Simplify Your Wedding Day Timeline

So many wonderful experiences in life come down to the right timing. Planning a wedding is no different. In my years of   experience, I believe less is more when it comes to creating your wedding day timeline. The more places to go, the less overall time you actually have for photos, and more importantly for just enjoying your wedding day. 2a

When I first began shooting, I would agree upon the numerous photo-spots because I wanted to please my brides and give them what they asked for. The more places we would stop, the less opportunity I felt we had for photos. What I’ve realized is, most are planning their weddings for the first time, and don’t know how the day will unfold. They don’t take into account that loading and unloading 15+ people in their wedding party from a limo takes time. Everyone is in a celebration mood that day so they aren’t thinking in terms of a schedule, and therefore don’t move like they’re on one.

4Create a timeline that isn’t micro-managing every minute of the day. Leave room for enjoyment. Choose your first look at the location you are getting ready at. It saves time. Choose stopping at one bar instead of two. Arrive to your reception early instead of late. Eliminate the things that aren’t necessary. If there is one thing you can’t add more of, it’s time. The minutes roll by faster than you could ever imagine. 5Most importantly, make a point to select your ceremony & reception venues as places you would like your photos taken at rather than obstacles to photograph around.3

Best wishes for a wedding filled with enjoyment. If you are having trouble creating your own wedding day timeline, contact your photographer. He/she will likely have some helpful suggestions.



When you should consider doing a first look

Many couples love the idea of doing a first look regardless of the timeline for their wedding day. They want the heartfelt photos capturing their collective reactions of their “first looks” of one another. They like the idea of having some extra time together before the celebration gets underway. With the benefit of having more time together, we also get more photos taken before the ceremony….which leaves more time after the ceremony for the couple to enjoy the party. From a photographer’s standpoint, it gives us more opportunity to be creative with the bride and groom and it also gives us a time cushion in the event the weather is questionable that day.

Basically, having more time & more bride/groom photos is a bonus of doing a first look.

FIRSTLOOKThis post is for the couples who are rooted in the tradition of Weddings. They want to have the excitement and anticipation of the wait to see each other until the ceremony. I do love this tradition and respect the couples who wish to wait. The important thing to consider (if you wish to see each other first at the ceremony) is timing and your expectations of photography. If you are planning a wedding ceremony for early afternoon, you will have no issues with timing. But, if you are planning a wedding with a late afternoon ceremony (4pm or later), with a reception to follow shortly after, timing is something you have to think about.


Let’s say your ceremony begins at 4:00 pm. It will end about 4:30pm. If you greet your guests in a receiving line, it will take at least 30 minutes. That puts the day at 5:00 pm. Your guests will enjoy cocktail hour and we’ll be tackling photos. During that 5:00 – 5:45 cocktail hour, we will be completing family pictures along with photos of the entire wedding party and most importantly photos of the bride & groom, before heading inside for dinner.

You should also consider the available daylight you have on your wedding day.


During the months of May – September, sunset is quite a bit later. So, we can always do more photos after dinner before the sun goes down. If you have planned a fall or winter wedding, sunset is usually during the meal, so natural light photos are not an option later. (Night photography can be quite amazing, but you should always ask your photographer if he/she is comfortable shooting it and has the necessary equipment to pull off the style you want.)

no first look

Think about what your expectations are for photography. Any photographer can work with the schedule you create for your day, but you need to think about what you want from your photographer. If your pinterest board is filled with photos of a bride and groom outside using the sun as the light source, you will want to give your photographer enough time to be able to capture that for you. An hour between the ceremony & reception might not be enough time for everyone. Each photographer works at a different pace. It’s important to discuss the schedule so everyone is satisfied with the end result of your wedding day :: the photos!

Ultimately, you and your photographer should share the same

visual expectations of your wedding day.  


I work on timelines with each of my couples before even booking the day. If you need help with your own timeline, feel free to shoot me an email! Good luck with your plans! -Jodee

Free Printable :: Wedding Day Reminders

Being a wedding photographer for almost 10 years now, I’ve decided to put to use the knowledge and tips I’ve learned over the years. Want to know what is so often over looked on a wedding day? Extra socks, shirts & shoes (because wedding days can get hot and sweaty, and wedding shoes are rarely comfortable!) I’ve had brides forget their jewelry and grooms forget their ties. I’ve had couples forget their gifts for each other. They’re all just details, but details that are important to making a wedding day run smoothly. You can download your free printable below to help keep your wedding day essentials organized 🙂

Wedding day essentials printable: (with added text)  or  (without added text)

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