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Creating a Wedding Photography Timeline: A Step-by-Step Guide

The wedding planning process involves a myriad of details, and ensuring your special day runs smoothly and is captured perfectly requires a well-thought-out wedding photography timeline. This guide will help you understand how to structure your wedding day, detailing when and where photos will be taken. With years of photography experience under my belt, I've witnessed many successful weddings due to organized timelines, but I've also seen moments fall apart due to a lack of planning.

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Why is the Wedding Photography Timeline so Important?

  1. Efficiency: With a detailed timeline, your photographer can move efficiently from one photo opportunity to the next, ensuring no important moments are missed.

  2. Organization: A timeline helps keep everyone on the same page, from the vendors and the wedding party to family members, reducing stress and confusion.

  3. Optimal Lighting: Scheduling photos at the right times optimizes the best natural lighting, making your photos look stunning.

  4. Peace of Mind: Knowing there’s a plan in place allows you to relax and enjoy your day, confident that every moment will be captured beautifully.




Sample Wedding Photography Timeline

Here’s a sample timeline for a typical summer wedding day where the couples choose to do the first look:


1 PM - Groom and Groomsmen Getting Ready

  • 1:00-2:15 PM: I start the day with the groom and groomsmen to release their pressure on the photos so they can enjoy the rest of the afternoon together without interruptions. Details, suit, boutonniere, perfume.

2:30 PM – Bridal Details

  • 2:30-3:15 PM: Capture photos of the bride’s dress, shoes, jewelry, invitations, and other important details.

3:15 PM – Bridal Prep

  • 3:15-3:45 PM: Take photos of the bride getting ready, along with candid moments of the bridesmaids.

4:00 PM – First Look

  • 4:00 PM: A private moment between the bride and groom, capturing their first reactions.

4:15 PM – Portraits

  • 4:15-4:45 PM: Romantic portraits of the bride and groom together.

4:50 PM – Bridal Party Portraits

  • 4:50-5:20 PM: Group shots of the bridal party, including both separate and combined photos of the bridesmaids and groomsmen.

5:30 PM – Bride in Hiding

  • 5:30-6:00 PM: Bride hides from early guests while ushers begin their duties.

6:00 PM – Ceremony

  • 6:00-6:30 PM: Capture the full ceremony, including the processional, vows, ring exchange, and recessional.

6:40 PM – Family Portraits

  • 6:40-7:10 PM: Family formals with immediate and extended family members.

7:15 PM – Just-Married Portraits

  • 7:15-7:30 PM: Capture portraits of the newlyweds, taking advantage of the golden hour lighting.

7:30 PM – Reception Begins

  • 7:30 PM: Capture the bridal party’s grand entrance, then all the reception events.

10:45 PM – The Exit

  • 10:30 PM: Photograph the couple’s grand exit, such as a sparkler send-off or other special exit moments.


Approximate Times

  • Details & Prep: 2.5 hours

  • First Look & Portraits: 30-40 mins

  • Bridal Party: 30-40 mins

  • Family Formals: 20-30 mins

  • Extra Portrait Time: As much as possible

wedding photography

Tips for Working with Your Wedding Planner

  1. Collaborate Early: Meet with your wedding planner and photographer early in the planning process to create a detailed timeline.

  2. Be Flexible: Allow some buffer time between events to accommodate any delays.

  3. Communicate Clearly: Ensure everyone involved in the wedding is aware of the timeline, including family members and the bridal party.

  4. Prioritize Key Moments: Discuss with your photographer and planner which moments are most important to you, so they receive special attention.

  5. Review the Timeline: Go over the final timeline with your photographer and planner a week before the wedding to confirm all details.




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