How to Create the Perfect Timeline for a Wedding

So, you’ve found yourself on this blog post, likely because you’re newly engaged and gearing up to plan your big day. It’s time to map out that perfect wedding timeline that will truly come together. Phew, talk about a daunting task! But hey, hear me out. Helping craft flawless wedding timelines is pretty much what I do as a wedding photographer. So, I have mapped out the ultimate guide for how to create the perfect timeline for a wedding (just for you)!

A brief heads-up: I specialize in capturing weddings as a Georgia wedding and elopement photographer, not in planning them. However, I’ve had the privilege of photographing plenty of weddings to grasp what clicks and what doesn’t. Just remember, I’m passing along tips that I’ve seen do wonders in making things go smoothly and setting you up for success!

An Outline for a Typical Wedding Day Timeline

There are many aspects to consider when creating a wedding day timeline. So, here are a few key things to think about as it pertains to each section of a typical wedding day.

Wedding Day Timeline for a 5:30 pm Ceremony

In this wedding day plan, we’re aiming for a 5:30 pm ceremony with 8 hours of photo coverage. That’s plenty for a wedding featuring a first look and all the festivities in one spot.

2 pm – Detail Shots: Wedding detail shots are the first thing to be photographed on a wedding day. This includes your dress, shoes, veil, bouquet, invitations, etc. Approximate time: 1 hour.

3 pm – Getting Ready: Pro Tip! Tell your hair and makeup artist that you need to have hair and makeup completed at least 2.5 hours before your ceremony start time. You want to be finished by the time “getting ready” photos begin as most of these photos are staged. This will also be the time the bride will be zipped into her dress, first looks with parents and/or bridesmaids. All those people should be fully ready and dressed as well! Approximate time: 1 hour.

4 pm – First Look Photos: It will take a little bit of time to coordinate this and get everyone hidden and placed so there is no accidental viewing before the cameras are ready. This is also a great time to get some bride and groom portraits so that you don’t miss all of your cocktail hour! Check out this blog post to see if first look portraits are a good option for you! Approximate time: 30 minutes.

Daughter and Dad first look photos will forever melt my heart! See more from this sincere wedding at the Wildflower 301 wedding venue, here!

4:30 pm – Wedding Party Photos: After the first look is done it is a great time to get all the wedding party photos completed! That includes the girls by themselves, the guys by themselves, as well as the group as a whole. Approximate time: 30 minutes.

5 pm – Hide Away: I always recommended to have some time before the ceremony to hide the bride and groom and to give them a few moments to freshen up and get ready to walk down the aisle! Approximate time: 30 minutes.

5:30 pm – Wedding Ceremony: The best kickoff time is ideally at least 2 hours before sunset. Remember, the sun tends to set earlier during fall and winter. So, if you’re eyeing a wedding during those picturesque seasons, aim for an earlier ceremony to catch the daylight! Approximate time: 30 minutes.

6 pm – Family Photos: Immediately following the ceremony is the best time for family photos since everyone is already gathered in one place. Ask the officiant for family members to hang back while the rest of the guests go off to cocktail hour. Approximate time: 30 minutes.

6:30 pm – Sunset Photos: To get the best golden light the best time for sunset photos is in the hour before sunset! So, the start time will depend on your location and time of year. Approximate time: 30 minutes.

7 pm – Reception: Now it’s time to party!! Your wedding day coordinator will help determine the best time for cake cutting, toasts, dances, etc. based on your dinner time. Approximate time: 3+ hours.

10 pm – Send Off: No matter the type of send of you do, I always recommend you make sure your photographer, coordinator, DJ, and wedding party are all on the same page and understand where all the guests need to be, because corralling large groups can be a challenge. So, having as many people helping ensure it all goes smoothly is ideal. Approximate time: 15 minutes.

Want this wedding timeline guide sent to your email to easily have on hand to share with your vendor team? Get access to the guide here!

All in all, if you found this blog helpful, it would mean the world to me if you’d share it with your people on Pinterest! Just hover over the image, and click the “pin it” button, and share!

Georgia Wedding Photographer | Rachel Boyd Photo

From genuine moments and raw emotions to timeless memories! Georgia is not only my home but the canvas for capturing your love story. So, whether it’s in the North Georgia mountains, bustling Atlanta, or any other location you select to celebrate. My approach leans towards crafting sincere, authentic photographs through unposed shots and playful movement. Do you believe we’d make a great team? Feel free to explore my contact form and let’s begin crafting your enchanting day together!

Wanting more ideas for how to make the most of your wedding day with an efficient wedding day timeline? Join my newsletter here to get access to my exclusive wedding planning guides and be the first to know about exclusive session dates. (I promise I don’t spam you with a gazillion emails)!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *