We have photographed many weddings and always like to remind our couples about the benefits of a well-planned timeline. We always build a timeline for our brides and grooms as a part of their wedding package with us! We do this for free to help our couples plan the perfect, stress-free wedding day that runs like clockwork. An established wedding timeline is also good for the wedding party, so they can plan out their schedule as well. The goal, of course, is for everyone to be able to enjoy the wedding day. A thoughtfully planned timeline can do that!
Here’s a sample wedding timeline for a wedding day that includes a first look between the bride and groom.
Sample Wedding Timeline:
12:00 We Arrive for Getting Ready Photos & GR Details
12:45 All Hair & Makeup Finished (HARD STOP)
1:00 Dress On; Final Touches
1:30 First Look; Bride & Groom Portraits
2:30 Wedding Party
3:00 Family Portraits
3:30 Photos Finished (Guests Begin to Arrive) / Details, Details!
4:00 Ceremony Begins
4:30 Ceremony Ends
4:40 The Couple
5:00 Couple Joins the Cocktail Hour or Freshens Up
5:30 Guests are Seated for Dinner
5:45 Grand Entrance to Reception
The Anatomy of the Wedding Day Timeline
In our years as Michigan wedding photographers, we’ve learned a lot about what to do (and what not to do) when planning out a wedding day timeline. A wedding day can be broken up into seven important sections. When planning out your wedding day timeline, make sure to consider each of these seven sections. By thoughtfully planning out your wedding timeline, you can reduce your stress and really enjoy your wedding day!
When we arrive for getting ready photos, we’re going to be taking pictures of the very beginnings of the wedding day. Leidy will spend time with the bride, her mother and her bridesmaids. Josh spends time with the groom and his groomsmen. These moments between family and cherished friends are often very emotional. Also, during this time, it’s important to have the key wedding day details ready for us to photograph. For more information, make sure to check out our post about the seven wedding day details to have ready for your wedding photographer! We have found that these getting ready photos are so important to have in your wedding album! They really help to capture the overall feeling of the day.
Plan for an hour for your first look. You’ve dreamed about this moment for months… It’s best not to rush it! The first look is often a very emotional time for both the bride and the groom! It’s also so romantic. You might cry, you might laugh, but this time together is so important for you to be able to enjoy alone time together before you say your “I do’s.” If you aren’t sure you would like to do a first look, here’s a bride’s take on a first look as written by Leidy! This hour will be devoted to both the initial first look images and then it will move into formal bride and groom portraits. Most of your formal bride and groom images will be completed in this time slot.
Wedding Party Portraits
Your wedding party is made up of the people who love you the most! Plan to spend 30 minutes with the wedding party. We’ll capture a ton of different poses, from formal to more fun and spontaneous.
When thinking about the amount of time for formal family wedding portraits, think about what groups you will want to photograph. This section of time can be anywhere from 30-60 minutes depending on how many groups need to be photographed. Don’t worry! We’ll make sure to give you a questionnaire to fill out so we’re on the same page.
Wedding ceremonies are as unique as the couples we photograph! Some ceremonies are a part of a full mass. Some ceremonies are short and sweet and personal. You might write your own vows or you might have a very traditional ceremony. What’s most important is that the ceremony is a reflection of you and your love. Make sure to let us know if you’re having a ceremony inside the ceremony, like a sand ceremony or a wine ceremony. We’ll make sure to plan for it!
We really want to make sure to get portraits of the two of you and how in love you are! So, after the ceremony, we’ll try to steal you both away for just a few pictures (now that you’re husband and wife!). If you’ve chosen to forego a first look, the bride and groom portraits can be taken after the ceremony. Otherwise, we’ll take just a few more pictures and you can enjoy your cocktail hour with your loved ones.
Golden hour is an important thing to consider. We love golden hour, with its dreamy, warm light. Pictures at this time are simply magical, but we can’t change the time the sun sets! Knowing what time the sun will set will play a factor in when we can sneak off to capture these portraits. Summer weddings have golden hour much later in the day. Weddings in the winter see golden hour much earlier on in the day! But whenever it happens to fall, you’ll be so happy to have golden hour sunset wedding photos in your wedding album.
Remember, when you book your wedding day with us, we will plan your timeline out for you! That’s right- we want our Grand Rapids wedding couples to enjoy a stress-free wedding day filled with love, joy, and happy memories. Because of the time we invest into each and every one of our wedding couples, we only take on a limited number of weddings each year. So, make sure to contact us to tell us about your wedding. We look forward to hearing from you!