The Wedding Timeline

Tips on Creating the Perfect Wedding Timeline

wedding timeline

Creating your wedding day timeline may seem like a task too stressful for most, but it doesn’t have to be! Here are a few tips for you to keep in mind when you sit down to tackle this part of your planning process.

  1. Make a list of all of your day’s events.
  2. Organize that list.
  3. Create a simplified timeline for vendors.
  4. Keep your photography needs in mind.

So, for the first one, you want to make a list of everything that will happen on your day. Don’t leave out anything! My advise for this is walk through your day in your mind, from the moment you wake up and have brunch with your bridesmaids to your sparkler exit. This list can be vague, for example it could look like this:

Day of events example list.

  • Wake up 7:15 am
  • Breakfast delivered 8 am
  • Start hair and makeup 9:30 am
  • Photographer arrives 10:30 am
  • Father’s first look 12:30 pm
  • First look 1 pm
  • etc.

Still on the fence about a first look? Check out my Pinterest Board for images from first looks! Something to think about, having a first look will add 25-30% more images to your gallery!

Wedding photographer
Tip: As a photographer, I use your timeline to schedule my day so that we get the most out of our time together. I also use your timeline to manage location scouting and photographing the details of your day. I am good at making up time, but don’t want you to feel rushed in anyway so a good timeline is very important!

Next, you want to make sure it is organized and you have allowed for ample amounts of time between events and for travel. This is where you get into the details. Even if it’s getting from the bridal suite to the front lawn for your first look, it needs to be accounted for. Keep in mind any traffic that may be encountered during the drive from ceremony to reception.

A good rule of thumb is to always leave a little cushion time. As a photographer, I can make up time if needed, but you don’t want unexpected delays to cut into your portrait time.

Example of a detailed list of wedding day events.

  • Father’s first look (10 minutes) 12:30
  • Leave bridal suite for first look 12:45
  • First look (15 minutes) 1:00 – 1:15
  • Portrait time (30 minutes) 1:15-1:45
  • Drive to ceremony (15 minutes) 1:50-2:05
  • Freshen up at church (10 minutes) 2:10-2:20
  • Get in place for ceremony entrance (5 minutes) 2:20-2:25
  • etc.
wedding detail shots
Tip: Make sure you have all your details ready in one area of your getting ready space for when your photographer arrives. Details take 45 minutes to an hour to photograph and hunting them down will eat up precious time and result in fewer detail shots in your gallery.

Thirdly, you will want to make sure that your vendors get the information that they will need to ensure your day runs smoothly on their end. Florists need to know when the venues will be ready for them to set up, and when they need to be finished so guests can arrive.

Take your timeline and list it out in a readable format that is easy for anyone to use. Make sure you list out all your vendors with their contact info so if they need to communicate with one another, they can! 🙂

Here is an example from my wedding (vow renewal) last year:

wedding timeline
Tip: Splitting up the guys and the girls on the timeline, if in different locations and have different timelines is super helpful. My second shooter will be with the guys during the getting ready part of the day and knowing what they are doing is a must!
wedding detail shots photography
wedding photographer jennifer badger

All JB Brides get personal timeline assistance!!

Lastly, when figuring out your wedding timeline you need to make sure that you have enough first look, portrait, family formal, and detail time built in. Here are a few loose guidelines for you to get a general idea about how much time you will need to build into your timeline for the best gallery results!!

Photography oriented wedding timeline example:

  • Details & Getting ready – an hour to an hour and a half
  • Getting into your dress/guys getting ready – 45 minutes
  • Bridal Portraits – 15 minutes
  • Father’s first look – 10 minutes
  • First look plus pre-ceremony portraits – 30 to 45 minutes
  • Bridal Party – 30 minutes
  • Family Formals – 15 to 20 minutes (this is for the immediate family, 5-8 family groupings)
  • Sunset portraits – 20 minutes
  • Controlled exit – 10 minutes

These time blocks are just an example. A lot of variables go into determining how much time we would need to set aside for each. Your wedding is a once in a lifetime moment, and will most likely be a blur by the end of your day. Making sure your wedding timeline aligns with your desired photography outcome will ensure that all those memories will be frozen in time for you to enjoy for ever.

Each of my brides will get one on one assistance with their timeline about 6-8 weeks from their wedding day. Just another perk of being a #JBbride!

wedding timeline
long veil shot natural light wedding
Wedding veil photo

Happy wedding planning!

signature jennifer badger

• Need help choosing the right veil to get those dreamy bridal portraits? Check out this blog post to get all the details!

• Check out my Pinterest board for all things wedding!!

  1. […] help with your wedding day timeline? I have put together a timeline resource guide to help you when you sit down to write it all […]

  2. […] maximizing your gallery! Want to learn about getting the most out of your wedding day? Check out my tips for creating a photography friendly […]

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wedding & family photography

located in Kernersville, NORTH CAROLINA