Creating a Timeline for Your Wedding
By Jason Guy
Bay Area Wedding & Boudoir Photographer
Creating a timeline for your wedding day can be one of the most daunting and overwhelming parts of planning a wedding. It can be so overwhelming for some, that wedding planners actually make a full time living out doing just that. If you don’t have a wedding planner worry not, I’m going to help you with how a wedding day timeline should look so we can design one perfect for you. If you already have a wedding planner, that’s great and this section is specifically for them. Below are my recommended time frames for each part of your wedding day coverage.
Please note that these recommendations should NOT be amended in either order or duration if you want your final artwork to be consistent with any of my sample albums.
Groom Pre-ceremoney Coverage 1.5 Hrs
Groom formal coverage should happen before the bridal coverage because brides will take longer to get ready with hair and makeup. While the bride is getting her hair and makeup done, we can take care of all of the groom pre-ceremoney images. At this time I will capture the groom formal portraits, pictures with him and his grooms men, and family pictures with the groom and his family. All guys should arrive camera ready wearing their shirt and pants. We will capture putting on the tie, cuff links, boutonnière and all other details so please DO NOT put them on before I arrive.
Bride Pre-ceremoney Coverage 2hrs
Bride pre-ceremoney coverage should happen after the groom. During this coverage we will capture formal portraits of the bride, the bride with her bridesmaids, and family portraits with the bride and her family. One common way I’ve seen wedding time lines get off track is if hair and makeup is not done on time. Make sure your hair and makeup artists are aware of your timeline and when they should be expected to finish to keep your day on track and running smoothly.
Formal Couple Portraits 45min
Your formal portraits are important and shouldn’t be rushed. Capturing your formal portraits before the ceremony is they key to making this happen. If you would like to do a first look, the first part of this time slot would be the time to do that as well. Add 10-15 minutes to the formal portraits segment if you would like to have a first look.
Full Bridal Party/Full Family Portraits 20min
After your formal couple portraits is the ideal time to do these pictures. It is usually my goal to get all of the must have formal shots done before the ceremony so you can just sit back and enjoy your day after that. It is common for some couples to want to take a break and push these formal portraits off until after the ceremony. This is typically a mistake in my opinion. You will have plenty of time to enjoy your day after this point, but trying to capture formal portraits after the ceremony can get very difficult with the distraction of everyone wanting to socialize and enjoy the party. If you have a shot list of people you want a picture with outside of your immediate families, now is the time to take care of those shots as well. Keep in mind that the longer your list is the longer this segment will take, so budget additional time if necessary for your situation.
The Ceremony 30-45 min
Every ceremony is different. Some ceremonies may be short and sweet lasting only 10 minutes while others can be significantly longer. Whatever your circumstance, it’s always good practice to pad your timing a bit as these things generally always go a bit longer than you think they will.
Cocktail Hour 1 hr
In emergency circumstance we can use cocktail hour to pick up any shots we didn’t get when we were supposed to. Under ideal circumstances this is the perfect time for me to break away and go to the reception area to get detail shots before it gets cluttered with guests.
This is where the speeches, first dance, garter toss, cake cut and dancing all happen. However you want to structure this part of the day is completely up to you, but I always greatly appreciate a copy of the itinerary so I can plan accordingly. Please note that I do not take photographs while people are eating. I use this time to grab a bite myself and or put together your same day slide show if that is part of your package.
Mountain House Estate is a Premier Northern California Wedding Venue.