I get a lot of questions about the schedule for a wedding day. When is the best time to do photos? When does the photographer need to be there? How can I make sure I have enough time on my wedding day for photos without feeling rushed and stressed out? So I’ve decided to write a blog post with an ideal schedule to help out. This is just an example of my typical wedding day. Most of my brides want to be relaxed on their wedding day and so they have the ceremony and the reception at the same location. They also do a first look and formals before the ceremony so that they have time to enjoy the party with their friends and family. Here is a typical 8 hour wedding timeline (from my perspective.)
- 2:00pm Photographers arrive. I go to the girls and photograph details (the dress, rings, shoes, veil, getting ready shots) and my second photographer gets the guys getting ready and hanging out.
- 3:30pm First look! Bride and Groom see each other for the first time.
- 3:45pm Family formals and Bridal Party pictures. Everyone is normally there and looking their best. I like to get these photos done right away so the family is available to deal with any last minute details and spend time with the guests when they arrive for the wedding.
- 4:00pm Portraits with just the Bride and Groom. This gives us the time to create beautiful portraits without feeling rushed. And your makeup is still fresh and looking great!
- 5:00pm Finished with portraits. Bride & Groom & bridal party are tucked away to relax before the ceremony. (Any groomsmen acting as ushers can head out to seat guests.) I head to the ceremony site to get photos of the guests as they arrive.
- 5:30pm Ceremony!
- 6:00pm Cocktail hour. This is my chance to get photos of your reception area before all the guests are let in.
- 7:00pm Reception Starts! Introduction and first dance.
- 7:30pm Dinner.
- 8:30pm Father/Daughter Mother/Son dances. Then the dance floor is opened to everyone!
- 9:15pm Cake Cutting (and bouquet/garter toss) Followed by more dancing.
- 10:00pm I say goodbye and hurry home to download all your photos!
This schedule is just a guideline. Obviously for some weddings it would need to be changed. If, for example, you were getting married in a church, you would have to factor in travel time, and it is likely that your wedding would be closer to an hour instead of a 20 minute ceremony which is typical with outdoor weddings.
Use this as a guideline for your day. And if you have any questions about your timeline feel free to ask. A good timeline is the key to a relaxed day and great photos!