Are you an upcoming bride/groom and contemplating what shots you want to be captured at your wedding and have no idea where to start with your timeline? I am here to help.
Firstly, I want to recommend hiring a professional wedding day coordinator. Normally, inclusive wedding venues typically provide you with a day-of wedding coordinator who steps in about 6-8 weeks before your wedding day and takes over with all of the decorations, communications, and all of the above. I have worked with some amazing coordinators, so if you are a client of mine and would like to see my preferred I would love to provide those companies for you to make your wedding a smooth experience.
Every single wedding day is so unique and personal to the couple -- what I am going to provide is a simple timeline that is very general to get the point across for what it typically looks like.
When I make photography timelines for my clients, I provide a detailed shot-list of what will be taken. That list is also very general, and I always allow my clients to show me inspiration for shots they would like and let them give me a shot-list of things they would like also. I am very transparent with my clients that no shots are guarantee. Especially if it is just me, with no second shooter. I do try my best to cover all of the preferred shots, but I am human so please understand and be mindful that sometimes weddings go off course and go by so fast so it may get missed.
Now that I have covered all the disclaimers, without further ado let's get into the nitty gritty of wedding timeline and shot-lists!
Typically Wedding Timeline & Shot-List
When creating wedding timelines you should start off with the ceremony time & end time and go from there when creating events around those two times. For this timeline, I am going to use a ceremony start time of 5:00pm (which is typical for summer weddings) and an exit of 10pm (with photographer/videographer coverage of 8-10 hours).
I am going to do this timeline without a first look -- because I do now that most wedding couples don't do first looks but if you are you are able to complete a majority of the photos before the ceremony, just keep that in mind!
Bride(s) & Bridesmaid(s) Getting Ready
Bride(s) & Bridesmaids must all be ready before photographer arrives
Photographer will start with details, girls may do touch-ups at this time -- photographer will also get getting ready shots of that
Getting in dress *Florist & Caterers Arrive*
Photographer will get shots of your mother, sister, or guardian (or whoever is helping you get dressed) buttoning your dress, helping you put on your shoes, putting on your veil, earrings, etc.
First look with Bridesmaids Bridesmaid Portraits
Bridesmaid portraits with be of you with your girls, and also you individually with everyone. Once these are done, the bridesmaids are good to go back to the bridal suite.
Bridal Portraits *Start decorating the ceremony & reception space*
These are only individuals of the bride(s) in their dress with their bouquet. After these are complete, bride(s) may go back into the bridal suite.
Groom(s) & Groomsmen Arrive & Get Ready *DJ arrives*
Preferably, the boys can arrive fully dressed and the photographer will take "fake" getting ready shots of all of them in the groom suite. Make sure the boutonnieres are ready for them when they arrive. The grooms mother, father, or guardian can help the boys put their boutonnieres on.
Groomsmen portraits are the groom(s) with his best buds, and individually with each of them. Once these are done the groomsmen are good to go back and chill in the groom suite.
Groom Portraits *Ceremony should be fully decorated*
These are only individuals of the groom(s) in their tux or suite. After these are complete, groom(s) may go back and chill in the groom suite.
Guests start arriving
Your photographer during this time will take any detailed photos of the ceremony
Bridal party starts lining up to walk down the aisle, all guests should be seated at this time
Ceremony ends, guests will enter into cocktail hour
Have all immediate family stay at the ceremony space to do family photos immediately following the ceremony. Bridal party MUST stick around and not leave.
Family Photos Begin
I highly suggest making a family shot-list for your photographer for smooth and steady family pictures so it doesn't eat away at your time to take couples portraits!
Bridal Party Photos
These are photos of the combined bridal party, with bridesmaids & groomsmen together with the newly weds! Once these are done, the bridal party may wait outside the reception space until the couple is ready to enter the reception to do introductions (if you aren't doing introductions, bridal party may enter into reception).
Mr. & Mrs. Photos *reception starts, guests are to find their tables*
Mr. & Mrs. Photos are just you and your honey! This is the time to really take it all in before you enter into the reception!
Dinner is served!
If its buffet style, call them by table to avoid long lines. Bridal party always eats first, and the bride and groom do not leave their sweetheart table someone will bring you food.
Toasts & Cake Cutting
Dance floor is open!
Okay, so generally this is what a wedding timeline looks like. A lot of these things are relative by vendor. Always talk with your vendors to see how much time they will need in order to decorate your space, make your food, and photograph your day because your day is really reliant on your vendors to make it great. Although this is a general timeline, I hope you now have a better understanding of what it will look like. Use this list as an idea not as your shot-list because it isn't perfect (this is just a rou