Bridal Tips: Wedding Day Timeline


So here’s the truth, memorable weddings don’t just happen. I would love to work with you in creating the perfect wedding day timeline that is customized to fit your needs. While every wedding is unique and different, here below are wedding photography timelines, tips, and a general guideline for planning.

6 Hour Wedding Collection

30 Minutes Groom Getting Ready
1 Hour Bride Getting Ready
30 Minute Pre-Ceremony & Reception
30 Minute Ceremony
1 Hour Formal Portraits
30 Minute Reception Entrance
1 Hour Dining (30 Minutes Meet & Greets)
1 Hour Reception

8 Hour Wedding Collection

30 Minutes Groom Getting Ready
1 Hour Bride Getting Ready
30 Minute First Look
30 Minute Pre-Ceremony & Reception
30 Minute Ceremony
1 Hour Formal Portraits
30 Minute Reception Entrance
1 Hour Dining (30 Minute Meet & Greets)
2 Hour Reception

Wedding Day Timeline

For this month’s edition of Bridal Tips, we wanted to chat about timelines and how they affect your overall day.  A well thought out timeline will make all the difference from keeping the ceremony time on track to ensuring dinner is brought out in time.

Every wedding is different, so a few things might vary from the recommendations below.  Just keep that in mind when preparing the timeline for your big day.  So let’s dive in with the start of your wedding day…

  • Hair and Makeup – hair and makeup starts off your day and truly will play a huge factor in the amount of ‘getting ready’ and ‘bridal portrait’ pictures you will have time to take.  Ensure you schedule your hair and makeup to end one hour before our arrival just in case they go over.  Makeup and hair artists recommend in general a four to five hour window for a bride with four bridesmaids having both their hair and makeup completed with the inclusion of two artists.
  • Bridal Portraits and Getting Ready – we recommend no less than one hour to allow for fully capturing final makeup touch ups, robe shots, getting in the dress with mom zipping you up, a few shots with your girls, and of course putting on your details.  Consider adding on additional time for a bridesmaid reveal, daddy daughter first look, or anything else special and unique.
  • Groom Portraits and Getting Ready – let me just start by saying that guys are the fastest dressers EVER!  I have had multiple weddings with 10+ groomsmen that have gotten dressed in under 5 minutes – pretty sure a few of them have broken Guinness World Records.  We recommend 30 minutes to an hour with our groom’s party depending on the types of shots they would like, such as getting ready with the add on of additional time if having drinks at the bar or playing cards.
  • First Look – I am a little non-traditional when it comes to budgeting time for the first look and recommend 30 minutes.  To me, it is more than just the photos – it is a moment to be remembered.  You are seeing one another for the first time and should not be rushed to take pictures and immediately go back to your bridal rooms.  On average, our groom may take about 5-7 minutes to place if we are walking outside, our bride walking out is around 5-7 minutes, seeing one another and enjoying the moment is about 16-20 minutes.  We let our couples notion to us when they are ready for a few ‘pre-newlywed shots’ after capturing their first look so that they can soak in the moment together uninterrupted.
  • Set Up – a 30 minute set up/cushion period is a must and allows for ensuring we can capture your room decor and ceremony prior to guests arrival, along with testing our lighting before you come down the aisle.  For about 90% of our weddings, the set up period is condensed down to 15 minutes due to hair and makeup running behind.  This little cushion period has definitely saved many timelines from going too far behind.
  • Ceremony – from 30 minutes to 1.5 hours, your ceremony time will greatly vary depending on the type of ceremony you are having.  Make sure you reach out to your pastor, officiant, rabbi, or marrying party to ask how long they believe your ceremony will take.
  • Formal Portraits – while the standard is one hour, we have seen an increase in wedding party size and may recommend an hour and 15 minutes.  When figuring out roughly how much time you would need, think about how large your family and wedding party is, and how much time you want for the two of you.
  • Reception Entrance – the forgotten segment of every timeline!  DJs recommend roughly 30 minutes to incorporate all of the ‘check list items’ that take place before dinner, along with the events leading up to them including: bustling the dress, lining up, being announced in, first dance, father daughter dance, mother son dance, toasts, and blessings.
  • Dining – one hour is a must to allow for enough time for guests to grab a plate or be served and have time to finish eating.  About half way through dining we love doing ‘meet and greets’ with our couples as well.
  • Reception – roughly one to two hours, the reception may include dancing, bouquet toss, garter toss, and a special last dance or in the case of my sweethearts Morgan and Tyler, a choreographed Backstreet Boys tribute to Morgan by her hubby Tyler and his groomsmen!
  • Send Off – whether it is bubbles or sparklers, roughly 15 minutes is needed to line guests up and send off our sweethearts!
Ps. Don’t forget to factor in drive time between venues!

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