5 Tips on Creating the Best Wedding Timeline

Wedding day schedules, they can be so overwhelming! Where do you start? How much time do you really need? How long do photos take? You don’t want to be rushed…etc etc etc. 

I’ve shot all different kinds of weddings. Ones with day of coordinators and ones without. I’ve photographed organized weddings and very disorganized weddings. Needless to say, I’ve seen it all and I wanted to compile the most valuable tips to planning your day. 

As you’re planning out your day and want to get the best photos possible, take note that the best outdoor lighting times are early morning & a couple hours before sunset. I realize that not every wedding can work around this ideal lighting and that’s okay! I’ve photographed hundreds of weddings in less than ideal lighting. If you can’t make the ideal lighting time work, know that shade & backlit areas are the best to photograph in when it’s bright outside! 

  1. Consider a First Look

I have an entire blog post on this alone, so I’m just going to link that here. By doing a first look, you allow time for all or the majority of your photos to be taken before the ceremony. This frees up the rest of the day to enjoy your wedding

2. Allow Plenty of Getting Ready Time

In my experience, this start to the wedding day is usually what sets the rest of the day of running late. I usually recommend 1 hour of photography coverage for the getting ready portion of your day. With that being said, I recommend that all hair & makeup is DONE by the time your photographer arrives. That way, you’ll get a few getting ready touch up photos, your photographer can shoot your dress & details, and then you can spend the time doing fun robe & getting in your dress photos. 

3. Hire a Day of Coordinator 

In my years of doing weddings, this is an absolute must. If you can’t afford to hire a professional, at least appoint someone to run the day & be the point person. If you go that route, I recommend you do not have family or bridal party do this role. Have someone that is willing to serve at your wedding and won’t feel like they are missing out on the festivities. But a professional coordinator or planner has expertise you didn’t know you needed! They will take care of issues without you ever knowing about them. They are always one step ahead and plan flawless days! They an incredible part of a wedding day to keep things on track and running smoothly. I have many favorites I’d be happy to recommend to you if you’re interested…just reach out!

4. Schedule Buffer Time

Even if you plan super well, weddings always tend to run a little behind. So don’t overpack your timeline and schedule in a little buffer time. That way you don’t feel rushed & overwhelmed trying to do back to back things on your wedding day! 

5. Schedule Enough Time for Photos 

Every photographer is a little different, but what I recommend for weddings I photograph are these times lots. 

60 minutes – Bride/Groom Prep 

15 minutes – Bridal Party Photos
30 minutes – Bride + Groom Photos (additional 10 minutes if doing first look) 

20 minutes – Family Photos (add extra 10 minutes for large extended family) 

15 minutes – Reception Decor Photos
10 minutes – Ceremony Decor Photos 

20 minutes – Sunset photos 

With all this being said, all these tips are just rough guidelines to follow. Every wedding is very specific to the couple and very individualist to the wedding day. But I highly recommend to plan our every event/step/hour of your wedding day as all of your vendors will ask you for a timeline anyways. It will help you feel organized and on top of it as you plan the biggest day of your life! 

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