PLANNING YOUR TIMELINE
12 HOUR COVERAGE / SECOND SHOOTER
10:00AM (PHOTOGRAPHER ARRIVES)
10:00AM-10:45AM GROOM GETTING READY
11:00AM-12:30PM BRIDE GETTING READY & DETAIL SHOTS
12:00PM-01:00PM DETAILS OF CEREMONY & GUEST ARRIVAL (SECOND SHOOTER)
02:00PM-02:30PM FAMILY PHOTOS
04:00PM-05:30PM COCKTAIL HOUR (SECOND SHOOTER)
03:00PM-03:45PM BRIDAL PARTY PHOTOS
04:00PM-05:00PM BRIDE & GROOM PORTRAITS
05:00PM-05:30PM REFRESH AND OUTFIT CHANGE
6:15PM GRAND ENTRANCE
6:30PM DINNER IS SERVED
7:00PM BRIDAL PARTY IS ANNOUNCED
8:30PM FIRST DANCE
9:00PM DANCE FLOOR OPENS
9:30PM CAKE CUTTING/CHAMPAGNE TOWER
10:00PM (PHOTOGRAPHER LEAVES)
HOW MUCH TIME DO I NEED?
BEFORE YOU START:
Make sure to leave buffers. think about how much time it takes to get from one location to another, move your entire bridal party, get family lined up for photos after the ceremony, etc. it is important to plan accordingly, everything always takes a bit longer than you expect!
p.s. extra time never hurts, it leaves you room to run to the washroom or grab snacks!
I would personally suggest setting aside 1 hour with the bride and bridesmaids at minimum. It is ideal to have your hair and makeup with 10-15 minutes of being done upon my arrival. I can come say hi, drop you off your coffee, and sneak a quick photo of you finishing up and still have time to capture your detail shots while you wrap up finishing touches. If you are doing anything unique such as pyjama photos, champagne pops, gift, etc. I might suggest adding on a little bit more time.
the groom and groomsmen typically take less time to get ready. I would suggest 30-45 minutes at minimum to capture details, take a few portraits and capture some candids. Again if there will be gifts given, there are family photos to be taken, prayer times, etc. I would suggest extending the time.
+ check out my details checklist here
Your ceremony length is completely dependent on you and your values. I have shot 3 hour long ceremonies, and 10 minute ceremonies. How long they are and how they look is unique to you as a couple, there is no right or wrong.
If you have an MC or officiant the end of your ceremony is a great time to direct guests to family photos, and to let them know if you will be having a receiving line.
Personally I recommend taking family photos directly following the ceremony. Everyone is already present, and having your MC or officiant remind family where to meet after the ceremony is an easy way to direct large groups.
I would suggest choosing a location that is within short walking distance of the ceremony such as the all of the church, the park across the street, etc. This helps keep things moving relatively quickly as moving large groups of family to a separate location takes more time that you would think (if you go this route make sure to budget time for this)! Choosing a closer by location is also helpful for older family members, and or family members who have mobility struggles or disability.
I typically suggest 30 minutes with 10 combinations per each side. If you have more combinations be sure to extend the time.
I will ask you to create a combination list in your final questionnaire, it's always good to pre-plan the family photos you want so you don't have to stress day of about forgetting anything!
BRIDAL PARTY PHOTOS
45-60 minutes is plenty of time with the bridal party! We'll take large group photos, photos of each side of the party, and individual photos with each party member.
If you have the option to rent a party bus, limo, or take as few vehicles as possible this is ideal for keeping the group moving— especially for photos in the city. It is nice to be able to be dropped off and not have to waste time looking for parking.
I would recommend keeping bridal party photographs limited to one location.
If we have extra time (or you plan for it!) it's fun to take your bridal party for drinks/snacks/ice cream— whatever you like!
Also known as formals, this is the time when we go out and photograph just you two together. Personally I would suggest not having the bridal party stick around for this time. It's nice to have some space for you both to take in the day, and to have some quiet moments together.
Ideally I would suggest 45-60 minutes of time minimum, and to limit to 1-2 locations if they require driving between.
SUNSET & BLUE HOUR
this is weather dependant of course, but if you want sunset photos be sure to keep this in mind when planning your reception! Make sure to leave yourself a gap where it is safe to sneak away, approximately 20 minutes before sunset! I always keep an eye on it day of to make sure we go out at the right time! I typically recommend we sneak out for 15-20 minutes, somewhere within walking distance of the venue! You can absolutely schedule more time for this if this is a priority for you, but if you're hanging out with guests we'll keep it quick!
WHEN SHOULD MY COVERAGE END?
This all depends on what is important to you! In a more traditional wedding day timeline where I leave after dancing has begun, I typically recommend scheduling me for 30 minutes after the dance floor opens. I can get fun photos of guests on the dance floor but if nothing else if going to be going on for the rest of the evening you shouldn't need more coverage than that.
If you will be having a sparkler exit, cutting the cake, doing a dress change or haircut, champagne pop or midnight lunch— anything like this that you would want covered don't hesitate to have me stay later!
Remember extra hours can be added on the day of, so don't stress if things run behind or you decide you want to keep me later!
WHY DO I NEED TO DECIDE IF WE ARE HAVING A RECEIVING LINE?
From past experience I have found that if you don't leave the ceremony area a receiving line will form whether you like it or not, because of course your guests are excited to congratulate you!
If you plan on having one, awesome! Make sure to alot time to hug and visit with all your guests. If you aren't having one, I would suggest having your MC or officiant announce that you are not having a receiving line and when guests can expect to see you (ie at cocktail hour or the reception). I would also suggest sneaking away to a s secluded spot to take in the fact that you JUST GOT MARRIED(!!!) and let guests mingle and clear out. If you choose to have family photos directly after the ceremony this is a perfect time to head over to the chosen spot— and in that case I would also suggest having your MC announce to immediate family to meet at that spot following the ceremony, it helps keep guests moving smoothly.
WHEN SHOULD I TAKE PHOTOS OF MY VENUE?
If photos of your venue are important to you I highly recommend setting aside time for myself or the second shooter to stop by the venue BEFORE guests will potentially begin arriving. It's important that set up is complete but guests won't yet be in the space setting down bags and jackets. This goes for both the ceremony and reception detail shots, it's important to take them after set up but before guests arrive. One thing to note with this is that guests always arrive earlier than you think, there's always one family that likes to be extra on time!