The secret to a stress-free wedding day? Scheduling enough prep time! Here, get a complete breakdown to what happens when on your wedding day. This is just one guide from a photographer’s point of view. There are many different aspects to your wedding day that will alter your own timeline.
30/pp Bridesmaids’ Makeup
30/pp Bridesmaids’ Hair
45 Bride’s Makeup
60 Bride’s Hair
15 First Look
30 Pre-wedding photos with wedding party
30-60 Ideal Ceremony Length.
15 Receiving Line for 100 guests. 150 guests, allow 20 minutes. More than 150 guests? Skip the receiving line and say hello at the reception.
TIP: It’s best to have someone coordinate this so that guests know what to expect. Have throwables/blowables ready with a sign attached. Bride and groom, have a getaway car ready so that you walk out and down and into car even if you are returning to the church for photos. From my experience your guests will not leave the church until you do. Make sure that your wedding party and immediate family members know to return inside the church after the receiving line. Again, it is best to designate one person from the wedding party to announce this. If you take this advice, your receiving line will only take 15 minutes. If not, it may take 30+ for you to get back inside to take your formal portraits.
60 Cocktail Hour
Not sure what specific time of day to set your wedding timeline? Start with the times you know and work from there. Know that your reception has to end at 10pm? Work backwards from there. Know that you only have your photographer for 10 hours? Cut out some extra things that take time like your receiving line or a first look to save yourself some time and money.
Crunched for time? Here is an excellent wedding timeline with doing a majority of the wedding party photos before the ceremony.
12:30PM – Begin bride’s hair (At ceremony location)
1:30PM – Begin bride’s makeup
2:00PM – Photographers arrive to photograph details and final prep
3:00PM – Bride puts on dress
3:30PM – Bride & groom’s first look/portraits
4:00PM – Wedding party portraits
4:30PM – Family formal portraits
5:00PM – Final primping while wedding guests arrive; Photographers shoot ceremony/reception details & décor
5:30PM – Ceremony begins
6:00PM – Cocktail Hour/ Wedding Party ph
7:00PM – Grand entrance/first dance/prayer
7:15PM – Meal is served
8:00PM – Toasts/special dances
8:30PM – More dancing
9:00PM – Cake cutting/bouquet toss/more dancing
10:00PM – Photographers leave
This ensures that you make the best of your day and allow time to eat and use the restroom throughout the day.