I help structure the wedding day timeline for all my Brides and Grooms, but here are some things to think about before we customize your final timeline.
For starters – knowing what time the sunset is on your wedding day is important. You can check that here. This helps because the 2 hours before sunset leading up to it is the absolute ideal time for your portraits and outdoor ceremony. One of the best decisions you can make is to plan generously for photography…and I know that can be confusing and overwhelming, so here are some things to consider:
An Estimate of How Long Pictures Will Take
Time shown is the average time recommended. Of course, time needed also depends on the location we’re taking photos (i.e. if a lot of walking around is involved). These are the pictures after everyone is ready and dressed.
Bride and Bridesmaid Photos 30 minutes
Groom and Groomsmen Photos 20 minutes
Full Bridal Party Photos 20 minutes
Bride and Groom Portraits 30 minutes
Family Formals 20 minutes
Timeline tips if Bride & Groom ARE NOT seeing each other before the ceremony
Plan your timeline so that you are done with the Bridesmaid/Groomsmen photos 30 minutes before the ceremony starts.
Plan your ceremony so that it is finished with at least 1.5 hours remaining until sunset. That way, your ceremony (if it’s outside) and all the most important portraits will be during the warm, soft light during that time of the day. This is assuming there is no receiving line immediately after the ceremony. If you are doing a receiving line, you need to allow for around 20-30 minutes for that (so, you would want your receiving line to end with at least 1.5 hours remaining until sunset).
Timeline tips if Bride & Groom ARE seeing each other before the ceremony (“First Look”)
If your ceremony is outside, then ideally you will want it during the “golden hours” also. So plan for the ceremony to be done with 45 minutes remaining until sunset. Those last 45 minutes will be for family formals and then some extra Bride/Groom portraits.
With a “first look”, most of the other photos will be done before the ceremony. So you want to plan for those photos to be done 15-20 minutes before the ceremony starts so you can rest a little bit. Allow for a total of 1.5 hours of photo time, to be completed about 15 minutes before the ceremony.
Of course, the above are not requirements…just strong recommendations. I understand some things on the wedding day have to be at certain times, and cannot be changed. Also, always expect hair/makeup and other prep to run a little late, and allot for travel time if necessary.