I did an Instagram story this past week, where I asked my followers what would be helpful for me to create a blog post about in the wedding photography realm. One of the responses I received was how to plan a timeline for the day.
This is actually a topic I am super excited to talk about, and I know this can create the most stress for a couple planning a wedding. There’s a lot of coordination between all of the vendors that has to happen on the wedding day. Unless there is an event planner helping to plan the day, a lot of the in-between major moments planning will fall to the wedding photographer. After a few years of creating individual photography timelines for couples, I have gained quite a bit of knowledge that will help all of you out who are currently planning for your wedding day.
To start here are what I recommend for the approximate time you should reserve for different times of the day:
Details and getting ready: 1 hour - 1 & 1/2 hours
First look and portraits: 30-40 minutes
Wedding party: 30-40 minutes
Family portraits: 1 hour
Extra portrait time: as much time as you are willing to give! Sunset portraits are such a great addition to the day
Details and getting ready
I recommend an hour to an hour and a half during this beginning portion of the day. I usually start off grabbing a few detail photos as my warm up to starting the day. This includes images of invitations, shoes, jewelry, and accessories. After this it’s time for fun photos of your group, and the famous images of you putting on your dress or your tux (and seeing everyone’s reaction to you looking fabulous in your wedding day outfit).
First look and portraits
I recommend 30-40 minutes for this time, because frankly I believe this is one of the best moments of the day for my couple. I like to reserve at least half an hour because you deserve time for just the two of you. These portraits are some of the most meaningful, emotion filled moments of the day, a time for you two to be together and reflect on your wedding day.
I recommend 30-40 minutes for this time unless you have a super large wedding party, in that case I would recommend tacking on another 15 minutes. For regular sized wedding parties, this amount of time allows for group portraits, portraits of you with each of your friends/family, and some fun final group portraits as well. One thing I will say here too, I recommend scheduling this before your group starts imbibing, because then it can get infinitely harder to gather them all.
I recommend an hour for family portraits for most weddings that have a mix of immediate family with bigger groups. I am generally pretty quick for family portraits, but when it is a larger group it definitely takes some wrangling to get everyone in place and looking good. One key tip I have is to designate one family member in charge of getting each side of the family. Ex. If you have a sibling, designate them before the wedding day as the person to find that side of your family. This leaves you with less stress and they know their job on the wedding day. Another key tip is make sure you family knows where and when the portraits are ahead of time. This prevents someone from wandering into cocktail hour and having to spend time tracking them down.
Extra portrait time
One of my favorite additions to the wedding day is to schedule time shortly before sunset to grab my couple and get some beautiful sunset portraits. You will never regret stepping out for 15-20 minutes when the light is perfect and it makes you look like a rockstar.
So these are a few of my suggestions from the wedding photographer’s point of view for planning your wedding day. Feel free to email me or comment below if you have any more questions about planning your wedding day timeline.