Tips from a Photographer on Your Wedding Day Timeline

May 19, 2018

Fitting Photos Into Your Wedding Day Timeline

Your wedding day timeline is the most important tool for vendors to keep your wedding day running as smoothly as can be! From a photographer’s perspective, the timeline is crucial to keeping the perfect times for the photos you want to capture during your big day like bride and groom portraits, getting ready shots, family portraits, and bridal party photos. I broke down the shots that most couples want to be taken during their big day, with some tips for how to stay on track and not fall behind in the wedding timeline! 

Getting Ready and Detail Shots

In the morning before you’re all dressed up, your photographer will take photos of your dress, shoes, jewelry, and any other details they can capture while you and your girls are getting ready. I typically try to style these shots with a lot of care and find the best places to shoot the dress and other big details to get the best shot. Typically, you want to leave at least half an hour for your photographer to make sure they’re getting all of the small details of your wedding day! 

Getting ready shots typically should last about forty-five minutes so your photographer can get a good number of candid shots between you and your bridal party before it’s showtime! 

First Looks 

First looks typically happen about two hours before the ceremony, and aside from it being the cutest moment between you and your fiance, it’s a perfect opportunity to get some extra portraits without feeling rushed after your ceremony! 

Bride and Groom Portraits (Right after First Looks) 

Here’s the meat of your photography for the day, where you and your fiance can really capture what the two of you are there for – each other! These photos are where you capture the moments that are most important to the two of you and will one day hang up in your home! Do NOT rush these! Give at least forty-five minutes to these portraits so your photographer can get you as many shots as they can! If you decide not to do a first look, these portraits would happen after the ceremony. 

One more thing – if you choose not to do a first look, then usually your bride and groom portraits, bridal party portraits and family portraits will happen after the ceremony and you’ll miss your cocktail hour. This way, everything is spaced out and there’s more time to get all of the shots you would like! 

Bridal Party Portraits

After your bride and groom portraits, you’ll want to get group shots of your bridal party together. Rule number one here is to try to keep everyone together and, if you’re traveling to a different location, make sure travel is coordinated so everyone knows where they need to be. 

Immediate Family Shots

Leave roughly half an hour for family portraits with your immediate family and whoever else you would really like a photo with. Here’s the typical shot list for these portraits:

  •  Bride and Groom w/ Bride’s parents
  •  Bride and Groom w/ Bride’s immediate family
  •  Bride and Groom w/ Groom’s parents
  •  Bride and Groom w/ Groom’s immediate family
  •  Bride and Groom w/ both sets of parents

These would typically take place immediately after the ceremony!

Falling behind on a wedding day timeline is hard to avoid, but sticking to a time frame for each step can keep you on track and walking away with some amazing photos of your wedding day! 


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