Each wedding has its own beauty, including yours. These are just approximations from weddings that we’ve done in the past. If you have a very large wedding party or a very small wedding party some of the pre-ceremony times would change.Take this sample wedding photography timeline with an eye on your own needs, omitting and adding as needed.
Location: Hotel Room, Suite, or Home - 1-2 hours
• Bride & Bridesmaids getting ready (make up and putting on the dress)
• Mother of the bride or maid of honor helping to dress and zip up the bride's wedding dress
• Detail shots of the dress, shoes, rings and accessories
• Groom getting ready, Groomsmen pinning the boutonnire
• Detail shot of the groom's blazer, watch and shoes
• A lot of candid shots for both the bride and groom's side
• A few informal portraits
TIP: When we first arrive, we’ll photograph your details first. Having your dress/suit, shoes, jewelry, and flowers all together in one area when we arrive ensures that we’ll have more time to photograph your details. Pre-wedding preparation areas can be wonderfully chaotic, and sometimes we need to take your dress/outfit to a quieter, better lit area, which can be anywhere from a hotel hallway to the outdoors.
These photos are the only way the couple will be able to share with each other the moments they spent getting ready for the big day (unless you're getting ready together!). During this time, your photographers will split up with the couple (if you want!) and focus on candid photojournalism: couple and their crew nervously helping with cufflinks and pinning boutonnieres, and getting into dresses. This emotion-filled time often become the most favorite photos of the day.
First Look or The Reveal
Location : Hotel or Venue - 30 minutes
(when you see each other before the ceremony)
TIP : Choosing whether or not to do a “first look” is a personal decision. I think it’s a good idea because it allows you to take many of your wedding photos before your ceremony so that you can enjoy your cocktail hour with your guests.
This can be a wonderful time to breath in the moment, shut out all of stress of guests and timelines, and just be together.
If you decide to stick with tradition and wait until the ceremony to see your husband or wife to be, you can expect to spend your entire cocktail hour (and possibly more) taking portraits. Be sure to decide which path you prefer to take before creating your wedding photography timeline.
•Ceremony & Details
Including the details and venue - up to 1 hour & 30 minutes
• Actual ceremony alone usually lasts 30 minutes, for Catholic, Christian & other wedding ceremonies - about an hour
TIP: Prior to the actual ceremony, this is the time we get photos of the venue or church as guests arrive. With all the hustle and bustle of the day, the couple will most likely never get to see the ceremony venue fully and all of its details. This is the chance for us not only to get those establishing shots, but also the anticipation as family and friends greet each other for the first time that day.
•Bridal Party and Family Portraits
Location : Church or Venue (before or after the ceremony) - 1 hour & 30 minutes
*Group shots of families with bride & groom
• Couple with bride’s parents
• Couple with bride’s parents and siblings
• Couple with bride’s parents, siblings and grandparents
• Couple with both sets of parents
• Couple with groom’s parents
• Couple with groom’s parents and siblings
• Couple with groom’s parents, siblings, and grandparents
*Group shot of entire wedding party
• Couple with wedding party
• Couple with bridesmaids
• Couple with groomsmen
• Bride with bridemaids
• Groom with groomsmen
• Fun and creative shots of the bridal party
TIP: Family first so when they're done, they can join the cocktail hour right away.
And depending on the size of your families, and the importance to you of extended family photos, some couple choose to make lists of group pictures, wanted to ensure no one is missed, and some choose to just kind of wing it. Whichever option is more you, it is always helpful to have a family member from each side as a helper, to round everyone up and make sure everyone important is included. And if you haven’t done a first look, this time will be divided between family photos, wedding party, and then portraits with just the couple. So make sure you leave plenty of time!
Bride and Groom Portraits
Just the two of you! This can be done after the ceremony or during sunset hour - 30 minutes
• Includes the bride and groom solos
• Traditional, Romantic, Journalistic and Fun shots
TIP: Don’t let your nervousness ruin your wedding pictures. Feeling relaxed deep inside yourself, would make you look and appear more relaxed on your wedding photos. Try to breathe deep and not to rush through the moments. Enjoy the day and take your time and don't forget to crack a smile! :). I am nice and will never let you feel uncomfortable! ;)
Includes the Cocktail hour - 4-5 hours
• Reception room detail shots
• The grand entrance
• Traditions (speeches, bouquet toss, garter, cake cutting)
• Dancing shots (bride & groom, father & bride,mother & groom etc..)
• Photos of key people
• Bride & groom interacting with guests
• Detail shots of flowers, tables, decorations
• Couple leaving event
TIP: During cocktail hour is the perfect time for us to get all those reception details, including centerpieces, gift tables, cake, and any other homemade or important elements in the room, as well as getting our lighting set up for the evening’s events. However if we are doing the portraits during the cocktail hour, I'd ask that you give us at least 15 minutes to take detail shots of the reception room before guests enter in. Also some couples love a few romantic shots of just the two of them in the room before their guests are allowed in.
Just to summarize my suggested photography timeline :
• Getting ready - 1-1.5 hour
• First Look - 30 minutes
• Decor shots - 30 minutes (please ask your stylist/florist to be done on time)
• Ceremony - 30 minute - 1 hour (depending on the ceremony)
• Family & Group shots with the bride & groom - 30 minutes
• Bridesmaids + Groomsmen with the Bride & Groom - 30 minutes
• Couple shots - 30 minutes
• Reception - totally up to you (but usually 3-4 hours) - I do suggest that you do the speeches, special dances, cake cutting, garter & bouquet toss before opening the dance floor.