So as you’re planning your wedding, you realize pretty quickly that you need a wedding day timeline of sorts. Well, I have good news! There is no reason to wait until the very end of your planning to start curating one! Instead, you can look at your timeline as a flexible blueprint for you to work with/finalize as you figure out your wedding timeline.
Here’s how it works…
Below is a basic shot list I use, along with the average amount of time for each event. (Also included is suggested places for each shot.) I encourage you to pair this with your notes as you map out your wedding day. This is so you can make sure you have plenty of time and breaks when you need them!
About 2 hours before ceremony start time, I start my coverage by meeting you at your getting ready location, and I begin capturing your ”getting ready” photos. These typically take around 20-30 minutes between the two of you in your respective rooms and depending on location. Sometimes a bridal party might want photos here when they’re in matching robes, or a groom doing shots with his party.
I then take your details (things like rings, bouquet, veil, dress, shoes, jewelry, perfume, invitations, cuff links, etc.) to a separate area, typically outdoors. Detail shots can take anywhere from 30-45 minutes. I’ll also take pictures of the venue, and the ceremony and reception spots as soon as they are ready.
Last Minute Getting Ready
For brides, this is when all your party is ready to go, and you’re about to step into your dress. For grooms, this is when you and your party are already dressed and I take a few more detail shots: buttoning up the vest, attaching boutonnieres, fixing your wristwatch, etc. These take about 15-30 minutes total.
As much as possible, I like to take pictures of each 1/2 of the couple with their respective parties indoors, to avoid any hot weather in suits or “melty makeup”. But if there’s a pretty spot outside, and it’s not too hot out and time allows, I might try and make that happen! (These photos are an additional 30 minutes. See “Wedding Party” section below for an option to take these then.)
I love first looks! But know that this is an optional step if you are going the more traditional route. Included in this category are first looks with a parent or loved one, siblings, or the wedding party. Also included here is a “first prayer”, “private vows”, or “first touch”.
I help orchestrate these, and they are typically done by placing one of you at a spot near a getting ready room, and bringing the other to follow. You don’t see each other, but you still get to talk before you do. It helps ease the nerves while building on the excitement, not to mention you get some sweet photos! Depending on how many you’re having, each one can take about 10 minutes.
Here I capture the entire ceremony in a story-telling fashion. I’ll be there before either of you as the guests start coming in. And if I have a second shooter there with me we’ll plan out where each of us will be. This takes however long you plan on your ceremony being.
Immediately following the ceremony, after you’re pronounced married (eeeeep!), within 5-10 minutes I start going through the family combination photos. These are photos you sent either me or your planner to give to me. This can take anywhere from 15-20 minutes, and the best place to take them is right at the ceremony spot. The reason for this is so we don’t risk having any of your family members walk away before they get their picture with you.
Wedding Party Photos
I’ll then take the both of you with your wedding party to take pictures either at the ceremony location, or at another part on the grounds. These photos take around 15 minutes. If I haven’t yet captured each of you with your respective parties at this point, I’ll do so here as well. They take an additional 10 minutes, and will include additional shots of you with each member of your party.
I’ll send away your wedding party and take you both for a bit of a breather to capture your newlywed photos! This is my favorite part of the day. It can be as long as you want it to be, but I’d recommend 15-20 minutes for this portion. I’ll also let you take your time in getting to your reception as I go in and start setting up for your entrance.
It’s party time! Again, like for your ceremony, I’ll capture this part in a story-telling fashion.
(A side note: Since most people do not like photos taken of them chewing, most photographers will grab a bite to eat during this time when your guests are all eating as well. We are careful to time this after any first dances or before any speeches, etc.)
Sometimes couples opt to have a private dance while all of their guests start lining up for the send-off. However you choose to end the night, whether it’s dancing the night away, or having an official send-off with bubbles or sparklers, I’ll be ready.
And that’s it! Keep in mind that things can easily get moved around if needed. And again, use this alongside any of your notes as you plan your wedding day.
Need a wedding planner? Check out Sarabeth Events, a luxury wedding event planning company serving Dallas & Fort Worth, TX!
(Click here for my Journal entry on How I Photograph Weddings Different Than Other Photographers)