Before I was a bride, I stressed to my clients the importance of a wedding timeline. Now after being a bride, I can’t stress that importance enough. And not only to have a timeline, but to make sure there’s ample time built into that timeline (you know…because things never go as planned). For example, the day of my wedding we had one vendor get in a car wreck on the way to my venue (thank goodness they were okay) and another vendor who’s car decided to not work that day and couldn’t get to my venue (thank goodness I have a trusty friend who was already ordained and stepped in to help us out in a pinch). Even with those hiccups (and a good attitude about it all), the day still went on and we had plenty of time to finish all of our pictures and make sure the rest of the day/evening/night went according to plan. This is also another reason why I HIGHLY recommend a coordinator, but that’s another topic for another day. 😉 Today, we’ll focus on the photography timeline.
I work closely with each of my clients to put together a photography timeline that works well for the both of us and ensures that we have enough time to capture everything that you want us to capture and stay consistent with our portfolio and what our couples are expecting. The last thing you want to feel is rushed on your wedding day and building in some extra time throughout the day will ensure that you don’t feel rushed and can enjoy the moments.
Here is a sample photography timeline to help you prepare. Please be aware that the below timeline is one that prioritizes what you have invested in: wedding photography. I require that photography coverage starts three hours before the ceremony time if you are not having a first look. If a first look is something that you want to do, I require that photography coverage starts four hours before the ceremony time in order to have enough time to adequately cover everything.
The timeline below includes a FIRST LOOK where the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony and all family photos are taken pre-ceremony. If a first look isn’t the right choice for you, no worries, but tack on another hour after the ceremony for family photos and such. If your ceremony is taking place at another venue separate from your reception (such as a church) we will need to account for travel time to and from but this should at least give you a good starting point.
2:00pm- Photographer arrives to photograph detail and final prep
3:00pm- Bride puts on her dress
3:30pm- Bride and Groom’s first look
4:00pm- Wedding party photos
4:30pm- Family formal portraits
5:00pm- Final primping while guests arrive; Photographers photograph ceremony/reception details and decor
6:30pm- Short cocktail hour; Sunset photos with bride and groom
7:00pm- Grand entrance to reception/First dance/Prayer
7:15pm- Dinner is served
8:15pm- Special dances
8:30pm- Open dance floor
9:00pm- Cake cutting/toasts
9:15pm- More dancing
9:45pm- Bouquet/garter toss
10:00pm- Photographers leave
Our brides know that our timelines are fluid. What does that mean? That means that there’s a little extra padding built into the timeline which means if one part runs over or doesn’t start on time, we can make that time up somewhere along the timeline elsewhere. Every wedding is different. Sometimes people run late, sometimes there is travel between the ceremony venue and reception venue, etc. We help all of our KLP couples come up with a photography timeline that fits their wants and needs of the day. If you have a coordinator (which we always recommend), we work closely with them as well to make sure our photography timeline matches up with their timeline of the logistics of the day so everyone is on the same page.