Setting Your Wedding Timeline For The Best Images


A Bride's Guide To Her Ideal Photography


With so many decisions to make throughout planning a wedding, I hope you can use this guide to ease some of the stress and get a jump start on making your dreams a reality!

Need to catch up on the other posts in this series? Find them here:

1. 5 Tips For Choosing Your Perfect Wedding Photographer

2. 6 Tips For Rocking Your Engagement Session

3. Setting Your Wedding Timeline For The Best Images

Nailing down your wedding day timeline is one of the more time consuming aspects of your planning process (no pun intended!). There's a lot of different people to check with and to make sure all your vendors have the time that they need in order to make your wedding the best day possible.

Starting to think about your timeline early is the best way to get everyone on the same page quickly and smoothly. Almost everything around the day revolves around your photography, so here are a few tips to think about when deciding on your photography-related timeline:

Start Early

The absolute most important time you have with your photographer is before the wedding even starts. In order to eliminate a lot of potential stress while you are trying to enjoy your Just-Married glow, start your wedding photography early. You won't regret it.

This is when I will capture all of those wedding details you have spent the past year preparing, those fun bride and groom preparations, and every portrait we can get in before the ceremony. The best way to ensure we have enough time to get all the portraits you deserve is to start early!

I will need at least 45 minutes for detail images before the getting ready images start. A good rule of thumb is to have me arrive at the same time as your make-up artist if she is doing all your girls' make-up. Otherwise, have me arrive 45 minutes to an hour before you will be ready for your make-up.

Wedding coverage should begin 3-4 hours before the ceremony begins.

Have Family Ready For Portraits Before The Ceremony

The bridal party is traditionally always getting ready or available when the bride and groom are getting ready but remember to make immediate family aware that we will do any and all family portraits we can squeeze in before the ceremony.​

Parents of the bride and groom should be dressed and available during the getting ready process so that we can capture moments with them getting their daughter/son dressed.

If possible, tell grandparents to be at the venue and ready for portraits one hour before the ceremony.

If we can get all family portraits completed or mostly completed before the ceremony, everyone will be able to relax after the ceremony and enjoy cocktail hour.

Make Your Photographer Aware of Any Venue Set Up Restrictions

Does your ceremony space have to be flipped for your reception? Can you not begin setting up at the venue until when or after your photographer arrives? Is your cake not arriving until later in the day?

These are all things that are important to relay to your photographer so that they can plan on making time later in the day to capture these details that would typically done in the first hour of coverage.

Luckily, there is a lot of wiggle room and ability to rearrange schedules for your photography if need be. It is just best to be able to prepare for these ahead of time and know your game plan.

If your reception area will not be set up before the ceremony starts, it is important to note that your photographer will need to be able to get in to take reception details after portraits but before any guests are allowed into the area. Guests should be instructed not to enter the reception area and we will need to end portraits about 15 minutes or so before reception time.

It's OK for Reception Coverage to be Short and Sweet

I always tell my couples that it is more important for me to start photographing early rather than stay for the majority or all of the reception. I only need 1-2 hours of reception time: enough time to capture introductions, toasts, traditional dances, and cake-cutting. Once we have all of these, 30 minutes of action on the dance floor is plenty! They will grow tedious in your final images and get sloppier and not-cute as people start drinking haha.

My best advice is to do all your reception events immediately after getting introduced, that way you can relax and have fun the rest of the evening! You won't get pulled away to any more tasks.

Until next time, with love!


Featured Posts
A Bride's guide
to her ideal photography series
Recent Posts
More posts you may like


  • Facebook - Black Circle
  • Pinterest - Black Circle
  • Instagram - Black Circle

Greensboro, North Carolina & Beyond  |  336.899.9639