Don’t you just love planning big family events, like…weddings? 🙂

Another very confusing, and sometimes overwhelming, topic is the wedding day timeline for a photographer. We always prepare it together with a bride or a wedding planner.

This schedule could change, of course, based on the unique logistics of a particular wedding day, but the real value of this schedule isn’t so much the exact timing as it is the principles behind the timing – giving ourselves time and space to photograph what we need to and when.

Some of the times may seem like a lot of time, but we have left some things a little long to allow time for others to go long. Remember that something will always take a little longer than originally planned. If you have a little extra time planned into your wedding day there will be no need to stress.

Another thing that is extremely important for us, is location. We always need to know location with the full address, so that we could plan ahead our time to arrive from one location to another.

11:00 – 12:30                         Hair Salon Photos
12:30 – 1:30                           Makeup Photos
1:45 – 2:15                             Photographer drives from Hair/Makeup Salon to Groom
2:15 – 2:45                            Groom / Groomsmen getting ready
2:45 – 3:15                            Photos with Groom / Groomsmen
3:15 – 3:30                            Bride / Bridesmaids getting ready (dress zipped up, etc)
3:45 – 4:15                            Photos with Bride and Bridesmaids
4:15 – 4:30                            Last minute adjustments
4:30 – 5:00                           Ceremony
5:00 – 5:30                           Receiving Line/Guests Leave Ceremony Area
5:30 – 6:00                           Group Photos
6:00 – 6:30                           Bride / Groom Photos
6:45                                       Bride/Groom get announced
7:00 – 8:00                           Dinner
8:30                                       Band Starts
8:40                                       Bride/Groom First Dance
8:45-9:00                             Daddy/Daughter, Mother/Son
9:00 – 9:30                           Dancing
9:30 -9:45                            Cake cut
10:00                                     Photographers leave

You’ve done everything possible for the perfect timeline, but things are still late. What do you do? Here’s a scenario that tends to scare couples and vendors.

Like: What if there’s no time for more photos? What if dinner is served 30 minutes late? What if your ceremony goes too long? Here are the concerns we’re hearing from couples these days. There seems to be a lot of panic in running late. Here’s a truth bomb: weddings are hardly ever perfectly on time. Unless you’ve padded your timeline with extra room, it’s likely that something will be off sometime during the wedding day. There are some ways you can avoid it, and some ways you can move past it, but there’s no way to know until you get there what will be the right solution. Here are our best tips for staying on timeline, and adjusting for any mistakes.


The easiest way to fall off your timeline is by not allowing enough time to get ready in the morning. Hair & Makeup takes a lot of focus and patience. It’s a service that should NEVER be rushed. However, often brides will neglect to add buffer time, resulting in a late starting ceremony. If your hair & makeup artists suggests a two hour service window, add an extra hour to your timeline. If your makeup artist is quick and efficient and you have an hour to spare, take that time to bond with your bridesmaids and drink champagne. If it’s the only downtime you get during your wedding day, you will be so grateful for this hour. If you’re unsure exactly how long you want to schedule for, we highly recommend test driving your hair and makeup with your professional before the wedding. This will allow time to experiment with lip colors, as well as allow the makeup artist time to get to know your skin type and preferences, resulting in a more efficient day off service.

That time, when you and your bridesmaids are getting ready your make up and hair, is perfect time for us to make some candid photos of your dress, shoes, bouquet, etc. We have enough time to get around the place and find the perfect location for your bridal portraits.


Talk to your coordinator and see what parts of your day are the most flexible. Can the cake cutting be swapped with speeches? Do you need your photographer to stay for the bouquet toss, or should you have it after the first dances? What if there’s not enough time for a send off? Would it be easy to fake it for the photos? Be strategic when looking over your timeline and know what’s flexible before you get to the venue.


Like with any service, consult the professionals first and foremost. Your planner will be focused on the guests and making sure they are fed and happy. Your coordinator will be the one to consult with when planning cocktail hour, dinner, and dessert. They will tell you exactly how much time each event will need, even if you don’t think it will take that long. Your photographer will be best at planning when to grab those sunset photos, when to take photos with your family, and where the best spots are for pictures if we’re on a time crunch. Let them plan how much time you will need for each photo opportunity so that they are allowed to capture exactly what you need. Both professionals know that the ultimate goal for the wedding is to have fun celebrating with your friends, family, and new spouse. The last thing we want is to have you pulled away from the event too long. Let us help you enjoy the event to the maximum, even if we fall off timeline.


So what happens if all goes wrong with the timeline? You smile and breathe. Maybe even laugh a little! With your professional vendors on site, you won’t need to worry if dinner is a half hour late, because the situation is being handled. Either move it, or decide if that’s a moment you want to have memories of. Remember to give yourself grace and enjoy every moment with your guests. Make being happy your highest priority. If the timeline falls apart, at least you still had an amazing party and got to go home with the love of your life.

As we said we are there to capture your day, and we won’t leave until everything we talked about is captured 🙂


I have included our timeline worksheet that I always prepare with a help of my clients. Download a free timeline pdf to create your perfect day with ease!




error: Content is protected !!
%d bloggers like this: