One of the most important things to consider while planning is your wedding day timeline. Your photography timeline, or lack thereof, can make or break your wedding day. When your day is well planned, with plenty of time for every part to be documented, you will have a stress free, organized day!
How many hours of photography coverage do I need?
Every wedding is different when it comes to hours of coverage. How many locations are we covering, what is travel time between locations, how long is the ceremony… the list goes on and on. When meeting with potential photographers asking how many hours they think is best can be a great starting place!
DSP Couples typically need about 8 hours of coverage and a second photographer to have their day covered. That covers guys and girls getting ready, typical travel time between locations, then the ceremony through the start of dancing!
1:00 – 1:30 Details
I always start the day out photographing all your small detail items. These include for feminine items; gown, shoes, fragrance, jewelry, florals, invitations, and any heirlooms. Masculine items include; shoes, tie, socks, cuff links, flask, boutonniere.
Photographing details takes about 20 to 30 minutes if everything is pulled aside and ready ahead of time. This is a great task for a member of your wedding party!
Photographer’s Tip: Send your photographer a wedding invitation prior to the wedding so they can bring an extra for photographing details.
1:30 – 2:30 Getting Ready
The getting ready time is set aside for documenting the ladies getting final touches on hair and makeup. Once everyone has their face on, we can grab that iconic toast and robe photo!
For the guys, this is your time to drink some beers, laugh, and generally goof off while figuring out how to fold a pocket square.
2:30 – 3:00 Get Dressed
It’s mad scramble time for the wedding party since they need to be dressed prior to the couple. For the men, it’s usually pretty easy to get on a tie, jacket and cuff links. On the other hand, that big dress can take a bit longer to get on! Most importantly, I want whoever is helping you to get ready all dressed and looking sharp!
Photographer’s Tip: If doing a first look with Dad, make sure he is dressed and ready to go BEFORE you get your gown on.
3:00 – 3:30 First Look
All my couples know I love a good first look. You can read all about WHY I love first looks here. I encourage the couple to be alone for their first look. I will let you do your thing, feel all the feels, and let me know when you’re ready to start portraits! After you’ve taken each other in, we’ll do a quick round of formal photos, just to get some out of the way.
3:30 – 3:45 Wedding Party Portraits
Wedding party portraits go super quickly if you have a second photographer. One of us will take one side, the other will take the other. We’ll get photos of the individuals with the Bride/Groom, then each side all together. Once that’s all done, we come together for the full wedding party portraits!
If there’s only one photographer, this process will take a bit longer!
3:45 – 4:00 Family Portraits
Your wedding day timeline will run nice and smooth if you let your family know ahead of time where and when their photos will be taken. I always ask for a list of family members you would like to include so no-one gets missed! This is the one time of day things can get out of control rapidly. It’s best to keep family groupings small (immediate family) and spectators to a minimum. Every time Aunt Jean jumps in front of me with her iPad it slows the flow!
4:00 – 4:30 Ceremony Details / Guests Arriving
Your guests are arriving and it’s time to hide away so no-one sees you! This is a great time to hang out with your wedding party, spend a few last minutes with your spouse to be, and grab a snack!
We will be photographing all the little details at the ceremony. I also love capturing guests arriving and greeting each other. It’s always so joyful when families gather!
4:30 – 5:00 Ceremony
Make it all official.
5:00 – 5:15 Remaining Family Portraits
There’s always someone that misses the call time for family portrait prior to the ceremony. I always plan a little extra tine for them right after the recession.
5:15 – 5:30 Newlywed Portraits
Round 2 with your photos! Breaking up the posed portrait part of the day makes it a lot easier to handle. Hopefully the light will be pretty awesome at this point and we’ll get the bulk of your images now.
5:30 – 6:00 Cocktail Hour
FINALLY, eat some food, say hi to everyone so you don’t have to go table to table for hours, and drink a glass of champagne!
6:00 – Announced In, First Dance, Toasts
Your DJ is key in you reception flow. This is when they really take over and keep things moving so you get everything in before your photo/video team leave. Let me know if you need DJ referrals, I have a list of great vendors!
6:30 – Dinner Service / Cake Cutting
Cake cutting will depend on your cake and venue. If you are serving cake to your guests, often venues will have you cut cake after salads and before entrees.
7:30 – Sunset Portraits
All I need is 5 minutes to get that pink sky then you can go right back to going table to table! Chances are, I’m going to eat my dinner right after these as well.
8:00 – Parent Dances
I’m not crying, you’re crying! They get me every time. Parent dances are a great way to end the formalities and open up the dance floor!
8:45 – Night Shot (photo, then tequila)
Okay, not ALWAYS tequila…
The night photo is my favorite time of night. It’s a great chance for me to get creative. You get a break from your reception and actually get to spend five minutes alone (minus me). This is also my time to say goodbye and make sure you got all the phots you wanted.
9:00 – Photographer Exit
By this time of night everything has been covered! I only ever need a few minutes of dancing as it can get sloppy quickly! It’s also my chance to reflect on how grateful I am to have spent the day with you, your friends, and your family!
After the wedding day timeline
Hopefully you’ll be on your honeymoon when you get your blog post email! The blog will have about 100 of my favorite images from your wedding day. This is a great way for you to relive your big day while waiting for your full gallery.
When do you get your gallery? On average your wedding gallery will be ready four to six weeks after your wedding day.
Every wedding day is a little different, but this timeline is a great place too start if you are wondering how a typical wedding day plays out. If you have any questions about your wedding photography timeline, shoot me a message!