Sample wedding photography timelines

A well thought out photography timeline is one of our primary tools for success on your wedding day. Here’s how we make that happen along with a few sample timelines to give you an idea of what your day might look like!

Our overall mission as your photographers

Our overall mission is to make beautiful, meaningful photographs that celebrate you, your people, and the magic of the mountains in the most fun, stress-free way possible. It all starts with an organized timeline.

Pre-wedding prep

Two months prior to your wedding I’ll send you our questionnaire to complete. When I get that back from you, I have all the information we need in order to serve the two of you, and your friends & family, to our very best ability. The details you provide will inform us where we need to be, what all you want from your photography, what’s most important to you that day, and what your family dynamics are like. With that, I’m able to put together a timeline that can accommodate all of the above.

All the factors that shape your photography timeline

  • How many hours of photography coverage you booked. (You can always add more)
  • The locations of your ceremony & reception, as well as where you’re getting ready.
  • Whether you will or will not be doing a First Look. (Read more about why our couples love doing this)
  • The size of your family and wedding party and how many different groups you’d like photographed.
  • How much time you’d like to spend on portraits of just the two of you.

While these factors will change a timeline, our timelines are often quite similar. Similar enough that I’d love to share two of our most common timelines to give you an idea of what photography might look like on your wedding day.

*These sample timelines are for weddings with a ceremony and reception taking place at the same location.

Sample photography timeline: with a First Look

1:30 Getting ready photos

2:30 Transport to wedding venue

3:00 First Look & Couples portraits

3:30 Wedding party photos

3:50 Immediate family photos

4:15 Portraits conclude, guests begin arriving, Bride tucks away to freshen up

5:00 Ceremony

5:30 Cocktail hour + any requested extended family photos

6:30 Introduction + Welcome speech + Dinner

8:15 Speeches + First Dance

9:30 Photography coverage concludes

8 hours of photography coverage

Sample photography timeline: without a First Look

1:30 Getting ready photos

3:00 Transport to wedding venue

3:30 Photos of: Bride & Bridesmaids, Bride & immediate family

3:50 Photos of: Groom & Groomsmen, Groom & immediate family

4:15 Guests begin arriving

5:00 Ceremony

5:30 Family photos

5:50 Group wedding party photos

6:00 Couples portraits

6:30 Introduction + Welcome speech + Dinner

8:15 Speeches + First Dance

9:30 Photography coverage concludes

8 hours of photography coverage

A few timeline tips to avoid surprises on your wedding day…

Add buffer time to your timeline. Because timelines rarely go exactly as planned, it’s really nice knowing that you planned some extra time for the unexpected. I always plan for family photos and wedding party photos to take more time than I think I need, just in case. You never know when diapers need changing, seams need mending, flowers need pinning, or wandering family members need wrangling.

Always always add buffer time when moving locations. If it takes 15 minutes to get from your hotel to your wedding venue, plan on 30 minutes to get from door to door. Getting your entire group ready and out the door is always a process that is much more involved than getting around on an ordinary day. To avoid being in a rush, plan ample time to move from place to place.

Plan on 45 minutes of down time before your ceremony. This is when guests begin arriving and most brides I know prefer to be out of sight at this time. Because of that, I always try to wrap up portraits before guests arrive. This is a great opportunity to freshen up, hydrate, have a snack, and enjoy sitting down before the festivities get under way.

Consider the little things. Things like signing your marriage license and bustling your dress can add up. For couples that have chosen to not see each other prior to their ceremony, I think it’s best to assume you won’t be joining cocktail hour. Completing couples portraits, family photos, wedding party photos, marriage license signing and dress bustling will easily span the length of cocktail hour.

I hope this helps give you some insight in to what your photography timeline might look like. Keep in mind, there are so many other moving parts beyond photography. Hair & Makeup stylists, florists, musicians, caterers, and more will all have their own timelines that need to be incorporated in the overarching timeline of your day. This is where wedding planners come in and can be absolutely invaluable. They’re kind of like a conductor of an orchestra, allowing all of us vendors to achieve our individual goals while working together in perfect harmony.

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