The photo wedding timeline will go either two ways. First look vs. no first look. First looks are done before the ceremony.
Below are popular options:
A. FIRST LOOK with wedding party and family photos AFTER the ceremony
B. FIRST LOOK with wedding party and family photos BEFORE the ceremony
C. NO FIRST LOOK, all portraits and formal group photos AFTER the ceremony
If you're having a sunset ceremony or if there will be less than one hour of light afterwards, a first look is highly recommended to assure we have enough light for our signature natural lit photographs!
8 hour sample timeline
12:00 - Getting Ready Details
Every bride loves having those shots of her bridal details. It's an important part of the story and I love having some time to shoot the dress, shoes, jewelry, invitations, etc. These shots allow me to get warmed up for the rest of the big day. I normally like to allow at least 20 minutes for this part of the day. While I'm shooting details, I'm also capturing some shots of the bride and her girls getting ready! If the groom is getting ready nearby, Allen will begin photographing the boys getting ready close to 40 minutes before the first look since it always takes them less time to get dressed.
1:00 - Bride steps into dress
After the details have been photographed, it's time for the bride to get into her dress! This is the big moment. I usually ask the mother of the bride and all the bridesmaids to be dressed by the time the bride is ready to get into her dress. This ensures that everyone will look nice in those images. After the bride is in her gown, she can put on her jewelry, veil, shoes, etc. and I will shoot some additional bridal portraits!
1:30 - First Look + Couple Portraits
This is one of my favorite parts of the wedding day! I will find the perfect location for my couple's first look prior to the getting ready portion of the day. Don't stress about that one bit! I will make sure the location is private and secluded as possible. After the bride and groom take their time with the first look, I will begin taking romantic portraits of the two of them while the initial excitement is still present! I will find the locations for these shots as well in advance as well. Remember, the light determines where we shoot so I can't decide on the portrait locations until the day-of. As we shoot these portraits, the bridal party can start making their way to us for the wedding party portraits OR wait after the ceremony if that's logistically better.
2:30 - Ceremony decor + Guests Arriving
We like to finish any pre-ceremony portraits 30 minutes before the ceremony begins so we can take ceremony decor shots before guests arrive. Once guests arrive we'll begin photographing posed and candid photos of them.
3:00 - Ceremony begins
It's time to get married! Most ceremonies are 30 minutes long. If your ceremony is longer than 30 minutes, we'll make adjustments to the timeline. Cherish these moments! Your ceremony will pass by so quickly.
3:30 - Ceremony ends
3:35 - Family Photos
Family formals normally take place immediately following the ceremony. It’s best to save all of the family formals until after the ceremony because ALL family members will be present at that time. We’ll need about 30 mintues for family formals and I will send a questionnaire before the wedding where you can list out the shots that you want. I recommend shooting portraits outdoors if possible so that they resemble more natural family portraits, especially if the ceremony location is dark!
3:50 - Wedding Party Photos
Now it's time for bridal party shots! I bugger in extra time throughout the day just in case we have some unexpected things that hold us up. One way to make sure we stay on schedule for bridal party portraits is to have someone put the boutonnieres on the guys before they arrive for portraits.
4:15 - Reception Decor/ Cocktail
If the reception is in the same location as the ceremony, I will use this time to shoot the reception decor UNTOUCHED. If the ceremony and reception are in different locations, I recommend having a cocktail hour outside of the main reception area if possible so that I can grab some great shots of your reception before the night begins and guests start laying down purses and coats on their seats!
4:30 - Guests Entering / Grand Entrance / First Dance
This is when the bridal party lines up for introductions and the party begins!! By this part of the day, my timeline isn’t as strict. I work off of the natural light and so after the sun is set, my portrait time is over and I begin focusing on the reception events!
5:00 - Dinner served
Everything in-between (reception events such as cake cutting, toasts, etc.) is at the couple and planner's discretion. Vendor meals are not required but always appreciated! We ask to have our break as close as possible (time-wise) to the couple's so once they're up and mingling, we'll be ready to follow and take fabulous candids and table shots!
6:00 - Sunset Photos if time permitting
7:30 - Open Dancing
8:00 - Photography Ends
Begin / 1 hour before bride steps into dress
Couple Portraits / 45 to 60 minutes
Formal Wedding Party Photos / 20 minutes (longer if more than five people on each side)
Formal Family Photos / 20 minutes (1-2 mins. per group)
Ceremony Decor + Guests Arriving / 30 minutes
Reception Decor / 15 minutes
Posed Table Photos / 2 -3 mins. per table
End / 30 to 60 minutes of open dancing