Wedding Timeline Breakdown

Once hair and makeup is finished, this is the big moment that every bride has been waiting for! Sliding into your wedding dress, fixing your jewelry, and spending those first moments fully ready for your wedding with your mother and bridesmaids. We recommend 30 minutes for each of you to fully get ready and spend time with your bridal party before the day starts to unfold.

Getting Ready

60 Minutes

Pro Tip: plan to have your makeup finished 30-1 hour after the photographers arrive.

Make sure you are finished before your bridesmaids to ensure your timeline does not run the risk of running behind schedule. 

Details usually consist of the wedding dress, invitation suite, jewelry, perfume, shoes, bouquet, and anything else that is important to the bride & groom. Details are essential telling the story of your wedding day. You handpicked these details for a reason and they deserve to be highlighted. .


60 Minutes

Pro Tip: put all of your details in one easy to find place. That way your photographer isn't spending extra time gathering your details and can get right to work

Once you have your hair & makeup done, as well as your dress on, that is the perfect time for both the bride and groom to get their solo portraits done. Solo portraits of each of you should only take 10 minutes on the wedding day & will get you both really excited for your first look or what is to come on your wedding day.

Bride & Groom

Solo portraits

20 Minutes

Pro Tip: put all of your details in one easy to find place. That way your photographer isn't spending extra time gathering your details and can get right to work

A First look is one of the best things you can do for your wedding day to keep it stress free. It will reduce your nerves and this ends up being the only real alone time the both of you will have on your wedding day. Our favorite benefit of course is that you will get almost double the amount of portraits! 

(If you are not doing a first look, make sure your wedding day is at least 2 hours before sunset to ensure enough light for your bride and groom portraits.)

The First Look

30 Minutes

Pro Tip: Schedule all of your additional first looks before the first look with your spouse

Don't know what a first look is? Check out our FREE Guide!

Bridal Party Portraits typically take about 30 minutes and are broken into 3 segments. 
•10 Minutes for the Bride and her Bridesmaids
•10 Minutes for the Groom with his Groomsmen
•10 minutes for the full bridal party
The amount of time is completely dependent on if you are wanting more authentic, candid moments with your bridal party, or simply just traditional portraits together.

Bridal Party

30 Minutes

Pro Tip: Make sure all groomsmen have their boot-in-ears pinned and your bouquets at the venue before bridal party portraits begin

When you go into hiding 30 minutes before the ceremony, that is the best time for the photographer to take detail photos of the ceremony space. All of your decorations, flowers, you both put so much time and effort into creating this space. 

Ceremony Details

10 Minutes

Pro Tip for Photographers: Keep tabs on when vendors are finished decorating the ceremony space. Make time for one photographer to stop by for 1 quick photo when they finish. This way you will not have to worry about quests being in the wide detail photograph of the entire space.

Ceremonies can very depending on where you are getting married. If you are getting married in a church, ask the pastor or officiant how long ceremonies typically last.

If you are getting married in a wedding venue, ceremonies last on average anywhere between 10-30 minutes. This solely depends on what will be a part of the ceremony itself. Unity candles, scripture readings, personal vows, etc. can add to the length of your ceremony. 

The basic ceremony that consists of opening remarks by the officiant, traditional vows, and exchanging of rings last five minutes. When deciding how much time you need for your ceremony, remember time starts when the ceremony starts, and ends when the last person exits the church.

The Ceremony

10-60 Minutes

Pro Tip: Make sure you find out what restrictions your venue has on photography if they have them. 

The time needed for family formals solely depends on the size of each family, the size of your family list, and how well family members can listen to directions. Designate someone from your intermediate families that knows everyone as a helper to get family members that walk away. Also make sure that your photographer has a list of the photos you want for family formals so it can go as smoothly as possible.

Family Formals

15-30 Minutes

Pro Tip: When making your family formals list, write down photos that will be printed and hung on walls. Condense the list as much as possible so you can maximize time enjoying your wedding day. 

The final hour before sunset is what photographer's refer to as "Golden Hour". This is when photographers get the best light for your bride and groom portraits. TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF THIS! Talk to your wedding photographer about making time for 15-30 minutes worth of portraits during golden hour so you can get those dreamy photos that are all over your Pinterest boards.

Evening Portraits

30 Minutes

Pro Tip: Schedule your evening portraits to be taken right after you eat dinner. this way you doing something fun and memorable while all of your guests enjoy their dinner.

These photos are usually taken during cocktail hour. All of the centerpieces, florals, everything down to the specially folded napkins. You spent a lot of time choosing the best details for your reception and should not be missed. Weddings where you have two photographers, one will spend time with you both during your cocktail hour, while the other will take photographs of your reception details before any guests arrive.

