Laura Barnes is a Georgia based wedding photographer, joyfully serving lighthearted couples in love.

How To Make A Wedding Timeline

September 29, 2020

bride and groom at sunset at green island country club wedding in columbus georgia

How to make a wedding timeline

One of the most important planning steps to tackle for your wedding is creating a full wedding day timeline. If you’re working with a wedding planner (or coordinator), they should be able to help with this task. It is also important to ask your wedding photographer if or how they assist with the timeline.

I create a custom wedding photography timeline for every couple I work with. This timeline covers every moment from my start to end time. It is usually a great building block for the master timeline (that includes all of your vendors).

I thought it may be helpful to share what a draft of a full photography timeline looks like. Please keep in mind this timeline is based on the wedding day taking place at one venue and including a first look (with sunset at 7PM). All wedding days are different. This is meant a planning tool. It is important to consult your wedding vendors and to create a timeline based on your needs. All photographers work differently, which means this timeline example may not be ideal for someone else.

Sample 10 Hour Wedding Photography Timeline

12:00PM – 1:00PM Finishing of getting ready time and photograph prep details

1:00PM End of prep (including all hair and makeup)

1:15PM – 1:45PM Bride gets dressed (bridesmaids are ready at this time too)

1:45PM – 2:15PM Optional time for: bride and bridesmaids first look, bride and Dad first look, groom and Mom first look, or gift/letter exchange

2:15PM Set up first look

2:25PM – 3:05PM Bride and groom first look and portraits

3:05PM – 3:45PM Wedding party portraits

3:45PM – 4:15PM Immediate family portraits

4:15PM Portraits end (guests may arrive up to 45 minutes early, this provides time to photograph venue details)

5:15PM – 5:45PM Ceremony

5:55PM – 6:15PM Just married portraits (option to photograph additional family portraits at this time) *Cocktail hour takes place at this time

6:45PM Grand entrance to reception

*7:00PM Sunset

6:45PM – 10:00PM Reception

A few things to keep in mind when creating your timeline:

What time is sunset on your wedding day? Not sure? A quick Google search will help. I recommend planning around sunset to utilize as much natural light as possible!

Are you planning a first look? If so, this provides the opportunity to photograph the majority of portraits pre-ceremony. This also allows for more time with your guests and a longer reception.

How long is your ceremony? Most ceremonies are around thirty minutes. If you are planning to include special religious or cultural customs this may increase the length of time. For example, a Catholic ceremony with full Mass is usually at least ninety minutes.

Do you have multiple venues? If so, plan for extra travel time between venues. Be sure to consider what traffic may be like and if any other events (like sports) will be around the same area on your wedding day. If possible, check what the drive is like on the same day of the week, at the same time your guests will be making the drive. I generally schedule a minimum of 30 minutes for travel time.

**The image above is from Bobby and Macy’s wedding at Green Island Country Club in Columbus, Georgia.

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