How To Plan Your Wedding Timeline



Let’s talk about your wedding timeline. This is the bedrock of your wedding day, and without it nothing will happen like it’s supposed to and everyone will be confused. Of course as a bride or groom, it’s hard to know where to begin with this since you most likely haven’t planned a wedding before. We help all of our couples come up with a timeline that will be as stress free and smooth as possible. Sometimes venues will come up with a timeline, but we find that they are often extremely tight and leave no room for error (things like someone in the wedding party moving more slowly than the others which happens ALL the time) and also tend to cut photo time too short which can make things rushed and stressful. If you have a wedding planner, they are experienced in coming up with good timelines as well, but we still like to have input since we are the experts on making your photo experience as relaxed as possible.


The first thing we always like to talk about is considering a first look. If you haven’t thought about it yet (or even if you have), read my post about it here. A first look will provide us with all the time we need to capture the beautiful, heartfelt portraits of the two of you that we focus our wedding work around without being rushed or pulled in different directions by all of the people wanting to talk to you. It also gives us the opportunity to photograph you in your most real, beautifully emotional state of seeing each other for the first time on your wedding day, something that is impossible to capture in the same way while we are trying to stay out of the way on the ceremony aisle and deal with guests jumping in the aisle in front of us. But I’ll let the first look post do all the talking, so read that before you continue on!


We ask all of our couples to give us a minimum of 1.5- to 2 hours of time for portraits including the family group photos, bridal party photos and the photos of the two of you. This allows us to take the time we need to create beautiful portraits that aren’t rushed and that are authentic. Early on in our business we photographed a lot of weddings with rushed timelines that left hardly any time for photos, and we found that over and over again that the portraits of our couples could have been so much more authentic if the couple were not so stressed by the timeline. We rushed our timeline at our own wedding as I THOUGHT I “only wanted candids”. Boy was that a mistake. I immediately regretted not letting the photographer take more photos of us when we got our photos back and there was only 1 posed photo of the two of us that I liked, and it wasn’t even a full length photo.


Photos taken at Kurt Boomer Workshops | Styling by Joy Proctor | Dress from Shop Gossamer | Hair and Makeup by Jess Wilcox | Flowers by Amy Osaba | Venue Sunstone Villa

If you choose not to do a first look, make sure your cocktail hour is planned accordingly and there is plenty for guests to entertain themselves with during the 1.5 to 2 hours you will take for photos. If you are holding the reception in the same venue as the ceremony this will be even more difficult, and we don’t recommend not doing a first look. Here are 2 different sample timelines that we give our clients. Best times for photos will vary greatly depending on the season, so please keep that in mind when choosing a time for your ceremony and ask us if you are unsure. This is a timeline that would be ideal in the summer when the sun sets around 9:00pm.

Timeline including first look

3:00pm Getting ready photos of bride and groom with their wedding party

3:45pm First look with bride and groom only

4:15pm Bridal party join bride and groom for photos

4:45pm Family photos

5:30pm Bridal party and bride and groom are relaxing inside waiting for the ceremony to start, guests begin arriving

6:00pm Ceremony

6:30pm Ceremony end

6:30pm or 7:00pm A few more photos of bride and groom (time depending on travel)

7:00 or 7:30pm Entrance into reception

If your location has a spectacular sunset spot, plan for another 15 minutes around sunset time which we can advise you on. These are not photos that are able to be taken at most weddings and if you have the location to do them, you will not want to miss it.

Timeline without first look

4:00pm Getting ready photos of bride and groom with their wedding party

4:30pm Bridal party and bride and groom are relaxing inside waiting for the ceremony to start, guests begin arriving

5:00pm Ceremony

5:30pm Ceremony end,  family photos first followed by bridal party photos and then bride and groom photos

7:15pm-7:45pm Entrance into reception (If travel between locations is needed, 2 hours should be the minimum amount of time allowed for photos)