Building Your Timeline

This is your day! And I am here to help.

Designing a great timeline can be the key to wedding day success. A good timeline takes into consideration the moments of the day that are important to you and gives you enough time to not only live, but to enjoy those moments.

This is a list of standard time recommendations to help guide you in how many minutes to designate to certain photo aspect of the day. Keep in mind that any of these can items can have more/less time or maybe not even exist at all; It is all about what you choose to prioritize. I recommend that when building your timeline most “moments” have a little buffer time in between. For example, if first look is in a slightly different spot than bridal party photos then we cannot just jump straight from one to another without cutting into designated time chunks. So get buffer happy! Add 5 minutes here and there! Worst case scenario with this strategy is that you have a few extra minutes to breathe, celebrate and take in the day!

Those Details


The dress, the shoes, the venue, and so so so much more. Please remember that in order to get these photos I am going to need some time.

Pre-Ceremony Details: 45-60 min

For the pre-ceremony details such as the dress, rings, stationary, etc. I like to have at least a 45 minutes. I find that a full hour allows me to make sure I get it all as well as some hair and make up snaps.

Ceremony Venue Details: 15 min

These details are often shot as soon as set up of the ceremony space is complete or during the window in which the "bride is in hiding" and guests are about to arrive.

Reception Venue Details: 15 min

Reception venue shots can be tricky! If the space is fully set up prior to the ceremony shooting it at the same time as the ceremony venue can work perfectly. However, if set up is still under way a few minutes in cocktail hour can be the best time to designate that these pics are snapped.

Let's Get Ready!

Getting Ready

During the getting ready portion of your wedding day the little moments add up. Having time to celebrate and enjoy the feelings of anticipation make for the most wonderful getting ready photos.

Groom Getting Ready: 15 minute minimum

The guys getting ready photos can be simple and pretty quick. The tie can already be tied and the shots can just be final adjustments and finishing touches. Of course some may want more of the story and so having more time to capture these moments is always great. I love either having a second shooter or a larger time frame to spend focusing on the groom.

Bride Hair and Make Up Final Touches: 5 - 10 minutes

While I will be snapping pics here and there of the girls getting ready throughout my detail window, the true glam getting ready shots happen in the last few moments of the hair & make up being completed.

Matching outfits, Bubbles and Cheers: 10 - 15 minutes

Saving a bottle of champagne to pop with your girls, or have some custom cute outfits. Let's take a minute to get together and have some fun shots of you and your ladies living up those wedding day vibes!

Exchanging Notes: 15 minutes each

If notes and gifts are planned to be exchanged it is important to have that noted on the timeline and not to rush through. If your partner is able to make you cry then lets enjoy those happy tears!

Bride Getting in to the Dress: 30 minute minimum

Do not rush this! Getting into the dress may be as simple as a zip up, but the moment is so much more. From the shoes to the earrings the small details that go along with getting into the dress all of these represent the day finally coming together. I like to see 45 minutes to an hour ideally on a timeline for this. Allow yourself enough time to take it all in. Enough time to let the moms cry and your friends feel giddy. And finally in this window lets take some of those important bridal portraits in the moments of anticipation.

Bride In Hide: 45 - 60 minutes prior to ceremony

If only if only guests showed up just 15 min early... But… They never do. Unless your venue has some separate areas or if you are ok with people seeing the bride in her dress before she walks down the aisle you are going to want to be tucked away before the guests arrive. I recommend that the bride in hide time be as close to a full hour before the ceremony if possible.

Oh YES! First Look and Couple Portraits!

First Look and Couple Portraits

Bring on the magic!

First Look: 30 Minute minimum

I like to see at least 30 minutes chunk for first look. This is not enough time for all of the actual couple photos. What it does allow for is enough time to set up first look, allow for first look to happen in a manner that does not feel rushed, and then just a couple quick pics of you both looking fresh and in love.

Couple Portraits: 45 minute minimum

I like to see 45 minutes of time devoted to couple photos, however these do not have to happen at once. I do often put in a half an hour chunk (or longer) at one point in the day and then a 15 minute sunset window for couple photos in that pretty evening light.

Bridal Party, Family Formals & Other Groups

Bridal Party, Family Formals, and Other Groups

They are here and they are dressed for the occasion, so let's get these pics!

Bridal Party: 20 - 45 minutes

If your bridal party is 4 people or less, these photos will not take long. However if you have 10 or more people standing we are going to need more time. And if you have 14 or more people I recommend we put in the full 45 minutes, allowing for 15 min for each side and then 15 minutes for full group pictures. And remember we will be sure to do individual pics with each of your bridal party members during this time.

Family Formals: 15 - 45 minutes

When planning for family photos think about how many you photos you will actually will want and how many branches of family there are. I recommend keeping it as simple as possible. But even when keeping it simple the branches of family can sometimes take a while to get through. I also recommend that if there is any other small groups that are like family (ie. godparents, etc) that you invite them to join during this window and we work a photo of them into the mix. It is also common to split this window up if there is a first look; having immediate family photos happen pre-ceremony and then just a couple large extended family photos post ceremony.

Special Groups: No designated time

Whether it be all your college friends, a group of coworkers, or all the nieces and nephews together. If there are special groups like this I recommend having a list and then pulling these groups during either the cocktail hour or the reception. Also, sometimes the DJ, Band, or MC can help announce when it is time for these pics to happen.

"All my Guests" Photo - 10 minutes

If you do desire to get a photo of all your guests I will need to know before hand so that I can find a good vantage point for this photo. This photo is generally best done either directly after the ceremony or just before everyone finds their seats for the reception.

Guest Arrival/Cocktail Hour Guest Portraits - 20 minutes

If I have a second shooter I will send them out on this… But if not then consider adding a little block in the timeline where I can be with you guests prior to them hitting the grub and the dancefloor. A 20 minute minimum is nice. It is much nicer to have quest photos not when they are seated at the tables. After all your friends and family are the most important details present.

The Doggos: 5 - 10 minutes

If your dog or other furry friend is making an appearance at the big day lets be sure to include them in some pics. I recommend having a designated person bring out the fluffy buddy for 5-10 minutes during couple portraits.

So looking forward to your big day!

I just cannot wait to see how it all comes together!