February 9, 2020

Wedding Day Timeline - The How & Where of Planning Your Wedding Day Photos

Wedding, Wedding Planning, Coffee Conversations

Your special day is finally here.... but what time do you need to be ready for pictures??

A few of our most frequently asked questions from couples planning their wedding are things like “How long do I need to plan for pictures?”, "What time should we start?", "How long should my photography/videography coverage be?"

 Well we'd love to help you with that! We know everyone's wedding day is going to look just a little bit different from anyone else's, and we love to help you tailor your timeline to your wedding day in a way that stays true to the vision you have. With that in mind, here is the basic formula we use to help you decide how much time you need for photos during each part of your day!

Getting Ready Photos

30-90 minutes:

We use this time to get photos of the two of you hanging out with your best friends and preparing for the day ahead, as well as capturing all the little details such as dress, jewelry, shoes, suit, etc. that you’ve so carefully chosen. This is a totally optional part of the day for photos, but if you’d like any photos of the things mentioned above it’s best to plan for time here! The more details you’d like captured, the longer we suggest for photos. 30 minutes is the bare minimum for getting a few pictures of your dress or suit, and putting your dress or suit on with the finishing touches.

*Our coverage includes two photographers for your day, one will be with each half of the wedding party during this time.

Bride + Groom Photos

30-60 minutes:

How much time to plan for this part of your photos depends on a few factors, such as: 

  • How many pictures you’d like of just the two of you.
  • How many different backgrounds you’d like (this doesn’t mean you need to find many different spots…. but it’s nice to have a few options!).
  • If you want only the more formal, posed portraits; or if you’re looking to have more candid pictures of the two of you just being you captured as well.

*If you’re doing multiple locations and will be driving from one place to another, be sure to include time for traveling both there and back when choosing the length of time for this photo set!

Bridal Party Photos

30-60 minutes:

30 minutes is generally sufficient for the basic photo groupings, however if you'd like any or all of the things listed below, more time is required.

  • a large variety of poses for each grouping (more than 2-3 poses for each photo set)
  • to move around the location for different backgrounds,
  • or individual pictures with each of your attendants.

*If you’re doing multiple locations and will be driving from one place to another, be sure to include time for traveling both there and back when choosing the length of time for this photo set!

Family Photos

30-45 minutes:

As with the bridal party photos, if you’re moving around or are planning to have photos done with extended family, plan for a little extra time.

Timeline examples

Here are two examples of what a wedding day might look like using these suggestions with a 30 minute long ceremony beginning at 3:30pm.

Timeline 1 - with a First Look

This example is for the couple who plans to see each other before the ceremony, with the goal of having all formal photos finished before the ceremony.

For this example I’m going to allot 60 minutes for Bride + Groom photos, 60 minutes for Getting Ready photos, 45 minutes for Bridal Party photos, and 45 minutes for Family photos, all before the ceremony.

11:30 - 12:30 {Getting Ready Photos}

12:30 - 1:30 {First Look + Bride & Groom Photos}

1:30 - 2:15 {Bridal Party Photos}

2:15 - 3:00 {Family Photos}

3:00 {All formal photos done}

3:30 {Ceremony}

*in this timeline i’ve allowed 45 minutes for Family Photos rather than the 30 minutes allowed in the next example for two reasons: 1. In case family members are a little late arriving at your location or finishing their getting ready preparations. 2. In the next example the Family Photos are immediately following the ceremony, so everyone is already in the same place at that point and there’s no waiting for everyone to gather.

Timeline 2 - When not seeing each other before the ceremony

If you and your fiancé are NOT planning to see each other until your walk down the aisle, this timeline is for you. Group formal photos will be done after the ceremony is finished, with the exception of some Bridal Party photos that can be done beforehand with just the large group pictures being done later, as in the example below.

For this example I’m going to allot:

  • Before the ceremony: 60 minutes for Getting Ready Photos, 30 minutes for Bride + Bridesmaids photos, 30 minutes for Groom + Groomsmen photos.
  • After the ceremony: 15 minutes for full bridal party, 30 minutes for Bride & Groom Photos, and 30 minutes for Family Photos.

1:00 - 2:00 {Getting Ready Photos}

2:00 - 2:30 {Groom + Groomsmen Photos}

2:30 - 3:00 {Bride + Bridesmaids Photos}

3:00 {formal photos done}

3:30 - 4:00 {Ceremony}

4:45 - 5:15 {Family Photos}

5:15 - 5:30 {Bridal Party - full group}

5:30 - 6:00 {Bride & Groom Photos}

*I've allowed less time for Bride + Groom photos in this timeline than there is in the first example for the sake of an assumed Reception start time of around 6:00pm.
**This timeline does not allow any extra time for a Receiving Line to greet your guests immediately following the ceremony, or for a Social Hour.