Where to Begin with Creating Your Wedding Timeline


September 15, 2020

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You’re newly engaged, you’re booking your vendors, and you’re trying to figure out where to begin with creating your wedding timeline. When it comes to booking your photographer, how much time do you actually need to hire for? And what all can you hope to have included in the amount of time you’ve booked for?

So here’s my recommendation for where to begin with creating your wedding timeline:



  • If you said YES to a first look, plan to schedule it 2+ hours before your ceremony start time so that you can knock out the bride + groom and wedding party portraits before your ceremony.  But if you don’t want to include lots of extended family in your photos, you can also opt to knock out family formals before your ceremony.

  • If you said NO to a first look, make sure your ceremony takes place 2-3 hours before sunset. You want to make sure you have enough time for family, wedding party and bride + groom portraits before you run out of sun!


I would recommend looking at the beginning and end of the day and deciding how important those images are to you.

  • Things to consider for the beginning of day: Are flat lays of all your wedding details a high priority, along with photos of you and your bridesmaids sipping mimosas while getting ready?

    If you answered yes, then expect an earlier start time for your wedding photographer. On the flipside, if those photos aren’t important to you, your start time will be 1-1.5 hours later.
  • Things to consider for the end of day: Where do sunset, dancing and send-off photos rank for you? Depending on the time of year you get married, sunset photos may not be happening until 8p, so make sure to look up the time of sunset for the season you’re getting married!

    Pro tip: when it comes to dancing photos, I recommend about 45 minutes of coverage– after that the photos tend to get redundant.

Finally, when it comes to the sendoff, know that you’ve got a few options! You can get great sendoff photos without paying your photographer to shoot 2+ hours of dancing. Just opt to do a “fake-sendoff” with your immediate family + wedding party! Basically you jet out of the reception for a hot second to take these photos with your photographer before he/she wraps up.

BONUS: Below is a graphic I put together that generally shows what’s included in your photography coverage!


The two points above should get you started with mapping out the timing of your ceremony + portraits. It should also help you determine at least an estimate of how much coverage you need.

From there your photographer can help you iron out how long everything will take throughout the rest of the day! I work closely with my clients to tailor their schedule to exactly what they’re wanting. That way the things they want coverage of, like a first reveal with the bridesmaids, are baked into the schedule. The nitty gritty of every wedding day is going to look different (along with the way every photographer tackles it). I recommend flushing out these minute details with your wedding photographer.

I can’t wait to see how ya’ll kick wedding planning in the butt now that you know where to begin with creating your wedding timeline!

Looking for more tips like these? Check out the “tips” section of my blog!

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