The Ultimate Wedding Day Timeline for Photography and Real Wedding Samples

November 06, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Whether you are the Couple-To-Be or the photographer, you will find that Time is Queen! Over the years, I have finessed the average time that I allocate for every part of any full-day wedding that I shoot, from classic white weddings, to cultural Indian weddings. Each and every wedding have their own unique flair... your Timeline should be unique too!

First, Finalize!

Before even starting on your Wedding Day Timeline, make sure you have finalized your own unique decisions on the following details:

  • Where are you getting ready?
  • Where is your S/O getting ready?
    Note: If you booked for only one photographer, consider travel time between multiple locations.
  • Do you want a First Look with your wedding party and/or parents and where?
  • Do you want a First Look with your S/O before the ceremony, or keep it traditional and where?
  • Do you want to take Family Formals before the ceremony, or keep it traditional and do it after the ceremony and where?
  • Where and how long is your Ceremony?
  • Where will you take your Wedding Party photos?
  • Where will you take your Couple photos?
  • Where is your Reception?
  • Will you have cocktail hour at your Reception?
  • Will you have a Receiving Line
  • Will your First Dance be before or after dinner?
  • How many Speeches are you expecting?
  • When will your Cake-Cutting be?
  • Will there be any special Cultural moments?
  • Do you want to take Night-Time photos and where?

 

Photography Time Allocation Guide

You should start working on your Wedding Day Photography Timeline about a month to no less than two weeks before your big day! Once you have finalized your unique details, here are some time allocations you may find useful:

Pointe West Golf Club Wedding feat. Katianna and Suhail-10Pointe West Golf Club Wedding feat. Katianna and Suhail-10Pointe West Golf Club Wedding feat. Katianna and Suhail Pointe West Golf Club Wedding feat. Katianna and Suhail-10Pointe West Golf Club Wedding feat. Katianna and Suhail-10Pointe West Golf Club Wedding feat. Katianna and Suhail Pointe West Golf Club Wedding feat. Katianna and Suhail-10Pointe West Golf Club Wedding feat. Katianna and Suhail-10Pointe West Golf Club Wedding feat. Katianna and Suhail Pointe West Golf Club Wedding feat. Katianna and Suhail-10Pointe West Golf Club Wedding feat. Katianna and Suhail-10Pointe West Golf Club Wedding feat. Katianna and Suhail Pointe West Golf Club Wedding feat. Katianna and Suhail-22Pointe West Golf Club Wedding feat. Katianna and Suhail-22Pointe West Golf Club Wedding feat. Katianna and Suhail

  • 30 to 45 minutes (each location)

Photos of Wedding Attire, Shoes, Jewellery, Stationery, Bouquet, and other wedding details
Note: It is a good idea to have one of the couples to keep both rings. Try to keep the area tidy for photography, especially near the windows/source of light. Hang dresses/suits in nice hangers.

  • 30 to 45 minutes (each location)

Photos of Bride(s)/Groom(s) and Bridesmaids and/or Groomsmen getting into dresses and/or suits, group photos, photos with mom/dad/aunt/uncle/grandparents

  • 15 minutes 

Individual Portrait of Bride(s)/Groom(s)
Note: Remember to account for travel time if there is a second location for preparations.

  • 30 to 45 minutes

Family Formals with Bride(s)/Groom(s) after Ceremony
Note: Assign a family member, preferably someone loud or commanding, from each side that can help usher family members for photos (since Photographer will not be familiar with family members). Type out family photo lists for reference.

  • 45 to 60 minutes

Wedding Party Photos with Bride(s)/Groom(s)
Note: Remember to account for travel time.

  • 30 to 45 minutes

Bride(s)/Groom(s) Couple Portraits

  • 15 to 20 minutes

Photos of Reception Details: Building, Entrance Decorations, Seating Chart, Guest Book, Center Pieces, Head Table, Menu, Table Setting, Bar, Dessert Table, Chandelier, etc.

  • 10 minutes

Bride(s)/Groom(s) Sunset and/or Night-Time Couple Portraits

 

The above time allocation guide is the minimum average, but the more time you can spare, the better!

 

Pointe West Golf Club Wedding feat. Katianna and Suhail, Photo by www.villabelmara.comPointe West Golf Club Wedding feat. Katianna and Suhail-606Pointe West Golf Club Wedding feat. Katianna and Suhail, Photo by www.villabelmara.com
 

 

Sample Wedding Day Photography Timeline I

The following sample is logistically a very easy wedding - only one travel in between. Usually, a more complex timeline involves two different locations for preparations, and the ceremony/ reception are in two different locations. I like to minimize any room for error or any acts-of-God that can happen in between and therefore typically recommend for the bride and groom to get ready close to their ceremony/reception locations.

