We’ve put together a list of tips and tricks for your wedding timeline to help you get the most out of your wedding photography:
What Is A Wedding Timeline And Why Does It Matter?
Planning a wedding timeline will help both the photographer and the couple to be well prepared for every event that will take place on your big day.
I am going to share with you some more details about what can be included in your photography timeline and why it matters.
The first thing that you need to include in your wedding timeline is timing for events that are not related to photography. This includes things like getting ready, ceremony, dinner, and after-party. These events can all impact when your photographer can take pictures of you on your special day. So it is important for these events to be planned ahead so you can coordinate with your photographer accordingly.
Wedding Day timeline
For full-day coverage, we recommend scheduling your photographer to show up during the last hour of you getting ready in the morning, up until the first dance, or even 1-2 hours into party dancing during the reception. Please ensure that you schedule your day to allow us to document all of the events most important to you within the timeframe you booked your photographer for. Remember if you need more time, you can always add an hour or two to your package up until your wedding day.
Below are tips to prepare your wedding day timeline to utilize your photographer and the optimal time we recommend for these events.
Getting ready Photos
Documenting you getting dressed and ready for the day creates the whole story of your day from start to finish. It’s a great opportunity to get photos of you and the important people in your life, or even get some creative photos of you on your own. Also, it is fun looking at the photos of what your other half was doing during the same time you were getting ready.
BRIDES: If you choose to have us photograph you getting prepared for your day, we can photograph the dress being put on, portraits of you, along with candid moments of you, your wedding party, and your family.
We recommend having your photographer show up 20 minutes before your makeup is complete to get the final touches before the wedding dress is put on.
*Please note: Hair/makeup can sometimes run behind, so ask your hair/makeup stylist for an estimated time they require for this process and add about 20 minutes as a buffer.
Grooms: Great photos can happen as you are getting dressed, including putting on the tie, jacket, boutonnière, shoes, etc. If you are already in your wedding clothes, please leave the small details listed until the very last so we can document them. Other great moments include: shaving, styling your hair, and having drinks or playing games with your groomsmen.
Prep your space: The best photos are often in a space with the least amount of clutter with a nice window with good natural light. When preparing for a space in your home, hotel, or rental, make sure the space is cleaned up, water bottles, empty alcohol bottles, clothes, hangers, random clutter, or garbage on tables are removed to make the most of the location and get nice photos.
Optimal photography time for getting ready photos: 1 hour
First Look Wedding Photos
The first look is where you see each other for the first time on your wedding day. It’s often one of the most important emotional moments you will have on your big day. When planning your wedding, you will have to make a decision on whether you see each other down the aisle or meet at a location before the ceremony and have an intimate moment with the two of you? Here are the benefits to both:
Down the aisle: It’s the traditional way to see your bride or groom for the first time in front of all of your guests, which can bring a lot of emotion. There is no additional scheduling for this moment as it occurs during the ceremony.
The portrait session is planned between your ceremony and reception, usually during cocktail hour.
First look before the ceremony: Some couples say it feels more intimate since it’s a moment just between the two of you. If you are going to meet at a location away from your getting ready location, factor travel time into your schedule. The benefit to having it before the ceremony is it can leave you with more flexibility in time, so you can also do your wedding photos with the two of you and the wedding party before your ceremony. That way you can get your wedding portraits done at the beginning of your day, and spend the rest of the day enjoying the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception with your guests.
Optimal Timing for the first look before the ceremony: 20 minutes (not including travel)
When planning a ceremony, there are many different ways to do one based on whether it is religious or not. Let your photographer know in advance what to expect. Some ceremonies are done in another language, there are special events that are unique to you, you are merging religious or cultural traditions into one, or even if you legally sign documents before your first kiss. These are all important factors to tell your photographer so they can be well prepared to document it.
Ceremonies can last anywhere from 15 minutes to 1.5 hours.
Champagne Toast or Receiving Line: There is usually a receiving line, champagne toast, or a few moments of hugging guests and family right after the ceremony. No matter how you exit the ceremony, allot enough time to do this part.
Add around 30 minutes for this portion to give yourself some time to enjoy a little conversation with your guests before the next event.
Family portraits are completed after the ceremony when all family and friends are present. Please create a list of groups you would like to be photographed with and have a friend/family member/wedding coordinator help gather the group. Please remember to plan your group shots with family and extended family, so you don’t leave out any important people.
Optimal Timing: 20-60 minutes.
*Usually works out roughly to 3 minutes per group depending on the size of grouping.
Wedding Portrait Session
The creative photos of the two of you can either happen before the wedding ceremony which follows after the first look or can happen between the ceremony and reception. These photos are some of the most important ones you will cherish, and the part we are best known for.
Optimal Timing: 1-2 hours
Wedding Party Photos: This is also the time to get your wedding party photos done. If you want to save time, you can always group your wedding party photos in the family photo time.
Add 30 minutes for wedding party photos.
If you place great importance on these photos or want multiple locations, please add more to your wedding timeline.
Ideal time per location: 45-60 minutes per location.
Portrait Session Optimal Timing: 1.5-3 hours (including wedding party photos).
*This is the ideal timing for these types of photos. However, we can work with any amount of time we get.
Dress appropriately for the weather:
If it’s summer weather, lighter layers are better to keep you cool.
Things to help battle the heat:
- Bring a towel to wipe off sweat, or cool towels in a cooler.
- A small mirror and makeup/hair kit to touch up makeup and hair.
- Handheld fan.
- Lots of water to keep you hydrated.
- With grooms wearing full 3-piece suits, we can mix it up to get a few with and without a jacket, but remember to remove your jacket while walking around to keep yourself as cool as possible.
If it’s cool out or winter: Dress in layers so you can remain as warm as possible during your portrait shoot. If you feel cold, you won’t look happy. Things to consider:
- Get a nice dress jacket, or a fur or faux fur shall. You can always remove layers, but it’s important to keep them as warm as possible.
- Buy toe and hand warmers for you and your wedding party. It goes a long way.
- Bring mitts and a scarf as they help keep you warm and can be easily removed.
- Wear warm boots, and you can always change into heels when you are in place and ready to take your photo.
If it’s raining:
- Bring umbrellas.
- Proper footwear you won’t mind getting wet, or have a fun pair of rainboots!
- Check out ideas here: https://www.willpursell.com/blog/what-to-do-if-it-rains-on-my-wedding
You can choose your date, but not your weather, so remember to make the most of it and have as much fun as humanly possible!
Footwear: Wear the proper footwear for the location you are choosing. If you are going to be in nature that requires walking on uneven surfaces or a distance, change into footwear that is easy to walk in. You can always change into heals or dress shoes when we put you into position for photos. Easy to walk in footwear makes for happy people!
If it’s raining, opt for rain boots, or if it’s snowy, bring warm winter boots and keep those toes warm and dry!
Dress: When choosing locations for your wedding photos, it’s good to have in mind whether you are ok to get your wedding dress dirty or not. That way we can recommend locations that suit what you are comfortable with. If you don’t want a dirty dress or shoes, opt for an indoor location like your wedding venue, or rent an indoor location to keep dry. Click here to check out these beautiful options for indoor locations Or you can rent a unique location here: https://giggster.com/
Dirt: If you are ok with getting your dress a little dirty, then outdoor locations in nature or the city would work just fine. Just be aware that the bottom of your dress and shoes can get dirty if you are walking along streets, on rainy days, or being in nature.
Delays: Please factor in extra time for travel, city events, long weekend, etc. If your wedding timeline is running behind, the first thing that loses time is the portrait session. It is better to leave more time for this area than to not have enough. You can always schedule wedding party photos to be taken at the same time as family photos to save time if running behind.
Videographers: We work in a very unique way with our lighting during the portrait session which doesn’t allow videographers an easy way to get footage at the exact time as us taking photos unless they are using telephoto lenses. Please ask your videographer if they will be present during the portrait session, and how much time they require to get their footage. Depending on their style, they may require time to get their own footage. Please take that into account and add the time they need on top of the wedding timeline.
Venue + Detail photos: If you would like us to get photos of your venue before guests arrive, please leave at least 20 minutes in your wedding timeline before guests enter the venue, so we can capture the untouched fine details along with the empty room fully decorated. Having the venue or planner rope it off or keep the door shut works best to prevent guests from going into the venue to drop off their coats, drinks, purses, etc. at their seats. Have your coordinator ensure the room is ready to be photographed including lit candles, table settings, lighting, and anything else you would like to be photographed.
Check out our WEDDING LIGHTING IDEAS FOR INSPIRATION!
Events: For the best off-camera lighting on photos we may require a few minutes to set up lighting between events, such as speeches, first dance, cake cutting, etc. (especially if they are on opposite sides of the venue).
Optimal timing is around 10 minutes between events for us to get those creative photos. If you plan on scheduling those moments back to back, it can limit creativity and our lighting.
Plan your last important event to happen 15 minutes before your photographer is set to leave.
Meals: We do require a dinner meal on a full wedding day if we are scheduled to be there through dinner time. We recommend scheduling us to eat around the same time as you are as guests do not like photos of them eating.
We require around a 30-minute break to eat, fuel up, and take a short rest to rejuvenate so we can get back to the action with full energy! Do not schedule any events at this time to ensure that we don’t miss any important moments.
Sunset Photos: You can either plan your portrait session around sunset or you can set aside some time during your reception in between events right at sunset. (This option is great if your reception has great views or has a nearby park or beach that we can quickly walk to).
Night photos: Are usually done at the end of the evening before we are scheduled to leave. If you are wanting a night photo, we will scout out a great location and take you aside during your party to get a photo of the both of you. You can also leave time in your wedding timeline for a small night portrait session.
Optimal Timing (Sunset & Night) : 10-15 minutes
Photography ordering session
Included in your package is a photography ordering session on Zoom where you will order your wedding albums and wall art using your product credit. We will guide you through the process to select the most amazing products for your wedding.
Looking over your wedding timeline is part of our wedding photography package. We are happy to make suggestions to help get the most out of your wedding photography time. Get in touch to start planning your wedding photography!