Prepare yourselves, this one is a bit lengthy but because there are many questions and factors that go into your wedding timeline. We have come up with three different timelines based on different priorities. We understand each couple has their own things they would rather focus on. The first two are focused more so on traditionalism, pleasing guests and dinner at the normal/expected time. Whereas the third is all based around your photos that day and making the most of your photography/videography investment.
One major factor is whether or not to do a first look. A first look is when the bride and groom have a moment before the ceremony to see each other, embrace the moment and in my opinion, makes for some of the most amazing portraits of just the couple.
Now of course there are those who would prefer to be more traditional and have the bride revealed when she walks down the aisle. Keep in mind, this requires bride and groom pictures get lumped with bridal party and family portraits.
With a first look:
12 PM Bridal party gets ready, while PPS gets candid shots and detail shots (rings, dress, florals, church/venue etc.)
1:30 Dress is put on (after parents and rest of bridesmaids are dressed) and bridal shots
2-2:45 Bride and groom first look/private portraits
2:45 – 3:30 Bridal party portraits 3:30-4 Breathing time
4 pm Ceremony
4:45 Family Portraits (while rest of guests proceed to reception cocktail hour, as does the second or third shooter to get reception decorations)
Travel (may add additional time)
5:15 – last few bride/groom and bridal party photos
5:30 – DJ introduces party and Mr. + Mrs.!
6 pm Dinner is served
Without, there is more time photographers reserved to get shots between ceremony and reception.
2 pm Getting ready pictures
3 pm Ooh’s and Ahh’s over the bride in her dress!
3 – 3:30 Bride/bridesmaids/her family
3:30 – 4 pm Groom/Groomsmen/his family, while bride does any finishing touches and relaxes!
4:00 – 4:30 pm Breathing time 4:30 ceremony begins
5 pm all family formals (with provided list to go as quickly as possible)
*Travel to reception*
5:30 – Bridal party
5:45 – Just bride and groom pictures
6:15 Entrance/First dance
6:30 – Dinner is served
However, for the couple who is as passionate about photography and the documentation of the big day the ideal timeline would go more like this:
1:30 pm details
2:30 – 3:30 bride/bridal party prep
3:30 – 4:15 First look/bride and groom portraits
4:15 – 5 Bridal party 5:00 – 5:30 Breathing time
6 pm Family Formals
Travel to reception
7 to 7:30 first husband and wife pictures and additional bridal party pictures at lovely golden hour
7:30 entrance/first dance
9 pm cake cutting
11 pm exit
Now as you can see this pushes things back in order to accommodate with the sunset in spring/summer for those magical romantic pictures before the reception.
Again, there are clearly many things to consider. However, please be warned against shortening portrait time anywhere. To get people from inside the church to outside, in place etc takes time. It is always better to have a time buffer than to be squeezed in, plus you’re more likely to look relaxed and natural than constantly wondering if we’re exactly on time. (That’s what planners and coordinators are for!)