When it comes to your wedding day it’s so important to work with your wedding planner and photographer to prepare the perfect timeline. Today I’m giving you our ideal timeline for an 8 hour wedding day. I’ve listed how much time a photographer typically likes for each section of the day and added a sample timeline for you to work with here!
There are so many elements to think about your wedding day. From getting ready to your grand exit everything is planned to strategically capture the most beautiful photos possible but how much time do you need for each part? This is a constant question I get from brides and from planners. Every photographer is different but this guide I’ve put together for you should help give you a place to start.
This is the time on your wedding day where you’re being pampered, you’re sipping mimosas and finishing up make-up and we get straight to work. We send all of our brides a Getting Ready bag and a list of all details to collect so that when we show up we can grab the bag and start photographing. We like to schedule about 25 minutes of this getting ready time solely for capturing your wedding details. We bring multiple styling boards and props to add to style your jewelry, flowers, invitations, perfume and any other memorable wedding details with. The other 35 minutes are spent capturing the finishing touches of make-up and hair, the groom getting ready, your mom zipping up your wedding dress and having your veil put on. Overall we like to have about 60 minutes to capture this really special and intimate time.
Depending on whether you choose to do a first look this part of the day can be broken down in 10 minute increments. If you are not doing a first look we always plan to shoot the groom with his groomsmen for 10 minutes after getting ready and the bride with her bridesmaids for 15 minutes after as well. Then we like to have 10 minutes to shoot the entire bridal party with the bride and groom either before the ceremony or after the ceremony. It’s best to plan for about 20-30 minutes of bridal party photos in total on your wedding day.
Bride and Groom Portraits
These are the most important photos of your entire day, these are the images that will hang on your walls and fill your albums for years to come. We love it when our couples plan to do a first look because it gives us an even greater buffer of time to capture these photos but even if you’re foregoing the first look plan to have couples portraits for at least 35 minutes. Most couples want to have multiple locations during their photos so it’s always good to add 5 minutes of “travel” time if you’re just walking from one spot at your venue to another. The most important thing to think about when it comes to your couples photos is making sure you plan for the 35 minutes to take place before sunset. If you aren’t doing a first look and plan to have these photos taken after family photos you will want to make sure to build in a 15 minute buffer for family that will inevitably be missing or cause your family photos to take longer than expected.
Depending on the size of your family this part of your day can fluctuate when it comes to scheduling. We always aim to have family photos done in 25 minutes because we know how stressful this time can be for everyone. We gather tons of information, names and details before your wedding to make sure these photos are seamless and stress-free. With that being said it’s still important to buffer this time at least 15 minutes because there is a very good chance Uncle Joe snuck off to the bar and is in line for a beer while your whole family stand waiting on him! You can also help this process to be seamless by picking a bridesmaid or family member to be in charge of reminding all of your family they need to stay after the ceremony for photos!
Before you walk down the aisle it’s important to schedule a 15 minute time-frame for us to capture the ceremony details without any guests present. These 15 minutes help give your vendors a hard stop time for set up and allow us to capture all of the details of your ceremony site uninterrupted.
It’s typically very busy for us after the ceremony but scheduling time for the reception details to be photographed before guests arrive is very important. You put so much work, money and thought into all of the details of your reception that it would be a shame for it to be photographed full of people, purses and half eaten bread loaves. We always plan to shoot an empty, fully set-up reception for 25 minutes. This time allows us to capture every tablescape, your cake, florals, and all of the beautiful little touches you incorporated in your day. This also allows you and your new hubby 25 minutes to go back and refresh, to bustle your dress, grab a drink and a bite to eat before the fun begins.
Sunset photos are always optional but we highly recommend scheduling time during your reception to sneak away for some sunset photos. These will be some of your favorite photos, whether we hop in the car and drive to the beach or just grab a few minutes in the beautiful lawn outside your reception. The best time to do this is when food service begins at your reception and we like to have about 15 minutes for these photos. Keep in mind when the sunsets in California it’s gone at that time so it’s important to plan to be ending our sunset photos at “Sunset time.”
To make all of this super easy for you I’ve put together a downloadable pdf with all of this information and a sample timeline. This timeline is the perfect starting point for any bride and will immensely help you determine how to schedule your day and give you the perfect tool to share with your wedding planner.