The Best Wedding Day Timeline

Craft a flawless wedding timeline for a seamless, stress free experience, and a memorable celebration that ensures timeless wedding images

The key to a wedding day timeline that runs smoothly is planning ahead. Breaking down the entire wedding day into an organized timeline helps to keep everything, and everyone, on track to maximize where you invested your money in. The more detailed you can make the wedding timeline, the better. Many brides like to center their wedding ceremony late in the afternoon vs earlier in the morning. However, late afternoon weddings can create timeline concerns, and can limit obtaining timeless wedding images, and can create a rush to squeeze a lot to do in a small amount of time if not planned carefully.

To help answer questions regarding how to structure a wedding day, I have created the best wedding day timeline based on a 5:30pm ceremony time that will maximize wedding day experiences while ensuring room for beautiful wedding images.

The Best Wedding Timeline

Note that this wedding timeline also assumes the ceremony and reception are being held at the same venue, which means guests won’t need to travel to a separate party location before cocktail hour can begin. If you’re having your wedding reception at a different site, travel time will also need to be accounted for when planning wedding portraits.

Best Wedding Day Timeline for Flawless Wedding Images

To start your wedding day, you and your fiancé spend the morning together at a private Airbnb, hotel suite, or at your home near your wedding venue. You enjoy your morning coffee together before the busy day is upon you. You share brunch and mimosas catered with your wedding party, and family. Hair and makeup tends to you and your bridal party in your suite. Arcade games keep the groomsmen occupied.

1:30pm – Head to Venue

You travel as a group to your wedding venue. Hair and makeup is complete for the entire party.

2:00pm – Photographer Arrives

Your wedding photographer will arrive about 30 minutes before you get in your wedding dress to get images of the dress, rings, invitations, and the little details pertaining to your wedding. Your photographer will check with the florist regarding your bouquet and corsages, and will check specifics of your venue to understand any potential concerns to mitigate.

The Best Wedding Timeline

2:15pm – Wedding Party Gets Dressed

The wedding party will begin getting dressed to ensure cute images of your wedding party getting ready with you. Pro Tip: if you want images of you and your bridal party in matching robes, do it before the bridal party puts their dresses on.

2:45pm – Bride & Groom Gets Dressed

For a more modern getting ready timeline, you opt to ready together at the venue Instead of worrying about a first look together, you opt to share the time together. You help him put his tie on, his corsage, and read intimate letters to each other alone. Your photographer will capture each moment while you ease your nerves.

Once you’ve had a few moments alone, and you’re mostly dressed, your photographer will capture intimate moments of your mom helping you zip up your dress and slip on your shoes.

The Best Wedding Timeline

3:15pm – First Look With Your Dad + Portraits With Your Parents

Even though you have opted to go non-traditional with your fiancé you still capture a special moment with the first love of your life. You spend time taking images with both parents for both bride and groom.

3:45pm – Bridal Portraits + Portraits Together

Your photographer will focus on capturing gorgeous bridal portraits and detail shots at pre-scouted locations around your venue. For timeless wedding images that are art worthy, your wedding photographer will find the best natural light around your wedding venue for jaw dropping portraits.

South Carolina outdoor wedding venue

By capturing images together before the ceremony, you give yourself more breathing room to avoid rushing after the ceremony. Extra time is allotted because this is really why you hired a professional photographer. If you opt to wait until after the ceremony for images together, you are narrowing your timeline to capture quality images alone. After the wedding ceremony, family and guests will want to say congratulations, take selfies, want images with the newly weds, and want you to join in with a few cocktails to celebrate. As much as we would like to keep our guests and wedding party on track with a timeline, it can become challenging. Also, depending on the time of year, lighting can also become a concern after the ceremony, and can limit image quality of wedding portraits.

The Best Wedding Timeline

5:00pm – Family Photos

While guests are arriving and taking their seats, capture images with your family before they take their seats. Have your family be ready to meet you in the location the photographer recommends for amazing family images. Your photographer should have a shot list of every family combination you want captured before the wedding to help expedite the process. Large extended families are best to wait until after the ceremony to help manage time.

The Best Wedding Timeline

Memorable photo tip: We all think of family first looks with your dad. Consider including a first look and special moment with your grandmother for a sweet memory you will forever cherish.

First look with your grandma

5:30pm – Ceremony Begins

Your photographer will capture every detail from far and wide of the main event.

The best wedding timeline
The best wedding timeline

6:15pm – Cocktail Hour Begins + Extended Family & Wedding Party Images

Capture gorgeous images with your “I Do Crew” and extended family. The immediate family images have been covered and gives you more time to celebrate with your wedding party.

The Best Wedding Timeline
The Best Wedding Timeline

6:45pm – Extra Photo Time

Because you have planned early in the day, you have time for any images you missed or want. Great time to do some fun wedding party photo ops, or fun images of just you two.

7:30 to 10:00pm

Your photographer will capture each little detail of your reception from each dance, to the best man speech, dancing with your friends and family, each little detail you planned so hard for, and your grand exit.

The Best Wedding Timeline
The Best Wedding Timeline
The Best Wedding Timeline

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