OH MAN! Could I write a novel about building timelines. But for the sake of brevity, I’ll keep this one short. When I work with my B&Gs, I use a worksheet and some good ol’ experience to help craft a timeline that works for my people. Timelines are the skeleton to an incredible wedding day. Knowing the flow of events and how much time we have for each of them allows all vendors to work seamlessly. It’s an orchestra of moving parts and all great things need great foundations.
When putting this to paper, I suggest starting with the ceremony time and working forward into the reception and then backwards into the getting ready. Since your ceremony time is probably already printed on your invitations, it’s best to let that be your guiding point.
Here is the break down for the typical events and how much time I have found is best allotted for them.
Getting Ready Photos
If both the B&G are getting ready at the same locations. About 1-1.5 hours is great to bounce between rooms to capture all the beginning details (rings, flowers, dress, suit etc).
It takes about 15 minutes to set everyone in place and about 15 minutes for the actual event and some time to enjoy.
Throughout your day, I like to space out a 60 minutes with my couples. 45 minutes in the beginning (15 first look, 30 B&G portraits) and perhaps 15 minutes at sunset.
For an average sized bridal party (4-8 on each side) a half hour is a perfect amount of time to get all those fun shots!
This is a great amount for families (I have a method). Add an extra 15 if you have extensive extended family.
For decor and venue photos, this chunk of time allows us to get all those details that make the wedding yours. This is typically done right before the ceremony after the bride has gone to hide out!
Depending on religion or ceremony length.
Depending on guest count and event program.
For an average of 5 toasts. Add extra time here if you have some chatty Kathies 😉
It’s pretty short and sweet 😉
For all three traditional dances (First dance, Mother/son, daddy/daughter).
Open Floor Dancing
This is alllll your photographer REALLY needs. Then your guests don’t feel pressured while I run around shooting their wickedly awesome moves. But you can continue to dance the night away to your heart’s content!
5 minutes each
Most of the time is eaten up by pulling people on to the dance floor for these events!
If it includes sparklers or a large crowd. By the end of the night it’s like herding cats!
Here is a sample of what this timeline would look like for a summer wedding with a first look, sunset at 8:30pm.
2:00pm – Photographer Arrives//Getting Ready Photos
2:45pm – Bride into Dress
3:00pm – Place Groom for First Look
3:15pm – First Look
3:30pm – B&G Portraits
4:00pm – Bridal Party
4:30pm – Family Photos
5:00pm – Hide the Bride//Decor Photos
5:30pm – Ceremony
6:00pm – Ceremony Ends//Sign the License//Cocktail Hour
7:00pm – Grand entrance into dinner
7:45pm – Sunset Photos
8:00pm – Toasts
8:30pm – Cake Cutting
8:35pm – First Dances
8:50pm – Open Floor
9:30pm – Garter//Bouquet
10:00pm – Grand Exit
And there you have it! It’s a lot to sit down and think about, so when you book with me, we do it together! Also, get that Day of Coordinator, they are rock stars when it comes to this AND getting all your vendors on the same page!
Here are some more tips and tricks I think you LOVE, check ’em out!