Make A Perfect Wedding Day Timeline
January 1, 2019

Make A Perfect Wedding Day Timeline

We always tell our clients that one of the most frustrating things for our Brides is making their wedding day timeline. There are so many moving parts on your wedding day, and everything depends on everything else. For some, they needed to book hair and makeup, but didn’t know what time to tell them to start. Others wanted to book transportation, but didn’t know how long they would need them for! So how do you make a timeline for your wedding day?

First, let us say this – we offer free wedding day timeline planning as apart of our service as your wedding photographers. Let’s all collectively exhale together – whew. We know that takes so much stress off our clients, and we LOVE doing it. So if you are one of our clients, we got you. Don’t stress out about any of this, because we’re going to hold hands and get through this together!

Our goal is always to first figure out the start and end times. Once we figure out where to start and end, everything else kind of falls into place. A common question we get, is how many hours is normal, or “enough”. We, personally, think 9 hours is the sweet spot for a wedding day timeline.

“But hair starts at 7:00am, and the reception doesn’t end until 12:00am! THERE IS NOT ENOUGH TIME!”

There is! We always laugh, you don’t want pictures of you with bed head, no coffee, and no makeup in the morning, and you do NOT want those sweaty drunken pictures of your friends at the end of the night. Nine hours really is the perfect time for most wedding days.

To actually build a wedding day timeline, there are a lot of questions we have to ask our clients. For the purposes of walking you through how we do things, we’re going to make up fictional answers! πŸ™‚

First things first, we need to figure out the start times of the ceremony, and the reception. This will give us a place to start, because those times can’t be changed. So for this made up Bride, we are going to say her ceremony starts at 6:00pm, and expects it to last 30 minutes. They have opted to do a First Look, so we can do many of their pictures before the ceremony!

6:00pm – Ceremony starts
6:30pm – Ceremony ends

We always encourage our clients to do family portraits in between the ceremony and the reception. When we are shooting, family pictures usually take about 20-30 minutes. They want to be announced at their reception at 7:30pm.

6:00pm – Ceremony starts
6:30 – Ceremony ends / Start family pictures
7:00pm – End family pictures / Leave for Reception
7:15pm – Arrive at Reception Hall
7:30pm – Announced at Reception

Usually, the DJ or band will control the specifics of the reception timeline. Normally 2 or 2.5 hours is more than enough time for pictures at the reception. Like we said before, much more time, and your reception pictures will start to look repetitive. So, that looks like this!

6:00pm – Ceremony starts
6:30pm – Ceremony ends / Start family pictures
7:00pm – End family pictures / Leave for Reception
7:15pm – Arrive at Reception Hall
7:30pm – Announced at Reception
9:30pm – Photographers Leave

We have an end time! Since we know this Bride has a 9 hour wedding collection, we also know what time we can start, and fill in some of the blanks. We require an hour of “getting ready” shots. This time is spent capturing the details of your day, like, your dress, your shoes, your rings, flowers, and all the other cute little arrangements you see on our website!

12:30pm – Photographers start
1:30pm – Get into dress / Leave for First LookΒ 
6:00pm – Ceremony starts
6:30pm – Ceremony ends / Start family pictures
7:00pm – End family pictures / Leave for Reception
7:15pm – Arrive at Reception Hall
7:30pm – Announced at Reception
9:30pm – Photographers LeaveΒ 

I want to get you back to the ceremony site with plenty of time to relax, eat, reapply makeup, or what have you, so we want to give 30 minutes to an hour there. The rest goes to, you guessed it, PORTRAITS! πŸ™‚

12:30pm – Photographers start
1:30pm – Get into dress / Leave for First Look
2:00pm – First Look / Bride + Groom / Bridal Party
5:00pm – Leave for Ceremony
6:00pm – Ceremony starts
6:30pm – Ceremony ends / Start family pictures
7:00pm – End family pictures / Leave for Reception
7:15pm – Arrive at Reception Hall
7:30pm – Announced at Reception
9:30pm – Photographers LeaveΒ 

If you are looking at this thinking “DEAR GOD!!! 3 HOURS FOR PORTRAITS?!?” Fear not. We love photographing, but even we don’t have enough poses to last us 3 hours. This time gets eaten up much quicker than you might think. Factor in inevitably running a bit late (seriously, it happens to the best of us),Β any mishaps that might happen, and travel time, and trust us, we’ll be cruising in right in on time.

Are you still with me?!? We know that was long, but we hope that gave you some insight into how to make sure you have enough time for pictures in your wedding day timeline!

About Adam and Keli

Creative. Clean. Different. We are a team of creatives in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky with a passion for storytelling. Founded in 2006, our studio has been recognized as one of the best wedding photographers in Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky by various publications, websites, and groups. We’d love to show you our studio and walk you through our albums, canvases and other print photography products. We can also provide more information on our Wedding Collections and introduce you to our team! We’d love to help, connect with us now.

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