Crafting your wedding day timeline can be a tricky and overwhelming process, especially if you’ve never made one before and are unsure of what to expect. Every wedding day timeline is going to look different based on a variety of factors. Couples have to take into consideration the season/sunset times, amount of travel locations, and whether or not to stick with tradition or commit to doing a first look.
Brides, take a deep breath with me!
The blocks of time allocated for the photography portions of the day will generally stay the same from timeline to timeline (the way we divide the time might change, but the total amount of time likely will not). I always suggest the timings below for the photography portions of the day when I’m creating wedding day timelines for my couples:
- 1.5 hours for detail / getting ready photos
- 15 minutes for the first look
- 30 minutes for bride & groom portraits
- 45 minutes for bridal party photos (15 min for bride w/ bridesmaids, 15 min for groom w/groomsmen, 15 min for full bridal party)
- 30 minutes for immediate family photos
- 5-10 minutes for sunset/night portraits
While every couples wedding day timeline is going to be unique, I think it’s helpful to see a visual! Below is an example of a first look timeline from a photographers perspective:
First Look Timeline
- 1:00 pm-2:30 pm: Getting Ready
- 2:30 pm-2:45 pm: First Look
- 2:45 pm-3:15 pm: Bride/Groom Portraits
- 3:15 pm-4:00 pm: Bridal Party Portraits
- 4:00 pm-4:30 pm: Family Photos
- 4:30pm – 5:00pm: Bride & Groom Rest Before Ceremony
- 5:00 pm-5:30 pm: Ceremony
- 5:30 pm-6:30 pm: Cocktail Hour
- 6:30 pm-10 pm: Reception
Have any of my couples used the full 15 minutes for their first look? Honestly, no. They’re usually ready for bride & groom portraits after only a minute or two! While the length of the time blocks above might seem excessive, I can assure you that wedding days are somewhat unpredictable and not everything will go as planned. This is why scheduling buffer time is so important! Anticipate the unexpected while drafting your timeline and always allow for more time than you think that you’ll need. This way, if hair/makeup runs a little longer than planned, we’ll still have some wiggle room to work with that’ll help us stay on schedule.