“A wedding timeline is a guide for all your vendors and wedding party to be on the same page.”
Why do we need a Timeline?
After 10 years of capturing weddings and special events, the most successful weddings have a detailed timeline starting from the very first experience of the day to the celebratory grand exit. It can be highly detailed or more broad...its ultimately up to you. This master timeline is used as a guide though for your vendors to follow on the same page whether your day is planned as a casual affair with beachy laid back vibes or a highly orchestrated experience with multiple locations, numerous experiences planned, special photo requests, and large wedding parties.
While your wedding is unique, there are some key elements to consider when planning the day to ensure there is adequate time for allowed for our team whether you have photography and or video coverage. Feel free to use the below tips to help create your timeline with your planner. Below are estimates & depending on what you may planned, the length of times may vary.
“If you have a videographer, be sure to incorporate their needs into your timeline.”
When should we have you start capturing our day?
When we start is entirely up to you. Over the years capturing weddings, we have found the best way to decide is actually pretty simple. Ask yourself what is the last thing you would like us to capture? Then back track the quantity of hours included in your package to determine the start time. If you need additional hour(s) of coverage, please email Jay at firstname.lastname@example.org
If your Sparkler exit is at 10:00 pm and you have an 8 hour package, we would start at 2:00 pm.
If you wish us to end at 8:00 pm, and have a 4 hour package, we would start at 4:00 pm.
If you have a 1 .5 hour ceremony only package, I usually recommend we start 5 minutes before your ceremony start time leaving you plenty of time for photos after the ceremony.
What Experiences Will You Have Planned?
I highly encourage reading through these real world scenarios for different experiences you may have planned for your day. After 500 weddings, I have found the estimated times are pretty spot on for 90% of weddings.
Intros, Details, & Dress Photos
Introductions 5 Minutes
Bridal Details & Dress Photos/Video 15 Minutes
Before we begin we like to spend a few minutes being intruded to your closest friends and family that are present. We also count out lighting and composition of the room to make any recommendations for the space available to us. Be prepared...Jay is notorious for moving coffee tables to make way for the bride for getting in dress shots. Lol.
General Ring Photos take about 5-6 minutes. Awesome Ring shots can also be captured during the reception during party dancing!
If you would like us to capture the wedding dress on a SPECIAL hanger or any details please have those ready prior to our arrival to ensure your investment with us is used wisely. You can ask a bridesmaid to help prepare these by removing tags from any attire or products, hang dresses, and gather all the brides personals together in one location for us. A HUGE thank you in advance for this!
Hair & Makeup + Robe Photos
20 Minute - 45 Minute Experience
Capturing those special getting ready moments with your best friends is unique to your day. You may have 1 to 13 people with you during this part of the day so plan accordingly. I recommend having us begin capturing this about the time the hair or makeup artist is completely finished with EVERYONE and only need to add final touches with the bride. If we are scheduled during this time, we usually capture candids blended in with a few glam style shots should time allow.
HAVE A BUFFER TIME!
Hair & Makeup Artists often take longer than expected. HAVE A BUFFER TIME with this in mind on your timeline, We would hate to see things start off behind and miss any photo or video opportunities you may have planned before the ceremony.
Robe Photos usually take about 10 Minutes to set up fun experience or just 2 minutes if you prefer ONE simple photo using the "hey look at the camera" approach. After the robe photos are completed, we usually excuse ourselves from the room for a few minutes so bridesmaids or family may get ready privately.
- Clean The Room Before we arrive.
- Remove hair ties from wrists and hide shoes.
- Have Champagne or Drinks Prepared for Celebrating!
Getting in The Dress
30 Minute Experience
Yes. It takes 20-30 Minutes. Slipping into the dress may only take a few minutes + lacing, or buttoning. You also may have to make alterations, put on a veil, tie heels, & jewelry.
We can work completely on the fly but if you are like us and desire the best lighting, composition, and candids, we would appreciate it if we can make a recommendation of where to "Get in the Dress" according to the size of the space, furniture, and background objects. As we photograph or film this once in a lifetime experience. We make gentle tips for various angles to allow you the joy with family and friends.
- Please put "Getting in Dress" or "Bride in Dress" on your timeline
- Put on the jewelry, garter, shoes, & veil, after the dress.
- Bridesmaids & Parents should be ready in their dresses prior to the bride getting in the dress.
Letter Exchange or Private Vow readings
How would you like this experience? Privately or in from of those with your getting ready location.
- If you have a video package and plan on a verbal reading of the letter or vows, please encourage others to give you a quiet space to work with the videographer.
- Did you know you can prerecord your vows & upload to Google Drive or Dropbox to share with us an audio file to use in a highlights film?
Groom Getting Ready & Groomsmen Formals
20 Minutes - 45 Minutes Max
Usually it takes between 20 minutes - 45 minutes to work with the gentlemen based on the size of the group. If your timeline or preference is to keep this minimal we can reenact groom getting ready shots later in the day if time allows....This is actually a common request from the groom.
- Clean the Space before we arrive
- Have any detail items ready for us to capture prior to arrival (flasks, gifts, etc...)
- Watch a youtube video prior to wedding to learn how to put on a tie
- Keep a lint brush handy nearby
- Always hang shirts and suits to prevent wrinkles as much as possible
Parking & Traveling Between Locations
Have a couple buffer slots allotted on your timeline for travel.
Having a few buffer times allotted in the day encourages spontaneity if anything runs behind or ahead of schedule. If you have multiple locations such as a Getting Ready Location, Ceremony Location, and a Reception Venue, you will need to account for paid parking, walking, traffic, & other variables. Popular locations like Destin, Savannah, & St Augustine are known as busiest on weekends and have tolls & draw bridges. Be sure to check out the local area or route if possible when it comes to relocating.
