The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Wedding Timeline

Are you dreaming of a stress free wedding where everything runs seamlessly on time and goes exactly to plan - but also wondering - wait what exactly is the plan? Don’t worry, I’ve got your back. After photographing tons of weddings, and facilitating day-of timelines, I’ve learned a thing or two about what helps the day flow best. So I took everything I’ve learned in the last few years, and the most frequently asked client questions and compiled them into this Ultimate Guide for my clients.

When does my hair and makeup need to be done?

The first thing I do once arriving on the day of your wedding is capture “detail” photos. This typically includes a flat-lay of your invitation suite, wedding bands, vows, etc. along with shots of your attire on the hanger, and takes about 30-60 minutes. A tip to help detail shots go quickly is to have all of these items gathered together in one area, or even a box, for easy arrangement. If you would like the first hour of your coverage to be documenting other tasks at hand, I can arrange for a professional photo-stylist & visual artist to prepare your flat lays prior to my arrival for a more efficiant start to the day. Pending availability, this service is an additional $350.

I recommend having your hair and makeup stop time to coincide with the end of your detail shots (about 30-60 minutes after I arrive and coverage begins) This way, I can capture the finishing touches of your hair and makeup being completed. 

How much time do we need for photos before the ceremony/ what time will you arrive?

This really depends on whether or not you want to do a “first look” with your partner prior to the ceremony. So, here is the amount of time you’ll want to allocate for portraits throughout the wedding day:

  • Detail shots & flat-lays: 30-60 minutes
  • Getting dressed: 10 minutes
  • Portraits of just you: 15 minutes
  • Portraits of just your Partner: 15 minutes
  • You & your Bridal Party: 30 minutes
  • Your Partner & their Bridal Party: 30 minutes
  • Entire Bridal Party: 15 minutes
  • You & your Partner together: 30-45 minutes
  • Family formal portraits: 30 minutes

Without a first look, it’s best to plan for about 2 hours of photos prior to the ceremony and an hour and a half after.  With a first look, we could capture all of these photos before the ceremony, in about three and a half hours. 

When does my partner and their bridal party need to be ready?

My assistant for the day will be with your partner & their bridal party prior to the ceremony. Once my assistant arrives, they will start capturing detail shots, which will take about 30 minutes. Some detailed items may include pieces of attire, so it’s ideal to have your partner wait to get completely dressed. In other words, leave all attire and accessories off until 30 minutes after coverage begins and all of the detail shots are complete.

Can you photograph our reception space before guests enter the room?

Absolutely! Reception details are some of my favorite photos to take! In order to capture these, it’s important to carefully consider the location of your cocktail hour during planning. If your cocktail hour and reception room share the same space, guests will naturally enter the reception space and find their seat (even if it is not intended for guests to be seated until cocktail hour is over). A couple of ways to prevent this from happening are to have your cocktail hour in a completely separate space from dinner, or have your wedding coordinator keep guests from sitting down, etc. until the reception detail photos are complete. 

How late do you stay in the reception?

This is completely up to you, based on the wedding package of your choice. If you and your partner don’t have a strong preference, I typically stay about 1 hour into open dancing. Which is enough time to photograph fun shots of you and your loved ones on the dance floor, but short enough before anyone has too much to drink and things get crazy. One important thing to remember about reception photos is to always leave at least a 30 minute buffer from the last special event to be photographed and my departure time. This way you create a cushion of time in case your reception runs behind schedule. Of course, if you have your heart set on a sparkler exit and would like me to stay until the end of the night, we can arrange that during timeline planning!

Do I need to bring anything for photos?

You don’t need anything specific, but there are lots of ways to elevate your wedding photos and capture the uniqueness of your wedding day by planning ahead.  Here are a few of my favorite suggestions. First is to arrange for your florist to give you any extra petals or stems to add to your detail/flat lay shots (include these in the box of your detail items that you gather together before my arrival).  Next, if you plan on having a formal exit from the church or at the end of the evening, add some fun props to the mix like flower petals, sparklers, bubbles, sprinkles, etc. Another way to make your bridal portraits even more personal, is to incorporate your favorite drinks (cocktails, champagne, beer, etc.), your fur baby, or a family heirloom, like grandpa’s vintage car.

Lastly, they say rain on your wedding day is good luck, but I still recommend being prepared! Check the weather about a week before the big day, and if it looks like inclement weather could be a possibility, I recommend purchasing these clear umbrellas from amazon. These look very classy in photos! Plus, you can always return them if you end up not using them.