Virginia Wedding Photographer | Alina Thomas Photography | Lynchburg VA » Virginia Wedding Photography

WEDDING DAY TIMELINE

The secret to a stress-free wedding day? A well planned wedding day timeline. If you ever have, or are currently planning a wedding, you will soon find out how challenging it is to come up with a timeline on your own, when there are so many things to consider. Believe me, I’ve been there!  For that reason, I create a wedding day timeline for each and every one of my brides. This is helpful because it keeps everyone on the same page and allows enough time to capture the shots desired. A well planned wedding day timeline will ensure that your day runs flawlessly, while creating a stress-free atmosphere.

The most important thing I need to know while creating my brides’ timeline is whether or not they will do a first look. Why? There are (at least) 3 types of portraits that I need to make sure I capture on a wedding day: family portraits, bridal party portraits, and the most important ones, bride+groom portraits. With this in mind, I need to make sure I get all those types of photos, but most importantly, WHEN I am going to get them. And I am going to talk about this in detail later. The second thing I need to know is what time the ceremony will start.how to build a wedding day timeline

Here are the two main things I need to know when planning a timeline for my brides:

  • If they are doing a first look
  • Ceremony start time

Wedding Day Timeline WITH a First Look

Remember the 3 types of portraits I was describing above? If my bride and groom are doing a first look, it will allow time for all those pictures to be taken BEFORE the ceremony and not worry about them later in the day.

1:00 Photographers arrive

1:00-2:00 Detail shots, bridal prep, finishing touches of hair and makeup

2:00-2:30 First Look, Bride & Groom Pictures

2:30-3:00 Wedding Party Portraits

3:00-3:30 Immediate Family Portraits

3:30-4:00 Bride gets tucked away before ceremony, reception decor, early guests arriving

4:00 Ceremony Starts

4:30 Ceremony Ends

4:30-5:30 Extended Family Pictures

5:30 Reception Starts/Grand Entrance

(Depending on the time of the year, I like to take my bride and groom out for sunset pictures.)

9:00 Reception Ends/Grand Exit

Wedding Day Timeline WITHOUT a First Look

1:00 Photographers arrive

1:00-2:00 Detail shots, bridal prep, finishing touches of hair and makeup

2:00-2:30 Groom/Groomsmen Pictures (I choose to start with the guys so that the girls can have more time for finishing touches — hair and makeup)

2:30-3:00 Bride/Bridesmaids Pictures

I also try to take some of the family pictures in this time frame (groom and his parents, bride and her parents) so that we don’t take too much time away from the cocktail hour.

3:30-4:00 Bride gets tucked away before ceremony, reception decor, early guests arriving

4:00 Ceremony Starts

4:30 Ceremony Ends

4:30-4:50 Immediate Family Portraits

4:50-5:10 Bridal Party Portraits

5:10-5:30 Bride and Groom Portraits

Now, I could use a LOT more time for portraits, especially the Bride & Groom portraits. In my opinion, these are the most important pictures at your wedding, these are the pictures that you’ll want in your wedding album, these are the pictures that you will print and hang on your walls. However, I do take my bride and groom out for sunset pictures as well to compensate for the lack of time during the cocktail hour. I could probably go longer and extend this time to at least half an hour more, BUT, I do NOT want to make the guests wait and delay the reception. Why? This WILL ultimately look BAD on me as the PHOTOGRAPHER. There is nothing worse than being a guest at a wedding and having to wait for hours before you can start eating.

5:45 Reception starts/Grand Entrance

9:00 Reception ends/Grand Exit

These are just examples of wedding day timelines that seem to work very well. Whether you are doing a first look or not, the timeline can be adjusted to fit your own needs!

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