TIMELESS WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

for the classic couple celebrating legacy, style, and a lifetime of romance

THE BLOG

Welcome to

More Categories

FOR BRIDES

MARRIAGE

PERSONAL

BUSINESS

Socialize

Browse Posts

Weddings

Browse Posts

ENGAGEMENTS

Search :

Browse Posts

ANNIVERSARIES

 Hi, we're

Welcome to our blog! We are a husband & wife photography team based in Madison, Wisconsin who document weddings & anniversaries for joyful couples who believe in marriage. This blog is a journal about real love stories, marriage & our own adventures along the way! We are so glad you're here — please stay awhile!

MAISON      CALEB

&

LIFESTYLE

Creating Your Wedding Day Timeline | A Sample Timeline & Tips for a Stress-Free Day.

March 31, 2020

Questions about creating the wedding day timeline is, by far, one of the topics we spend the most time on with our couples! Since so much of the wedding day is planned around photos, we are really happy to help our couples create a plan that is perfect for them and their needs and desires. Every couple is different and the majority have never planned a wedding before, so working together to create their happiest day is extremely important!

We have found, without a doubt, that couples who intentionally take time to talk about, think through, and thoroughly plan their wedding day have a much more enjoyable expe­rience when the day actual­ly arrives. Regardless of what their priorities are for the day! Things flow more smoothly because the couple, their bridal party, and their fami­ly all know where to be and when. And, as a result, chaotic and stressful situations are easily avoided and our couples spend less time doing things like answering people’s ques­tions throughout the day and more time simply enjoying cocktails with their guests : ) Now that sounds like a wed­ding day we all want!

Since most couples nowadays are opting do a first look (I wrote a different blog post about first looks here!), I am going to share a sample timeline that includes a first look. However, I will also finish this post by sharing our recommended / ideal amounts of times for photos throughout the day no matter what your timeline looks like!

best-madison-wisconsin-wedding-photography

TIMELINE TIME

If we had to create the ideal timeline for a wed­ding day, the one below would be it. Each section explains our thoughts regarding the various parts of the day! Believe us when we say that a well-thought-out, well-planned timeline can truly make or break your wedding pho­tography. We want our couples to receive images that they love and are proud of, but it’s im­portant to know that these images don’t just happen out of nowhere. We have to plan and work with our couples to create a time and a space for many of these shots and moments to be beautifully captured.  

Two notes before we get started:

  1. If you have travel time during your day, it is very important to add this in to your timeline (ie: from the getting ready spot to the first look, from the ceremony to reception, etc!); otherwise your day will run behind right from the start!
  2. It is also important to factor in “transition time” (which you will see in the timeline below where there are 5-10 minute spots left ‘unmarked’). Transition time accounts for things like … gathering belongings and walking to the bus, getting off the bus and walking into the church, etc. I definitely realize this is getting very detailed into the specifics of the timeline but since it is helpful for my brain and planning, I am sharing it in hopes it is helpful for others, too!  

SAMPLE TIMELINE (for a Wedding Day with a First Look, Ceremony & Reception at the Same Venue, and a 8:20 Sunset)

You can make adjustments accordingly based on the logistics of your day

12:00-1:00/1:00 Details

1:15-1:30 Getting Ready Photos of Bridesmaids

1:30-1:55 Bride Gets into Dress

2:00-2:15 First Look

2:15-2:45 Bride & Groom Photos

2:45-3:25 Bridal Party Photos

3:30-3:55 Freshen up, Bridal Party in Hiding

4:00-4:30 Ceremony

No receiving line

4:40-5:20 Family Photos

5:30 Cocktail Hour

6:30 Reception

7:30 Sunset Photos

8:00 First Dances

12:00-1:00/1:10 Details

  • We begin the day by photographing all of the special details as soon as we arrive. This is also our time to get warmed up and ready to shoot the rest of the moments of the day! 

1:15-1:30 Getting Ready Photos of Bridesmaids

  • Sometime during details, Caleb will go meet the guys. Since they usually take less time to get ready, it will be about 40 minutes before the first look. I photograph the girls getting ready as soon as I’m done shooting details. That way, getting ready shots are taken after hair and makeup are complete! 

1:30-1:55 Bride Gets into Dress

  • It is important to note that all bridesmaids and the MOB should be dressed at this time. After the bride is in her dress, I photograph her putting on her veil, jewelry, and shoes, as well as take some additional bridal portraits if time allows.

2:00-2:15 First Look

  • By far the best moment of the day! The bride and groom finally get to see each other and it is such a sweet and intimate time. We like to do the first look with just the bride, groom, and photographers to ensure there are no distractions and everyone can be themselves : ) We often help choose this location day-of to make sure we have the best lighting!

2:15-2:45 Bride & Groom Photos

  • We love shooting portraits of the couple immediately following the first look because emotions are high and images authentic : )

2:45-3:25 Bridal Party Photos

  • Toward the end of the portrait time, the bridal party makes their way to us. We spend the next 45 or so minutes capturing some full group shots as well as the girls together, guys together, etc. It is super helpful to have boutonnières on and bouquets ready at this point! 

3:30-3:55 Freshen up, Bridal Party in hiding

  • After bridal party shots are completed, the bride can go into hiding so that no guests see her until the ceremony begins. This is also a great time for the bridal party to freshen up before the ceremony … grab a drink of water, have a snack, and complete any necessary hair and makeup retouches.

4:00-4:30 Ceremony

*This timeline has no receiving line; we do suggest 20 minutes per 100 guests for a receiving line time estimation

4:40-5:20 Family Photos

  • As a general rule of thumb, we tell couples to plan 3 minutes per photo for groups over 10 people and 1-2 minutes for groups under 10 people! It is also extremely helpful to make sure family knows ahead of time where they need to be and when! Trust us ; ) We have a great blog post dedicated to family photos here!

5:30 Cocktail Hour

  • During this time, one of us generally shoots the reception details while the other photographs cocktail hour. We highly recommend having the cocktail hour in a different space than the reception (if possible!) so we can photograph all the gorgeous details in an empty room, free of guests! 

6:30 Reception

  • A lot of couples like to do a Grand Entrance to get the party started! We will photograph this and then capture the rest of the evening’s moments as they naturally unfold. Most receptions follow a general welcome/ dinner/toasts/dance timeline.

7:30 Sunset Photos

  • “Golden hour” (30-60 minutes before sunset) is an amazing time to get some newly married portraits because of the romantic, soft, *golden* lighting! It’s also a wonderful time to sneak away for a little more alone time. 

8:00 First Dances

  • As soon as we are done with sunset portraits, most couples will go right into the first dance, followed by the family dances. We will generally stay for a few more songs to get shots of the guests dancing and then our coverage ends!
best-madison-wedding-photographer

SUGGESTED PHOTO TIMES FOR ANY WEDDING DAY TIMELINE:

Details & Prep: 90-120 minutes

First Look: 15 minutes

Bride & Groom Photos: 30 minutes

Bridal Party: 45 minutes

Receiving Line: 20 minutes per 100 guests

Family Photos: 30 minutes

Sunset Photos: 20 minutes

*For easy access later on when you’re planning your wedding timeline, we created the downloadable PDF below that you can save to your computer!

For additional planning posts in our “For Brides” section of the blog, click here!

For Brides

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

@MAISONMEREDITH

Follow along on instagram

@MAISONMEREDITH

Follow along on instagram