A Photographer’s Guide to Your Wedding Day Timeline

Bride and Groom Cheer as they walk down the aisle together in Newport Vineyards Wedding | A Photographer's Guide to Your Wedding Day Timeline

One of the most common emails I see hitting my inbox from couples is asking for help when it comes to putting together their wedding day timeline from a photographer’s perspective. Your planner and venue coordinator will be able to help with scheduling your ceremony timeline and when speeches and key moments will fit in during your wedding day but it’s always helpful to have the perspective of your wedding photographer with how long they would like for key photo moments during your wedding day. 

I want my couples feeling as relaxed as possible throughout their day because the more relaxed you are, let’s be honest, the better your photos are going to look. You don’t want to feel rushed to head to the next thing on your day but you’ve also invested a lot of money in your photographer so it’s important to really take the time needed. 

I’ve broken down my preference for time allocations for important photos during your wedding day. Use these just as a guide – every wedding day is different and make them work for you! 

Bride's dress and shoe details during Boston Wedding | A Photographer's Guide to Your Wedding Day Timeline

Getting Ready

These photos really set the tone for your wedding day, the excitement, anticipation and those little details that lead up to the big moments. In order to capture your details, getting dressed and some candid moments I suggest a minimum of 45 minutes of photography time for EACH of you. Preferably, a full hour that way we can capture a few portraits while you’re getting pumped up for the rest of your day. 

Bride and groom embrace in Sturbridge Wedding

First Look & Couple’s Portraits

A lot of couples choose to do a first look prior to the ceremony but a great deal decide not to. I want to stress first of all that either preference is ok! As a photographer, yes I love first looks and the way they make the timeline flow BUT it’s not my wedding day, it’s YOURS. 

Regardless of whether or not you decide to do a first look, having a minimum of 45 minutes for the two of you to enjoy each other’s company as a couple without having to worry about everyone else. Take a moment, talk to each other, share how you’re feeling. 

Large group photo of bride and groom with wedding guests at Hammond Castle Museum, Gloucester MA

Family Photos

This part of the day can sometimes be a little stressful. I suggest coming up with a list of up to 10 key groups that you want photos with on your wedding day and making sure those people are aware ahead of time where they need to be and when. With a list and people knowing they’re needed we can flow straight through in approximately 30 minutes. 

If you’re doing a first look I suggest taking family photos prior to the ceremony so that you can really enjoy your cocktail hour and be guests at the wedding you’ve put work into planning! 

Groomsmen and Groom pose together in Sturbridge MA wedding | A Photographer's Guide to Your Wedding Day Timeline

Wedding Party Photos

These people are important to you and you want to make sure you capture the personality of your support crew. Much like family photos I like to spend 30 minutes capturing as many combinations as possible, and if you’re having a first look before the ceremony is a great time to get these done. We can have fun with it, you can have a model moment. If you’re not having a wedding party, you can use this time to take photos with important guests like college friends or extended family. 

Tattooed Bride wearing Calla Blanche Wedding Gown poses with groom for portrait at James Ward Mansion Wedding | A Photographer's Guide to Your Wedding Day Timeline

Sunset & Dusk Photos

This is optional but every time I can help make this happen for my couples the photos are totally worth it. Taking 20 minutes out of a day jam packed with people to take a breath with your love and truly just soak in all the love and energy of the day during your cocktail hour or reception is a true gift on your wedding day. 

I hope these tips make you feel a little more at ease when it comes to putting together your timeline. You can click here to download your very own Timeline Cheat sheet to keep handy while planning your wedding! 

Jemima Richards

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