For this wedding, their decorations were put up the day before - another bonus. Usually, decorations are scheduled for when we return from Wedding Party photos at around 5.45pm, before the guests arrive at the Reception (if cocktail hour takes place elsewhere). However, since I am able to do them at 12 noon, I am able to maximize the time for Wedding Party and Bride and Groom photos.

 

Time

Photo List

Notes

12:00 Photos of Decorations, Invitations, Wedding Dress, Shoes, Rings, Box, Garter, Veil, Bouquet, etc. (Location: Masonic Temple)  
12:45 Photos of Groom's Suit, Bowtie, Fedoras, Shoes, etc.  
1:00 Groom and mom, uncles  
1:15 Photos of Bride and Bridesmaids getting into dresses, Bride's First Look with Dad  
2:15 Bride and Bridesmaids photos, Bride and mom, dad, birth mother, grandmother and kids  
3:00 Ceremony (Location: Masonic Temple)  
3:45 End of Ceremony, Family Formals  
4:15 Wedding Party photos with Bride and Groom (Location: Jackson Park, University of Windsor), Bride and Groom portraits 15 min Travel
5:45 Return to Masonic Temple, photos of guests and atmosphere 15 min Travel
6:00 Introductions and Dinner thereafter  
7:00 Speeches  
8:00 Photos of Bride and Groom's First Dance  
9:00 Photos of Dancing and Party  
11:00 End of Photography  

 

Sample Wedding Day Photography Timeline II

in this next example, there is a lot of time in between each individual event, hence we were able to capture a lot more images (even with a single photographer). Clients often ask if a second shooter is necessary, and I often advise that with proper planning, one photographer can be more than enough.

This bride allocated plenty of rest time throughout the day - a very, very wise decision. It also leaves plenty of room for potential delays, and it take the pressure off everyone involved - especially herself, her groom, her wedding party, and inadvertently, her wedding vendors. The extra two or three hours makes a very big difference.
 

Time

Photo List

Notes

9:00 Photos of Vest, Shoes, Cufflinks, Letter from Ashley, Groom and Groomsmen Photos (Location: Address in Amherstburg)  
10:00 Photographer leaves 30 min Travel
10:30 Photos of Wedding Gown, Shoes, Garter, Rings, Invitation, Bouquet (coming at 10.30) Letter from Anthony, Bride and bridesmaids with cowboy shoes (Location: Sprucewood)  
11:40 Bridal Portraits  
12:00 Ceremony, Photos of Groom and Daughter with special lock toss into pond  
1:00 Family Formals  
3:00 Wedding Party and Photographer leaves 45 min Travel
3:45 Wedding Party Photos (Location: Gemus Farms)  
4.15 Bride and Groom Portraits  
5:00 Wedding Party and Photographer leaves 30 min Travel
5:30 Photos of Reception Decor - Entrance, Head Table, Centerpieces, Menu, Tableware, Wedding Cake, Desserts Table, etc (Location: Fogolar)  
6:15 Photos of Wedding Introductions/Entrances and First Dance  
6:30 Photos of Guests, Candids, Speeches during dinner (4 speeches altogether)  
9:00 Photos of Party and Dancing  
9:30 Photos of Photo Booth fun  
10:30 End of Photography  

 

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Meet In Person (Or Video-Call) Ü

The easiest way to finesse the Wedding Day Photography Timeline is to sit down or video-call with your photographer. This way, you can brainstorm and share each other's perspective to ensure everything is covered. Send each other the Timeline via E-mail, or your preferred method of communication to ensure you are on the same page on the day of the wedding!

 

Remember, Remember!

  • Many locations, especially in bigger cities like Toronto or Niagara, may charge a permit fee, ensure you acquire this months in advanced. Some protected areas may also have restrictions. Ensure you have the appropriate permits.
  • Try to get ready close to your ceremony and/or reception to minimize room for error or acts-of-God
  • Revise your Photography Package and ensure you have enough Photography time
  • Account for travel time on the longer route end
  • Allocate room for possible delays
  • Plan for an indoor location as a back-up

 

Pointe West Golf Club Wedding feat. Katianna and Suhail-1289Pointe West Golf Club Wedding feat. Katianna and Suhail-1289

 


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