Wedding Day Timeline Tips

After photographing over 100+ weddings, we quickly learned the importance of helping our couples create a timeline for their wedding day! This is something we do for all of our couples after our initial phone call to help them while they move forward with their planning.

While every photographer is different, we have found that this is what works best for us and our style to help make sure things run smoothly on the wedding day. The examples below are a great place to start, but we find that every wedding day is different! There are many factors to consider, such as location & travel between getting ready-ceremony-reception, if you choose to share a first look, length of ceremony, how many people are in your wedding party, and what time the sunsets!

The example timelines outlined below are based on 8 hours, where getting ready-ceremony-reception all happening at the same location and there is a late day sunset.

Example Timeline with a First Look

1:00 – Photographer arrives at venue and begins with bridal details and finishing touches of hair/makeup
2:00 -2:30 – Bride gets dressed. Groom gets dressed
2:30-3:15- First Look + Bride & Groom Portraits 
3:15-4:00- Full Wedding Party/ Bride with Bridesmaids/Groom with Groomsmen
4:00-4:30- Family Formals
4:30-5:00- Bride in Hiding while guests arrive
5:00-5:30- Ceremony
5:35-5:45- Extended Family Formals if requested
5:30-6:30 – Cocktail Hour
6:45-7:30- Intro/First dance/blessing/toasts/Parent dances
7:30- Dinner
8:15pm – Cake Cutting
8:20- DANCE
9:00 -Photographers depart
10:30- Reception Ends

Wedding Timeline without a First Look

2:00 – Photographer arrives at venue and begins with bridal details and finishing touches of hair/makeup
3:15 – Bride gets dressed. Groom gets dressed
3:45-4:15 – Bride with Bridesmaids
4:15-4:45- Groom with Groomsmen
4:30-5:00- Bride in Hiding while guests arrive
5:00-5:30- Ceremony
5:35-5:55- Family Formals
5:55-6:10 – Full Wedding Party
6:10-6:30 Bride and Groom Portraits 
5:30-6:30- Cocktail Hour
6:40-7:20- Intro/First dance/blessing/toasts/Parent dances
7:30- Dinner
8:15pm – Cake Cutting
8:30 – DANCE 
10:00 – Photographer departs
10:30- Reception Ends

The Details

After we greet you with a big hug and an obvious squeal, we will grab all of your details and get started. We love using this time to get the creative juices flowing, while the bride is beginning hair and makeup.

Getting Ready

Once we are finished with the details, we will photograph the finishing touches of hair and makeup. This is also the perfect time to grab a few pictures with your bridesmaids while popping champagne and celebrating. Then it’s time to get our bride in her dress! We always ask for the bridesmaids, or those helping, to be dressed so that they look great in the photos too!

First Look

This is one of our favorite parts of the wedding day! It is one of the only moments of your wedding day where you will be alone with your soon to be Husband/Wife! We will find perfect private spot and step back as the moment unfolds!

Bride + Groom Portraits

Now that you’ve finally seen each other, we will take some time to capture portraits of the two of you around your venue while all the initial excitement is still present!

Wedding Party Portraits

As we begin to wrap up pictures of the Bride & Groom, the wedding party can begin to make their way to us. We typically begin with everyone together for a few large shots of all of your favorite people. There will always be a combination of traditional and some more guided candid poses.
Then we will split up. I will take the bride and bridesmaids, and the second photographer will take the groom with the groomsmen. This allows us to accomplish more in less time! During this time we will take a few more group pictures of just the bride with her bridesmaids and the groom with his groomsmen and then also make sure you have a paired shot of each member of your wedding party

Family Formals

Communication is key when it comes to family formals. We always send out a pre wedding questionnaire that allows you to list the names and groupings of those you would like to be in these pictures! Although some couples worry about the logistics of this portion of the day, we’ve created a great flow that allows us to quickly transition between each grouping without having to pull people in and out of pictures a hundred times. We suggesting keeping it to just immediate family prior to the ceremony, and saving a few minutes post ceremony for those extended family groupings.

Ceremony Details

The bride is now tucked away in a safe spot so that early arriving guest do not see her. We will take this time to capture your ceremony space and decor before all of your guests are seated.


The most magical part of your entire day, the reason we are all there, it’s time to get married! Our goal during the ceremony is to be a fly on the wall. I will be up at the front by the first row of guests, only as the bride walks down the aisle! This will allow me to not only capture the grooms reaction, but also the bride from the front. During this time, the second photographer will be photographing the bride being escorted down the aisle from behind. The rest of our time is spent capturing both the planned and candid moments of your ceremony. Most ceremonies last about 30 minutes but we will adjust accordingly if yours will be longer.

Cocktail Hour/Reception Details

If you’ve shared a first look, I will spend part of cocktail hour photographing your reception space before guests are able to get in and put their things down! We will make sure to capture all of your decor and details that you put so much time into.

Sunset Portraits

Depending on the time of year, time of ceremony, and weather, we love to sneak you away for a few extra minutes before you are announced into the reception for some sunset pictures!


At this point of the night, our timeline becomes a little more relaxed! It’s time for the band/DJ to take over! We will make sure to capture all of the main events of your night and any additional group shots you may want!

Remember, no two wedding days are exactly alike! We will always work with our couples to create a timeline that best fits their needs.

Featured Weddings:
Mountain Spring Lake Resort Wedding – Mr. and Mrs. Leight
Penn Oaks Wedding – Mr. and Mrs. Podolski
The Ballroom at Ellis Preserve Wedding – Mr. and Mrs. Hull
The Merion New Jersey Wedding – Mr. and Mrs. Bordner
The Ballroom at Ellis Preserve Wedding – Mr. and Mrs. Signorelli
Talamore Country Club Wedding – Mr. and Mrs. Zhang
Rose Bank Winery Wedding – Mr. and Mrs. Brown

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