- Certain vendors like DJs & Videographers have heavy gear that may require special parking or time allotted to move from one location to the next.
“Having a few buffer times alloted encourages spontentiy if anything runs behind.”
The First Look
15-20 Minute Experience
Decide Between the Tp on Shoulder or Jay's Personal Favorite...see each other walk towards one another privately(more emotional). If you have a First Look or First Touch experience planned with your Fiancee or Father...we like to scout out the best location for lighting & composition. If you have a location already in mind please, please write it on your timeline and questionnaire. Just before the First Look, we like to setup the groom first while providing tips, then walk the bride to the location while providing tips, followed by letting things happen naturally from there.
6 Minutes -1 Hour 15 Minute Experience
Every ceremony is unique and I highly encourage reaching out to your Officant or religious figure performing the service to get an estimated time.
After the ceremony, there usually is about 5 or 10 minutes provided for congratulations, hugs, celebratory montes before Photography formals begin.
Always 15 Minutes prior to the ceremony starting, the videographer and photographer will be setting up audio mics, adjusting color settings, lighting, and cameras as needed to capture the most important part of the day.
Common Ceremony Lengths
- Beach Ceremonies 6-20 Minutes
- Rustic or Outdoor Venue 15-30 Minutes
- Catholic Ceremony 1 Hour Minimum
- Indoor Church Ceremony 35 Minutes
- Orthodox 1.5 Hours
Family Formal Photos
15-20 Minute Experience
Also known as "Traditional Look at The Camera" shots & "Family Group Photos". I have an amazing workflow that maximizes this experience with capturing numerous different variations of your family by starting with the entire family first. No need for a shot list unless you a have 1 or 2 very specific requests,
This experience is HIGHLY recommended to only include the following:
Grandparents, Mothers, Fathers, Step Parents, Your Brothers & Sisters & their Spouses & children. We understand every family is different in size and relationship.
If group shots are to include Aunts, Uncles, & Cousins you will need to add an additional 10 Minutes to your timeline. Don't forget if you have a reception this is an ideal time to have a photo with them to ensure they feel welcome.
You are welcome to tell us about special requests & relationships in the Wedding Questionnaire located in the Client Portal on our website.
Bridal Party Formals
10-15 Minute Experience
The average bridal party size is around 4-5 bridesmaids, you may have more or less. During this time we will take a few group photos and a couple photos of each bridesmaid with the bride. If you would like this formal outdoor mini photo shoot, please plan about 10-15 minutes plus the length of the time it takes to walk to the desired location. Also keep in mind if its midday try to pick a location that is shaded to prevent squinting or harsh shadows. You are welcome to schedule this on your timeline with the Wedding Party Formals or before the ceremony depending on how you have your day planned. Don't forget your bouquets!
Couples Formal Photos
20-30 Minute Experience(Recommended)
Today is all about your love and we want to capture it the best way possible. Giving us a solid uninterrupted 20-30 minutes ensures a variety of creativity, romantic, traditional, and detail shots. You can choose Photographer's Choice for the location(s) or recommend your own location(s).
- The BEST TIME OF DAY for outdoor natural lighting is 30 minutes to 1 hour before sunset for photography. What time is sunset?
- Sneak out during the reception for 10-15 minute soft the epic dusk or night style photo but be sure to put it on your timeline.
- Expect the unexpected...some of our best shots are on the fly and inspired by the moment.
“Did you know you can easily practice together epic poses during an engagement session or on a date to feel more comfortable in front of the camera?”
For the most part your DJ or Band will coordinate your reception. Throughout the reception we primarily capture canids. We may make recommendations for visual composition for you such as cake cutting, bouquet & garter tosses, and creative ideas through out your reception. Heres a quick list of estimated real world times of experiences you may have planned on your day. Please reach out to your Dj or MC for an ideal estimate for their related services.
Reception Wedding Party Intros 5 minutes
Welcome Speech 1- 5 Minutes
First Dance(s) 2-4 Minutes Each
Cake Cutting 3-5 Minutes
The Shoe Game 10-15 Minutes
Bouquet & Garter Toss 5 Minutes Each
The Photo Booth
Please see Your Package for Length of Time Included
Placing your photo booth start and end times on your timeline ensures your band or DJ is aware there will be a photo booth present. You get to decide when it starts and ends for the event. Please find out what is the earliest time we may access the space used for the photo booth. Is there electricity located near the space for out printer?
Popular Start and End Times
- Beginning of Cocktail Hour
- Starting just after Dinner and ending 15 minutes before the evening concludes.
Did you know you can add the photo booth each additional hour for $125?
Speeches & Toasts
Speeches and toasts are one of our favorite parts of the day as we get to learn more about you and your relationships with others. We may make recommendations for lighting and composition to the person giving the speech to prevent undesired objects in the background such as trashcans, exit signs, etc.
- If you have tall flower arrangements on your table or other objects that prevent us from viewing your reactions we highly recommend you stand during toasts and speeches.
- If champagne or drinks are to be part of this experience, partner with your Caterer or Coordinator to ensure these are ready prior hand.
The Sparkler or Grand Exit
10-15 Minutes (From Lining Up Guests up to Your Final Exit)
Celebrating the day with a Grand exit is a modern tradition no matter whether you have a sparklers, leds, glow sticks, or jumping in your favorite vehicle. When planning your exit length with your timeline, keep in mind the following questions:
- Will your guests be drinking....heavily?
- Do we want to pose for 10 seconds in the middle for a kiss or other pose so the photographer can capture it?
- Do you have someone sober (DJ, Venue, Coordinator) to help line up all your guests SAFELY(sparklers)?