It is so important to have a well-structured timeline on the wedding day. This keeps everything flowing and ensures that all vendors are working together seamlessly. Though my timelines will have many more details than just photography, the photographic portions of the timelines are some of the most important. You choose a photographer to capture your day beautifully, but it is so important to give them the tools for success by providing them with a timeline with plenty of time for the magic to happen. This photographic timeline will give you an idea of the important pieces and how to properly allot adequate timeslots for your trusted shutterbug!
Getting ready photos are very important. This is the portion of the day where your photographer will capture all of the little details that you have. They will get photos of the bouquets, the rings, dress, shoes, and any other items that might be sentimental or special to you. This will also be when the photographer will capture your make up & hair prep photos, your solo bridal portraits, cute moments with your bridal party clinking together your champagne flutes, dainty photos in your matching robes, and even pillow fights for the bridal party that wants something a little different! This time is really about capturing the action of the room and the overall excitement that everyone is feeling prior to the ceremony!
Ideal time: 1 to 1.5 hours
• Try to plan to get ready in the same general vicinity as your significant other! Having separate rooms at the same property makes it really easy and efficient for your photographer to hop back and forth between rooms to gather photos of each of you.
• Try to have all details in the same place! For example it is important to have all of the rings together so that the photographer can photograph them all at the same time.
• Bring a nice hanger for the wedding dress! A nice hanger can make a huge difference, and nothing ruins a stunning dress photo like a plastic hanger.
• For brides who aren’t planning on wearing heels for the wedding, still bring a nice set of heels to be photographed! You can take some nice photos in them in the bridal suite, and they make for beautiful detail photos.
• For girls who are getting their make-up done, bring straws for the bridal suite! Lets you sip on your mimosas without ruining your lipstick. (Or use a lipstain that won’t smudge!)
• Grooms, don’t shy away from details! Play it up with fun socks or pocket watches, or you could bring whiskey glasses instead of red cups to enjoy some drinks with the guys beforehand. You can have some great prep shots as well.
• Schedule your photographer to arrive when the girls are just about finished with hair and make-up! No one wants pictures when they aren’t done yet, and the best hair & make-up prep photos are totally staged after you’re all done!
• Keep the bridal/grooms suites clean! Reduce the clutter, try to keep the miscellaneous items to a minimum and pack up any items that aren’t needed. Clutter in the background of photos can ruin a beautiful shot.
Doing a first-look can drastically change your photo timeline. Seeing each other earlier in the day opens up a whole new window of time for bridal party formals, and ends up allowing more time for your formal portrait session after the wedding. Or you could even join cocktail hour if you’d like!
It is good for the photographer to arrive before the couple to just capture detail photos and get accustomed to the angles and lighting.
Family Photos After Ceremony
These can and SHOULD be done as quickly and efficiently as possible. It is best to have the newlyweds stay in the same spot, and for people to just fill in for photos when they are called upon. It is very important to appoint a person from each side that can help with wrangling people and putting together the combinations. It is best to crank these photos out quickly to open up more time for your formal portrait session with your new spouse.
Ideal time: 15 to 20 minutes
• It can be super helpful to tell all family members that you would like photographed that they will need to stay back for photos after the ceremony. This cuts out the awkward moment of people being unsure if they should stay, because if they ask your coordinator, your coordinator will be able to say with confidence that if they were not directly contacted about it then they are welcome to join cocktail hour.
• Absolutely DO NOT schedule family photos in the time of day with the best light. If you only have a limited amount of light after the ceremony because the sun is going to go down, plan to do your portrait session at that time and then do family photos after. You always want your portrait session to be at the time with the best possible light, family photos do not need to be in the prime timeslot.
It is definitely important to save some time for the bridal party photos. They can be more traditional to match the family photos or can be more creative and styled. Bridal party photos can definitely have more candid moments and a bit more flair to them. Smaller bridal parties can be done very quickly!
Ideal time: 15 to 25 minutes
Photographically, this is the most important part of the wedding day. This yields the most stunning & intimate photos of the 2 of you, and they are your first formal photos together as a married couple. It is absolutely pivotal to ensure that you have adequate time for this. You want this to happen in the time of day with the best light ideally, but if that just isn’t possible because of the ceremony start time, I will always put in the timeline sometime during the reception where you can sneak away to get some photos while the lighting is best. Typically the hour before sunset is when the light is at it’s best.
Ideal time: 30 to 45 minutes
There tends to be quite a few events to be photographed during the reception. The grand entrance, first dance, parents dances, toasts, open dancing, cake cutting, bouquet toss, garter toss, and possibly a send-off.
• Ask your coordinator and caterer to allow the photographer to eat at the beginning of dinner service. Many venues have rules to serve vendors last, but your photographer should eat earlier so that they are up and ready for the next events as soon as you are done. If they get their food at the end of the dinner service, it doesn’t give them time to sit down and enjoy it.
• If you aren’t doing a big send-off, your photographer absolutely does not need to stay for the entire reception. Schedule them until the last event that needs to be photographed (ie bouquet/garter, or cake cutting), and then have them be off after that. Dancing photos are dancing photos, whether taken at the beginning of the night or the end!
• If you are doing a send-off that you want photographed, be sure to add on extra time with your photographer if necessary, so that you don’t miss out on the beautiful getting ready photos!
• Be sure to approve your send-off ideas with your venue! Many venues won’t allow certain items that are staples for send-offs, so you want to be sure you have the green-light.
I hope this timeline was helpful! There are so many little details to cover when it comes to organizing your wedding day, and I would love to assist anyway that I can! Hiring a coordinator is kind of like getting an insurance policy for your other vendors, because we will ensure that you are getting the most out of each of your contributors! You have hand-selected these vendors and have invested in their services, it is so important to give them the tools to shine. You want someone to represent you well and help make sure that all of your plans are executed beautifully. Wishing you Happy Planning! And please reach out anytime if I can help make your day all you’ve imagined it to be.
“Timeline suggestion provided by our friend, Kristana Marie Events. To find out more about how our preferred vendor friends can help you with your wedding, click HERE