FAQ Post \\ Wedding Day Timeline!

We’re keeping things rolling this week with lots of fun + hopefully helpful blog posts! One of the main questions we get from our brides is, “How long do I need you there on our wedding day?” along with “Help with our timeline, please!!” We thought it would be helpful to share what we feel is an ideal timeline for relaxation, smooth flow of the day, and of course lots of time for beautiful photos built in! We’ll divide it up into whether you choose to do a first look + get all your photos out of the way earlier, or a more traditional approach.

Awesome Timeline if you decide to do a First Look: About 8 hours of coverage

We count backwards from the ceremony start time to figure out our start time. For example, most summer ceremonies are around 5 pm. If you want to do a first look, get all the bridal party photos, family + portraits out of the way early on so you can enjoy time at your cocktail hour, this is the timeline for you!

2 pm: Photographers Arrive (3 hours prior to ceremony) –

2-2:45 pm: Shoot finishing touches of getting ready, bride’s details (dress, etc) bride putting on dress, groom’s finishing touches

2:45-2:50: First Look!

3-4:30: Bridal Party, Bride + Groom, and even immediate family photos done! We LOVE when our couples choose to get all their photos out of the way pre-ceremony so we can have time to relax with you, think creatively, have time to play with different poses / angles / fun areas around your venue, and just give you MORE photos then you’d get traditionally.

4:35 : Freshen up for the ceremony / into hiding

5-5:30 Ceremony

5:30-6:30 : Cocktail hour….that YOU get to attend and spend time with your guests at!! This is also a great time to get larger family group shots out of the way, but mostly we’re shooting candids!

6:30-10:30: Party time! Typically we’ll steal you away for 5 minutes during sunset for a few romantic photos, and/or 5 minutes for a dramatic “night shot” at some point during the evening.

Awesome Timeline if you DON’T do a First Look (All one location weddings or very close by ceremony/reception spaces where the reception immediately follows the ceremony) – about 7 hours of coverage on average

3 pm: Photographers Arrive

3-3:45 pm: Getting Ready, Finishing Touches, Details

3:45-4:30: Tim shoots Groomsmen photos, Mom + Dad + siblings, Lauren shoots Bridesmaid Photos, Mom + Dad + siblings, Bridal portraits

5-5:30: Ceremony

5:30-6:30 Cocktail Hour. During cocktail hour, we would shoot entire bridal party, bride + groom portraits, and family portraits

6:30-10:30 Reception.During Reception, shoot all larger family groups + special requests

**Note: This timeline only works if your ceremony ends before dark so we still have light to shoot! 🙂

Awesome Timeline if you Don’t do a First Look + there’s a large time gap in between ceremony + reception (Church weddings, mostly):

Most church weddings have a 1 or 2 pm mass.

12 noon- Photographers Arrive + shoot getting ready

1 pm Mass

2:30-3 pm Mass is over, Receiving Line, Family Photos

3:30-5 Bridal Party + Bride & Groom Photos

5:30-10:30 Reception

Hopefully this helps you as you’re planning through your timeline!! Have a question? Want to know more? You can always feel free to leave it below in the comments + we’ll answer to the best of our ability! 🙂



  • Katie EissMarch 12, 2013 - 5:53 pm

    This is so helpful! Thanks Lauren and Tim!ReplyCancel

  • Melissa McManusMarch 12, 2013 - 10:05 pm

    So funny that our minds were on the same wave length today! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Bethany Graham RustMarch 13, 2013 - 2:35 am

    This is such a great post for both photographers and clients! Loving your new blog posts, can’t wait to see more. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Laura HatrockMarch 12, 2013 - 6:19 pm

    Thank you Katie – the timeline has made me nutty!ReplyCancel

  • Lauren FairMarch 12, 2013 - 11:54 pm

    it totally is! We’ve been meaning to post this for a while because it’s the most common things brides figure out with us! 🙂 I want to read yours too!ReplyCancel

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