A couple weeks ago, I wrote a blog with a sample timeline that included a first look. Now I’m back with a more traditional timeline, without a first look! I will always recommend a first look for many reasons – check them out here – but they aren’t always right for every couple! Scroll on to read a sample traditional timeline for weddings without a first look.
A note about this traditional timeline. . .
My photography coverage ranges from 6-10 hours but 90% of my couples choose 8 hours of coverage time so that’s what I’ll be going with here. Keep in mind that no two weddings are alike and this traditional timeline is just a rough sketch of what to expect. Contact your photographer and wedding planner directly to build the perfect timeline for you! *Quick note: I adore wedding planners, I swear they do God’s work keeping weddings on track. However, be sure that you go over your timeline with your photographer and get their input as well as your planner. Photographers have specific things they need out of the wedding timeline that a planner might not think about (lighting, location, etc).*
Also, keep in mind that these times will vary depending on the time of year and sunset time! If you aren’t doing a first look, be sure to schedule your ceremony early enough so that you have time afterwards for at least 1 1/2 – 2 hours of portraits before the sun sets!
1:00 PM – DETAIL SHOTS
2:00 PM – BRIDE GETTING READY
2:30 PM – BRIDE & BRIDESMAID PORTRAITS
3:00 PM – GROOM GETTING READY
3:30 PM – GROOM & GROOMSMEN PORTRAITS
4:00 PM – CEREMONY BEGINS
4:30 PM – FAMILY PHOTOS + COCKTAIL HOUR
5:00 PM – BRIDAL PARTY PHOTOS
5:30 PM – BRIDE & GROOM PORTRAITS
6:30 PM – RECEPTION BEGINS
6:40 PM – GRAND ENTRANCE
6:45 PM – DINNER IS SERVED
7:15 PM – TOASTS
7:30 PM – SPECIAL DANCES + DANCING
7:45 PM – CAKE CUTTING, BOUQUET, + GARTER TOSS
8:00 PM – EXIT PHOTOS + COVERAGE ENDS
The amount of time needed for these details depends on how much you have! We usually like at least 45 minutes to 1 hour. While we are shooting details, we will also be capturing candid shots of everyone getting ready!
Time to get dressed! For those wearing suits, we will start taking pictures after they are in their pants and shirts. We will take pictures of everyone putting on their ties, vests, shoes, and boutonnieres.
For those wearing dresses, once the wedding party and anyone else helping (usually a parent) is dressed, we will start taking photographs. We will photograph the finishing touches or touch-ups of hair and make-up. Then we photograph you getting in your dress and all the finishing touches: jewelry, veil, shoes, etc.
BRIDE & BRIDESMAID/GROOM & GROOMSMEN PORTRAITS
Once the bride and groom are dressed, we will take them out individually to do some portraits before the ceremony. We’ll usually take the guys out first. There we’ll do the groom by himself, him with all his groomsmen, and then individuals of each groomsmen with him. Then he’ll go back and hide away, and we’ll do the same thing with the bride!
About 30 minutes before the ceremony starts, we’ll be sure that the bride and groom are both hidden away from guests. Sometimes the groom heads out early and greets guests as they arrive. We’ll photograph guests walking into the ceremony and then it’s go-time!
Immediately after the ceremony, we will do family portraits. I generally allow 30 minutes for family portraits but that depends on how many groups you want pictures of. Read my blog post about family portraits here.
BRIDAL PARTY PORTRAITS
After the family portraits are done, we will gather your wedding party together for their portraits! You’ll get photos of the entire bridal party together, one partner’s side, the other partner’s side, as well as individual photos if desired!
BRIDE & GROOM PORTRAITS
Then we’ll get right into your bridal portraits! We’ll get most of your portraits done here, but we may do some during the reception as well to get that gorgeous, sunset light, it depends on your venue and timeline!
Afterwards, we pass the lead off to the DJ for the reception and just go with the flow! We’ll capture the toasts, cake cutting, dances, and any special moments you may have at your reception. We will not, however, photograph during dinner because we will eat at the same time as you and, let’s be honest, no one wants photos of them eating. I recommend not having us photograph more than 1 hour of dancing. Anything more than that gets super repetitive and it’s a waste of your valuable money! If you want fun exit photos, I suggest doing a faux exit about 15 minutes before we leave for the evening. You’ll get way more people to participate than if we waited until the very end of the reception. Trust me, you don’t want super tired (probably drunk) guests holding lit sparklers above your head!
So there you have it!
A sample 8 hour traditional timeline to take to your photographer and wedding planner to make yours! And if you don’t have a wedding photographer yet, hit me up and let’s chat!