I am not a wedding planner by any means, but as a photographer, I would say having a timeline for your wedding day is probably the most important thing you can do.
If you are going to hire a wedding planner, great! They will take care of this for you. However, if you are like the majority of people and you are planning a wedding on a budget and you can’t hire a wedding planner, having a schedule for your wedding will save a whole lot of stress! Chances are, you haven’t done this before and on top of trying to figure out a thousand other things, you have no idea of what a wedding day timeline looks like or consists of so…….
So what I’d like to do for you is to share an actual photography schedule from one of my recent weddings to help you out:
12:00 – Girls getting ready photos
1:00 – Guys getting ready photos
2:00 – Bride & bridesmaids portraits
3:00 – Groom & groomsman portraits
4:00 – Completely done with girls and guys portraits /bridal party freshens up
5:00 – Ceremony
5:30 – Family-Wedding Party Portraits
6:30 – Dinner reception
6:30 – Grand entrance/ first dance
6:45 – Welcome from Bride and Groom
7:00 – Blessing / dinner
7:30 – Toasts/ special dances
8:00 – Open dancing
8:30/9 – Cake cutting/ more open dancing
Of course this changes from wedding to wedding, but this is just an example that is pretty standard. The only time the schedules look a lot different than this is if there is a first look, which I highly recommend by the way (you can read why HERE!)
Depending on the photographer and the package you choose, you will probably have an agreed upon length of coverage. With the schedule above, if you were to book my one of my top two packages, coverage is up to 10 hours, so I would be shooting from noon to 10pm. If you book a smaller package, you will have to decide whether you want longer coverage before or after the wedding, or a smaller amount before and after.
I always give my brides a schedule. Of course, they will tweak it however they want, whether making it very simple or very detailed. Don’t forget to include details like hair and make-up appointments, or any extra pre-wedding event you have planned, but it’s always better to have extra time than not enough.
The key to enjoying your day is having a great plan ahead of time. That way the day will run smoothly and the only thing you will need to focus on is being the bride and taking in every precious moment, while knowing everyone is where they’re supposed to be, when they’re supposed to be there.