for brides, photographers

February 26, 2019

Sample Wedding Day Timeline

Hello beautiful bride-to-be! I know you’re in the thick of wedding planning and something that personally felt a bit intimidating for me while planning my own wedding was figuring out all the details of our day-of timeline. In hopes to make your timeline planning less daunting, I wanted to share a sample timeline with you!

This sample includes 8-hours of coverage, a First Look, a 4:30pm ceremony start time, a 1-hour cocktail hour, and sunset during the summer months. Keep in mind that every wedding is different and your specific timeline may differ depending on travel time to locations, time of year, or unique situations.  If you’re a #monicabrownbride, I’ll work with you and your planner to customize this! If you’re working with a coordinator or planner, they will also be extremely helpful in this process! 

1:30-2:15 Bridal Details

I’ll photograph your bouquet, jewelry, invitation suite, something borrowed & blue, etc. I’ll also get images of you getting ready with your ladies (Drew will photograph the men if their getting ready location is close) during this time. Here’s a list of everything you could have ready for us when we arrive! 

2:15-2:45 Bridal Prep  

The time you get into gown & accessories! I recommend that the mother of the bride, mother of the groom, and all bridesmaids are dressed by this time so everyone looks nice for these images. If you and your bridesmaids are in robes, custom shirts, etc. we’ll take that photo around 2:00 so everyone can be dressed in time! We can also do a First Look with your bridesmaids during this time. Click here if you’d like to know more about your First Look options!

3:00 First Look with your groom

The one time of your day you’re alone with your groom & one of my favorite parts of the wedding day! I’ll pick out the location and make sure it’s secluded. Unless you let us know otherwise, we try to have this time ONLY for the bride and groom! We photograph your initial reactions then give you space to have some moments together, soaking everything in! You can take as much time as you want/need!! When you’re ready, we’ll move right into your portraits. 

3:15-3:30 Portraits

We’ll get some bride and groom individuals as well as many portraits of the two of you together! Many of these images will be the ones that hang over your mantel and will be all over your wedding Legacy Album!

Note: we can always come up with an ideal location ahead of time, but we’ll need to make the final decision on the day of depending on lighting. 

3:30-4:00 Bridal Party Portraits

Once we’ve taken plenty of pictures of the two of you, your friends will join in on the fun! We’ll do you & your ladies, your groom & his groomsmen, and full bridal party portraits during this time. Remember ladies should have their bouquets and gents have their boutonnieres on for this portion of the day! Here’s some examples of bridal party portraits and our approach. 

4:00-4:30 Rest & Retouch

As guests start arriving, you’ll be hiding so no one peeks. During this time I really encourage you to drink some water, have a snack, freshen up any makeup/hair/deodorant/etc. and sit down for a little bit. If either of your would like to have your bridal party pray over you, this will be the time we capture that. You’re ALMOST married!!! 

4:00-4:30 Ceremony & Reception Details

If the ceremony and reception are at the same location, we’ll shoot some untouched reception details before guests start laying down their purses and coats. If your ceremony and reception are at different locations, we recommend, if possible, having cocktail hour outside of the main reception area so we can still photograph the untouched details that you’ve worked so hard planning these past few months! 

4:30-5:15 Ceremony

The time has come! The MOST important part of your wedding day!! We’ve noticed that ceremonies usually last about 45 minutes, but we can easily make adjustments in your timeline if the ceremony is longer or shorter. 

5:15-5:30 Ceremony Exit

This is becoming more and more popular- especially bubbles and bird seed exits. We’ve seen in this instead of or in addition to sparkler/lantern exits at the end of the night! Here’s some recommendations on how to make the most of your exit! 

5:30-5:50 Family Portraits

It’s easiest on everyone if family portraits take place immediately after the ceremony because everyone is present. Before your big day, I’ll send you our pre-wedding questionnaire that covers the specific family shots you want and the ones that we recommend. I strongly suggest shooting these outdoors for the best lighting! 

5:50-6:00 Sneak in a few more Husband & Wife portraits!

Anytime you’ll let me sneak in more portraits of you two, I’ll take it!! 🙂 

6:00 Reception Begins!

Let the party get started! We’ll photograph your entrance and from there, our timeline becomes really flexible to go off of your DJ’s timeline. There are SO many”formality” options that you can do during this time! Here’s a common outline: Bridal party enters, prayer/blessing, dinner, toasts, first dance, father/daughter dance, mother/son dance, bouquet toss, garter toss, group picture on the dance floor (we LOVE this because it gets everyone out and makes an easy transition for dancing!), cake cutting, open dancing, then sparkler exit. At some point in there, depending on sunset, we’ll sneak away for a few husband & wife sunset portraits….

7:15-7:30 Sunset Portraits

This is were the terms “golden or magic hour” come to life! Theses always turn out to be some of my absolute FAVORITE images from the day. We will sneak you and your groom out for just a few minutes while the party is still going- its likely no one will even notice we’re gone!

9:30 Sparkler Exit

If you’d like your exit photographed, you have a few options! If you leave your reception early or purchase additional coverage, we will document the real exit with all your guests! Another options, that’s more common than you may think, is to do a faux exit with just your bridal party and immediate family. Similar to sunset portraits, we sneak out for a few minutes then everyone re-joins the party! This allows the party to keep goings strong and you can still get the sparkler images you’ve been dreaming of- it’s a win win! Here’s some recommendations on how to make the most of your exit and the exact sparklers I recommend! 

Wishing you the best as you continue to plan for your wedding & marriage!! If you have any questions at all, please feel free to email me at or leave a comment below.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *