Wedding Timeline Guide

I ask every Bride to work on a Wedding Timeline. Whether or not she has a coordinator or wedding planner, having a timeline that someone can follow is essential for the day going smoothly. And it becomes easier for everyone if we all work together to outline the day. The wedding planner and I can easily give advice on how much time photography sessions will take. This is my way of making sure you get the photos and moments that you want captured.

So where to begin? I'll start with the typical/ideal times needed to capture the main details of a wedding and then we can talk about logistics.

Details (rings, dress, shoes, etc) ~ 30-45 minutes
Getting Ready (candid photos & putting on the dress/suit) ~ 30-45 minutes
Bridal Portraits ~ 30 minutes
Groom Portraits ~ 30 minutes
First Look ~ 30-45 minutes
Wedding Party ~ 60 minutes
Ceremony Details (before guests arrive) ~ 30 minutes
Ceremony ~ 30-90 minutes depending on your affiliation
Family Formals ~ plan for about 3 minutes per group photo
Couples Session ~ 60 minutes
Cocktail Hour ~ 30 minutes
Reception Details (before guests arrive) ~ 30-60 minutes
Reception ~ Depends on the activities and events taking place!

Logistically there are a couple of things to notice. If there is no first look, I typically recommend a longer couple's session after the ceremony. If I am working with a second shooter for the big day, there are things we can both cover simultaneously that make the system go smoothly.

Hopefully, this helps give you some ideas about ideal timelines in a wedding day. Let me know in the comments below what is the most important part of the day for you!

Wedding Day Details

The start of a wedding day can be hectic. Most Brides experience anxiety and stress with regards to timeline, details, and keeping everyone on track. This is a main reason why I recommend using a wedding coordinator, but that's another story. I wanted create a reminder for Bride's on the details that they should bring with them at the start of the day for me to photograph while they are getting ready. It might be helpful to designate someone to hold these details for me and have them deliver the goods after I've finished with the photos.

Items to remember for wedding day

For the Bride:

Bridal Gown with wooden hanger
All the rings - Engagement, her band, and his band
A full invitation suite of the wedding invites
Wedding flowers/bouquet
Jewelry you will be wearing

For the Groom:

Cuff Links

Keep in mind to remind me of any special details that are specific to you. For example, if you have Grandma's handkerchief wrapped around your bouquet of flowers, let me know so I can be sure it get's photographed. What's the most important detail on wedding day for you? Be sure to mention it in the comments below.

My Cupcake Wedding Disaster

Before you start to hyperventilate at the thought of ruined cupcakes (I know, SAVE the cupcakes!), we did get everything fixed in the end. So calm down and relax, but stay with me as I'll be giving you some tips to make sure this does NOT happen to you.

My wedding took place in the woods. Which made it very difficult to think of cakes and wedding vendors finding their way out there. So I decided it would be easier to order a bunch of cupcakes and drive them out to the site ourselves. The tricky part was that the nearest bakery was more than almost two hours away. 

That's fine, I'm extremely grateful to have an amazing mother-in-law who drove out there with her baby grand-daughter to pick them up. It gave her an excuse to spend more one-on-one time with the baby. 

This is where things got screwy. When my mother-in-law arrived, the bakery said they don't have my cupcakes. Not only that, they don't even have my order. I'm sorry, what?! I looked back at my emails with them and I had even given a credit card number to hold the order. There's no way they can say I didn't have it pre-ordered. 

They're response: Well there aren't any cupcakes. So my trooper of a mother-in-law looks her dead in the eye and says, "You better make some now then. I'll wait." And she waits for a few hours at the store for my only wedding desserts. 

I'm extremely grateful for the way things turned out, but I share this story as a word of caution. Communication is huge with wedding vendors. I should've probably called the day before to confirm. But I didn't. Make sure you have a follow up with your vendors before the wedding day. 

Or just have an awesome mother-in-law who kicks butt and takes names. Either option is ideal.