Reception Details

30 Minutes

This is the big party you have been waiting for! This will be the most relaxing and fun part of the wedding day. 




Cutting The Cake

The reception

The Dance floor

1-3 Hours

15 Minutes

10-30 Minutes

30-45 Minutes (Buffet)

5 Minutes

45-90 Minutes (Plated)

Special Dances:

15 Minutes


5 Minutes

1 Hour

For photographs, your photographer only needs 1 hour of total time to photograph the dance floor properly. This is when that extra time you racked up from your day going perfectly comes into play. The more efficient your day runs, the more time you have your photographer to capture the craziness that happens on the dance floor as the night unfolds

Pro Tip: If you are running low on time for photos, Have your DJ bring the entire party to the dance floor immediately after your first dances. Make sure your dJ plays songs that will get your entire bridal party pumped and having a good time right off the bat.

Right before the very end of the night, the DJ will let everyone know to head outside for the big send off. How this goes is almost entirely on your wedding photographer. For us, we like to let everyone know exactly what to do when you both walk out and that they really need to bring the energy.

If your photography time ends before the end of your wedding day. Gather up your bridal party & closest friends/family and head outside. Your photographer will have them surround you with sparklers, candles, etc. and celebrate the end of the wedding night with you both.


10 Minutes

• Determine the amount of time needed. Most weddings are typically 8-10 hours. If there is a lot of travel between locations and a large bridal party, 12 hours is strongly recommended. For us, 10 hours is the sweet spot. It gives you alot of wiggle room where if something causes the day to fall behind a little bit, there is absolutely no problem at all. It will allow the day to be so much more relaxing and care free


• The very first thing is decide if you what time the ceremony will be. 

Essential Tips for a stress free Wedding day

First looks are one of the most important things you could do to have a stress free wedding day. This is the best way to calm those nerves. It will give you so much more time with your friends and family, and result in many more portraits in your photo gallery. 

Want to know more about First Looks?  Click Here

• When creating your family formals list, try to limit your list to portraits people will hang on their wall. Your photographers will be there for your reception and will gladly take a photo of you with your friends that you just want a quick photograph with.

• Do all of your bridal party photographs before the ceremony. This way there is more time to hang out together and gives them less

• Put in extra time for portraits and getting ready. That way if things run behind, you have extra time that you can use that won't effect the day.

• Put a limit on how long speeches are. It is very easy for a bridal party member to get lost in a story and by the time they finish, the sunset that was so important to you has come and gone. 3-5 minutes is plenty of time per speaker.

Elopement Timeline

First Look Timeline

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Wedding Day Timeline

• 12pm Photography begins w/ Details
• 1pm Groom/Groomsmen get dressed
•2:00pm Bride/ Bridesmaids get dressed
• 3:00pm Dad/Bridesmaids first look
• 3:30pm Groom/Groomsmen Portraits
• 4pm Bride/Bridesmaids Portraits
• 4:30pm Relax before ceremony
• 5pm Ceremony
• 5:30pm Family Formals
• 6:00pm Full Bridal Party Portraits
• 6:15pm Bride & Groom Portraits
• 6:45 Grand Entrances
• 7pm Dinner
• 7:30pm Golden Hour Portraits
• 8:00pm Speeches
• 8:20pm Cut the Cake
• 8:30pm First Dances
• 8:45pm Open the Dancefloor
• 9:45pm Send Off Photos
• 10pm Photography Ends

Example Wedding Timelines

Joanna & Brett Photography

Without a First Look

• 12pm Photography begins
• 1pm Groom/Groomsmen get dressed
•2:00pm Bride/ Bridesmaids get dressed
• 2:30pm The First Look(s)
• 3:00pm Bride & Groom Portraits
• 3:30pm Bridal Party Portraits
• 4:00pm Bride/Groom Solo Portraits
• 4:30pm Relax before ceremony
• 5pm Ceremony
• 5:30pm Family Formals
• 6:00pm More Portraits/ Join Cocktail Hour
• 6:45 Grand Entrances
• 7pm Dinner
• 7:30pm Golden Hour Portraits
• 8:00pm Speeches
• 8:20pm Cut the Cake
• 8:30pm First Dances
• 8:45pm Open the Dancefloor
• 9:45pm Send Off Photos
• 10pm Photography Ends

• 3pm Photography begins w/ Details
• 3:30pm Getting Ready
•4pm First Look
• 5pm Ceremony
• 5:30pm Group Photos
• 6:00pm Bride & Groom Portraits
• 7pm Photography Ends

We can create a wedding collection & timeline that perfectly suits your wedding day!

Want us to create your wedding timeline?

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We would love to hear more about you both and what you are dreaming up for your wedding day. We will reach out to you as soon as possible!

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