselves and get ready for the ceremony, while I take photos of the Ceremony location prior to guests' arrival. I make sure to focus on all the details you put so much effort into planning. As guests arrive, I will take photos of them.
5:30 PM: Ceremony
Get ready to get married! Here comes the bride! All eyes are on you as you walk down the aisle. This is perhaps the most special moment of the big day and I cover it from multiple perspectives. It’s always nice to see your expression as you are walking down the aisle with all eyes on you…but let’s not forget about your groom! I make sure to capture his reaction as well and these are some of my favorite photos from a wedding day.
6:00 PM: Family Photos and Cocktail Hour
Now that everyone is together, you can choose to take some extended family photos with other members of your family. Depending on how big your family is, there could be a huge line of family members wanting to get their picture taken with the couple. (I highly recommend making a list of must have family groupings, and share that with me, before your wedding day) For the other guests, there is usually a cocktail hour where refreshments and Hors d’oeuvre are being served. After the family photos are taken, the family can also get in on the cocktails and refreshments before going off to the reception venue. I give the B&G a choice here to either venture out and take more fun couples shots in nice sunset light or if they wish to enjoy the last half of their cocktail hour, they can.
6:30 PM: Reception File In
Around this time guests should be arriving at their reception spots and should begin filing into the area. There may be a sign-in sheet for guests to leave a note as well.
6:45 PM: Reception Begins
When the reception officially begins, some music may start being played and announcements or introductions of guests may begin.
7:00 PM: Grand Entrance
During this time, the wedding party will likely make their grand entrance, and the first dance will begin.
7:15 PM: Dinner is served
It helps us to eat whenever you eat. This way, we can make sure to capture all the special moments for you.
7:30 PM: Toasts
(Talk with your coordinator but doing toasts during salads is a great time saver!)
8:15 PM: Special Dances
During this time, whatever special dances you have planned for the night can ensue. This may include Father/Daughter, Mother/Son, etc.
8:30 PM: Open Dancing
9:00 PM: Cake Cutting
9:15 PM: Bouquet Toss and Garter Toss
9:30PM: Photographers Exit.
• Of course, not every wedding (or culture) can fit into this timeline and I certainly can customize a package to fit within your needs.