How to plan your wedding photography timeline

Planning your wedding and want to make sure you book a photographer who captures your memories of the day perfectly? Here’s a guide to planning your timeline.

There’s no exact timeline template for wedding photography, because of the diversity of cultures – and even changing fashions within cultures.

However, there are ideal timeframes to consider on most wedding days. Let’s look at some of them and consider how long you may wish to book a photographer for.

1) Groom’s preparation – 45 minutes

We put men first because we have a good reason. To greet guests as they arrive, they have to be ready first. Getting in and out of suits or tuxedos is much easier for boys than for brides if they’re ready too soon before the ceremony. 

Once the photographer gets to your venue, you should be fresh from the shower and ready to wear your dress, but still wearing casual clothing so they can take some photos of you. The story is more complete this way. Getting you all to act in a way that’s completely unnatural to you isn’t the goal, it’s simply to tell the real narrative about how you felt in the moments leading up to the pivotal moment.

2) Bride’s preparation – one hour

Make sure the photographer gets there before you put on your dress. It’s important to find a wedding photographer who is reliable and shows up early, to give everyone time to get ready.

The whole transformation will be captured, whether you’re wearing casual clothes or draped in robes. If you want to take make-up shots, make sure the beautician finishes just as the photographer arrives so that they can take them first.

Your photographer will need a clean area with great window light to take the best photos of you and your bridal party. Keep your dress on a really cute hanger in this room if you want a picture of it!

3) Pre-ceremony – 15 minutes

This is a brief period after the photographer leaves the girls for you to snap some pics of your guests arriving, the ceremony setup, and maybe your reception setup if you’re getting married at the same venue. This is also a good time to clarify the last-minute points with the officiant.

4) The ceremony – 30 minutes

There’s no real science to the 30 minutes we’ve mentioned. Ceremony lengths range from 10 minutes to two hours. There’s also a chance the schedule might also get blown out depending on how the girls got ready.

When you have your first kiss as newlyweds, don’t hold back! Here’s no time for timidity. While you’re at it, take a killer photo. After you’re married, grab one another and celebrate as your wedding procession ends. We like these photos a lot! 

5) Group picture – 10 minutes

Big group photos are optional. We won’t sugarcoat it, those things can be a nightmare. What kind of nightmare it is depends on where the ceremony is. You need to take this shot right post-ceremony when everybody can be in one spot as close as possible. It takes longer for photographers to move dozens of guests who are chatting when they get this shot from farther away.

6) Family photos – 15 minutes

Now’s the time to take those group shots. Those are the pictures that you will not regret the following day when you realize that you didn’t get a photo with your grandparents! Make a list of every family photo you need, along with their names. If you can, try to keep it short.

Get a loud, bossy family member or friend to help you sort everyone’s photos. One person from each family branch is ideal. It’s important for them to know their job’s very crucial, and they need a copy of it.

7) Wedding party photos – 20 minutes

Get ready for some craziness! It’s time for you guys to get together and celebrate. Don’t be afraid to pop some bubbles! It’s better to have more action. Let your photographer know if you’ve got a creative idea for showcasing your fun!

8) Bridal portraits – 45 minutes

You might be surprised at how much you’ll enjoy spending this time alone with your new spouse away from the wedding party as you get to the bridal portraits. Being congratulated by all your loved ones on your wedding day is awesome, but it can also be a little overwhelming. Take some time out for yourself on your special day!

9) The reception – up to you

It’s time for a toast to the newlyweds! The length of your photographer’s stay is your decision, and it may not be clear to you until you get your venue’s running sheet. You might want the photographer there for an hour of dancing, until the speeches are over, or for the whole evening. 

Hope you’ve got a better idea about your wedding photography schedule now. Remember, this is only a guide. Modify it however you like. If you haven’t found your photographer yet, now is the time.

Photo by Mariah Krafft