Creating a Thoughtful & Detailed Wedding Day Timeline (in 2023) - brittanyallen.com

Creating a Thoughtful & Detailed Wedding Day Timeline (in 2023)

Creating a thoughtful and detailed wedding day timeline is one of the most important things I do for my couples’ as their wedding photographer. A solid wedding day timeline is one of those things that nobody notices when done right, but everyone notices when done wrong. The last thing you want on your wedding day is to feel rushed, so I always take a little extra time to love up on my couples and make sure they are excited about the timeline we create together.

If you are in the beginning stages of planning your wedding in 2023, I think you’ll appreciate some of the wedding day timeline tips I’m sharing today! If you want to learn more about what it’s like to work with me, head here.

Before I share tips for creating your wedding day timeline, here’s what an 8 hour wedding day timeline for photography really looks like!

wedding invitations flat lay fine art wedding photographer

What does an 8 Hour Wedding Day Timeline look like for Wedding Photography

When you start to look at wedding photography pricing, you’ll often see most packages start around 8 hours. But as a bride-to-be planning a wedding for the first time, it’s hard to imagine what that really looks like. I feel like the easiest way to see what 8 hours of wedding photography really looks like is through examples. So, let me break down a few scenarios for you so you can see if that would be enough time or if you want more time added to your wedding photography package.

Again, and I might say this 1000 times, work with your wedding photographer! One of the reasons I love to offer custom packages is to ensure you receive the wedding photo experience you want, based on your individual wedding day!

bride and groom wedding day portraits

A Wedding Day Timeline with a First Look

12:00 – Getting Ready Photos (+ Photos of Your Wedding Details like your Dress, Invitations, Florals)

**add extra time if there is no second shooter, or if you would like a first look with your wedding party and/or parents!**

1:00 – Travel to Wedding Photo Location and/or Wedding Venue

1:30 – First Look & Couple Portraits

2:30 – Wedding Photos with Wedding Party

3:00 – Travel to Wedding Ceremony Location

3:30 – Wedding Ceremony

4:00 – Wedding Photos with Family

**you may need more or less time for family or wedding party portraits depending on how many people are included!**

4:00-5:00 – Attend Part of Cocktail Hour with Guests, Also Grab Wedding Photos of Reception Setup (with a “room reveal” for the happy couple!)

5:00-8:00 – First Dance(s), Toasts, Cake Cutting, Maybe Dancing!

first look wedding photos with bride approaching planning your wedding day timeline with a first look

A Wedding Day Timeline without a First Look

12:00 – Getting Ready Photos (+ Photos of Your Wedding Details like your Dress, Invitations, Florals)

**add extra time if there is no second shooter, or if you would like a first look with your wedding party and/or parents!**

1:00 – Travel to Wedding Ceremony Location

1:30 – Wedding Ceremony

2:00 – Wedding Photos with Family (at ceremony location)

2:30 – Travel to Wedding Photo Location if not on site

3:00 – Wedding Photos with your Bridal Party

**you may need more or less time for family or wedding party portraits depending on how many people are included!**

3:30 – Wedding Couple Portraits

4:30 – Travel to Wedding Reception Venue

5:00-6:00 – Attend Part of Cocktail Hour with Guests, Also Grab Wedding Photos of Reception Setup (with a “room reveal” for the happy couple!)

6:00-8:00 – First Dance(s), Toasts, Cake Cutting, Maybe Dancing!

The timelines I create with my couples have a lot more details, but you get the idea! Your wedding day timeline should reflect your unique priorities but I hope this shows you just how quick 8 hours can really go!

groom looking at bride bride walking down the aisle planning a wedding day timeline without a first look

4 Tips For Creating a Thoughtful & Detailed Wedding Day Timeline

1. Add extra time to getting ready photos if you don’t have a second shooter.

When considering how much time you need for getting ready photos, consider if you’ll have one photographer capturing photos for you and your partner or if you will have a second shooter capturing your partner’s photos. It might surprise you, but there is a lot I like to capture during getting ready photos. I lay out your wedding invitations, photograph your dress and your shoes, and all of the other incredible details that went into creating your day. I also want to capture candids with your friends, your mom helping you into your dress, and possibly the first look with your mom/dad!

flat lay of bridal shoes and bouquet

2. The larger your wedding party is, the more time you’ll need for photos.

I’m not talking about 4-5 people. If you have ten on your side and ten on your partners’ side, you need to budget a little extra time. The same is true if you have a large family or want a lot of extended family photos. I can work fast – trust me – but more people will require a little extra time in your wedding day timeline.

bride and wedding party

3. Choose a wedding photo location near your wedding venue.

When you create your wedding day timeline, as much as possible you’ll want to eliminate travel time. For getting ready photos, if not at your wedding venue consider renting a hotel nearby. Take your wedding photos near or at your wedding venue instead of traveling elsewhere. If a longer travel time is unavoidable, make sure to make the transportation fun with a vintage car for some alone time with your new spouse or a limo for your entire wedding party to celebrate along the ride!

wedding day ceremony setup at top Michigan wedding venue

4. Don’t forget to budget time for your photographer to capture your wedding ceremony and reception setups!

Although I will spend 95% of your wedding day by your side, I always like to encourage my couples to have a little down time (whether that’s relaxing in the limo before the ceremony or mingling with guests during cocktail hour) so I can capture your ceremony and reception setups before guests arrive. You’ve spent a lot of time dreaming about what your wedding day will look like – so I want to capture it! If time allows, I also love capturing my couples’ reactions when they see the space for the first time before guests arrive too!

wedding reception setup at Michigan wedding venue

Have your photographer weigh in before you finalize your wedding timeline

Remember – you hired a professional wedding photographer for a reason 🙂 We do SO much more for you than simply show up and start taking pictures. I always work with my couples to create a wedding day timeline unique to them and their priorities. Have a large bridal party? I will remind you to budget extra time. Have a short gap between the wedding ceremony and reception? Let’s take (at least some of) the wedding portraits beforehand. I’m always prepared for an emergency but we are so much less likely to have one when we are prepared and on the same page!

Bonus tip: Keep me around long enough to grab the dance photos!

dance photos at the end of your wedding day timeline

If you are ready to book your wedding photographer, you can learn more about working together here, or head straight to my contact form. In the meantime, I will be sharing beautiful Detroit weddings (and lots of behind-the-scenes) over on Instagram.

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