Tips for Creating A Wedding Timeline!

Planning your dream wedding and struggling with creating a wedding timeline? Between family members asking when dinner is and figuring out where to put family photos, it gets overwhelming! And don't forget when hair and makeup should be done by!


Trust me… I’ve been there! It is my goal to help you know why timelines are important, how much time to leave for wedding photos. Additionally, I'm going to give you all of my tips to alleviate any stressors that might come up around timelines. The key to creating a wedding timeline that runs smoothly is planning ahead! Breaking down the entire day in an organized way helps keep everyone on track and allows for optimal photos. But remember, every wedding is unique and one timeline doesn't fit all! However, there are some general tips that can apply to all!


Why make a timeline?

Your timeline is helpful for not just your wedding vendors, but your wedding party and guests as well. Knowing where to go and when to be there for your moments is important to ensure that your day runs smoothly! Not to mention, you can enjoy your day naturally and not have to answer as many questions. Providing your timeline to your guests and wedding party helps keep everyone on track so they know when to be ready for photos and important moments like your ceremony! Creating a wedding timeline helps your vendors stay informed so that we can collaborate with one another to ensure everything is running as planned.


Having a well planned timeline helps ensure you have more time with guests! Your closest friends and family have traveled near and far to celebrate your marriage and they will want to spend as much time as they can with you. Not to mention a well planned timeline ensures you can have time to eat a meal! Need I say more?! Having a seamless timeline also allows for you to enjoy your time during your photos. Not having to be in a time crunch allows for more natural candid moments with you and your partner. These can be some of your most cherished memories.



What not to do

"You only get to do this once" is a popular quote you may have heard. Therefore, let's make it right! While creating a wedding timeline be cautious to not put events too close together. Factor in wiggle room in case someone is running late and to avoid exhaustion. This also helps alleviate stress in case you happen to be in a time crunch. Many people may influence your decisions for your wedding day. I highly advocate that you stay true to who you are! If you don't structure your day off of your interests, you may feel burnt out.



Don't schedule photos for midday!

Please consider the time of the day for your photos. If it can be avoided, don't schedule your photos in the middle of the day when the sun is directly overhead and harsh. This can be avoided if you have areas of full shade to aid in the quality of your photos. The best time to schedule your portraits is one to two hours before sunset depending on the amount of locations for your portraits we are exploring. If the areas are fully shaded, more than likely scheduling your photos for earlier is possible. Every location and wedding is unique so be sure to talk with your photographer about your vision before finalizing your timeline.



Planning for your perfect photos

Here is my inside scoop on how to plan for your perfect photos! Leave enough time! If your wedding is not all at one location, factor in enough travel time for your family and bridal party. Be sure to inform the travel plans to everyone so no one is cutting it too close! To help your photos run efficiently, communicate your shot request and family photo list with your photographer. I recommend sharing your family photo list with both sides of your family ahead of time so your family members can be ready!


When meeting with me during your pre-wedding meeting be sure to indicate who to contact in case of an emergency! This way we are not going to the bride or groom for questions. Communication is key in maximizing your timeline. Pass on your timeline with all of your vendors, family, and bridal party so that everyone is on board for your vision! Additionally, I recommend including all of your vendors and lead wedding party member's contact information on your timeline.


Looking to sneak away for sunset photos? Connect with your photographer so they know when they can sneak you away when the lighting is just right! I recommend taking photos at least 30 minutes before sunset.



Sample Timeline

Every wedding is unique and can be customized according to your needs! I recommend having your photographer start a minimum of 1 hour before your portraits until an hour after your first dances start. This is the most efficient way to capture the big milestones of your day. This sample timeline is based off of 8 hours of photography coverage at one location!


9:00 Hair and Makeup begins: Consult with your hair and makeup artist regarding your recommended start time!

12:30 Photographer Starts photographing details: Have your details out and ready to help with efficiency!

1:00 Getting ready photos: If you want those super-trendy robe photos, let everyone know before your bridesmaids change into their dresses!

1:30 Bride Gets Dressed

1:45 Bridesmaids Portraits: If there is a second shooter they can take groomsmen photos at this time!

2:00 Bridal Portraits

*Tuck the bride away before bringing the groomsmen out*

2:30 Groomsmen & Groom Portraits

*Photographer takes photos of the decor while everyone is lining up for ceremony*

3:30 Ceremony:

4:00 Family Portraits: Pro tip: Create a shot list with your photographer to help speed up portraits.

*4:30-5:30 have your guests enjoy cocktail hour while you are taking photos*

4:30 Full Bridal Party Photos

5:00 Bride and Groom Portraits *I leave extra time here in case bridal party photos were cut short earlier*

5:45 Grand entrance

6:00 Dinner

*Looking to capture sunset photos, maybe sneak away during the end of dinner for a few minutes!*

7:00 Speeches

7:15 Cake Cutting

7:30 1st Dances

8:30 Photographer ends

11:00 Wedding Ends


Your wedding day is about you and your fiancé. Whether you want to do a first look or see each other for the first time walking down the aisle, personalize your timeline the way you want! Also, trust your vendors who have experience with weddings. We are here for you and have a few tips and tricks up our sleeves! Are you seeking a wedding photographer to help with creating a wedding timeline to ensure your wedding day runs smoothly? I include complimentary timeline planning with all of my wedding packages! Looking for a wedding planner to help your vision come to life? Here are a few I love working with: Mountain Esque Weddings & Elopements, Leigh and Co. Events, and Teneil Hartley Events


What do you want to know about creating your wedding timeline? Comment below!


Looking for a wedding photographer for your upcoming wedding, contact me to schedule your free consultation by clicking here!

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