Let’s talk Wedding Day Timeline

March 28, 2023


Timeline of a wedding day is easily one of our most asked questions coming from our couples. We do have a lengthy few pages in our bridal guide that covers how a timeline should look (ideally) but we understand the stress that stems from trying to plan! Here’s the great thing about working with us though – we take care of your timeline! 

We have been in wedding planning mode the last few weeks gearing up for the official start of wedding season in April. I’ve been creating timelines left and right! 

Some of the most important things to remember when it comes to planning a timeline is: all wedding days are different. No two timelines I create are ever exactly the same. We create this timeline specifically for you and your day and it should reflect everything that’s important to you!

So what does a typical wedding day look like? (This will outline an ideal wedding day working off of a 4pm ceremony time)

11:30-12:30pm – Bridal Details: Details are an important part of your wedding story and I love having some time to shoot the dress, shoes, jewelry, invitations, etc. I like to spend the first hour of our day shooting details. Gathering your bridal details doesn’t have to be another thing to check off on your list the morning of the wedding! I suggest buying a plastic tote from Target and keeping it nearby in the weeks leading up to the wedding. Start placing details like an extra copy of your invitation suite, shoes, jewelry, etc. as you think of them. By the time the wedding rolls around, you’ll have a whole box for us!
12:30-1:00pm – Getting Ready – After the details have been photographed, it’s time for the bride to get into her dress! This is a big moment! I usually ask the mother of the bride and all of the bridesmaids to be dressed by the time the bride is ready to get into her dress. This ensures that everyone will look nice in those images. After the bride is in her gown, she can put on her jewelry, veil, shoes, etc. and I will shoot some additional bridal portraits!
1:15-1:30pm – First Look – This is one of my favorite parts of the wedding day! I will find the perfect location for my couple’s First Look prior to the getting ready portion of the day! Don’t stress about that one bit! I will make sure the location is private and as secluded as possible. 
1:30-2:30pm – Wedding Party – After the bride and groom have shared their special moment, we can get into the real fun! The wedding party! At this time we will be capturing group shots of the entire wedding party, individual shots of the bride and her girls, the groom and his guys and every other combination imaginable. Remember, we can have fun with these! Pop some champagne, throw confetti! Get creative. Wedding party photos are some of my favorite to get creative with! 
2:30-3:00pm – Bride & Groom Portraits – My favorite part! Bride and groom portraits. I usually send the wedding party to relax for a bit and prepare for the ceremony. They can touch up their hair and makeup, grab a drink and we will head off to take some beautiful photos. I will most often already have our portrait locations scoped out due to the light at this time of day. We will hit a couple spots but when taking portraits, light trumps location every single time! I go where the pretty light is and that is where we will get the best portraits! 
3:00pm – Bride in hiding – With 45 minutes to 1 hour until the ceremony, I will send the bride into hiding to ensure guests do not see her before she walks down the aisle. This is also the perfect time to put on another coat of lipstick and recite those vows. 
3:00-3:45pm – Ceremony & Reception Details – If the reception is in the same location as the ceremony, I will use this time to shoot the reception decor UNTOUCHED. If the ceremony and reception are in different locations, I recommend having a cocktail hour outside of the main reception area if possible so that I can grab some great shots of your reception before the night begins and guests start laying down purses and coats on their seats! 
4:00-4:30pm – It’s time to get married!! Most ceremonies are 30 minutes long. If your ceremony is longer than 30 mins, we’ll make adjustments to the time- line! Cherish these moments! Your ceremony will pass by so quickly! 
4:45-5:00pm – Family Portraits – Family formals normally take place immediately following the ceremony. It’s best to save all of the family formals until after the ceremony because ALL family members will be present at that time. I will send a questionnaire before the wedding where you can list out the shots that you want. I recommend shooting portraits outdoors if possible so that they resemble more natural family portraits, especially if the ceremony location is dark! 
5:00-5:45pm – “Just Married” Bride & Groom portraits – This will be the BEST time of day for portraits! This is when the sun is glowy and golden. I love having a few extra minutes with the bride and groom to take a few “Just Married” portraits right after family formals! 
6:00pm – Reception Entrances – This is when the bridal party lines up for introductions and the party begins!! By this part of the day, my timeline isn’t as strict. I work directly with your planner/DJ for timeline of events throughout the evening so you can fully enjoy your party!
9:00pm – The Exit – I include 8-9 hours of coverage so that I can be present for the main events of the reception and about an hour or two of dancing! If you are planning to party after our shooting time is up, there are several options for this! You can either add additional coverage or plan a faux exit with just your bridal party! I have had GREAT success with this and the party never stops!

Remember, this is just an outline of something we will create for you! Nothing is set in stone and there are plenty of different things we may need to add here and there throughout the day. Like I said, no two timelines are the same!

If you’re wedding is coming up soon, you should expect an email from me about 8 weeks before your wedding so we can start planning your day! 💗

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xo chelsey

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