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planning advice

Timeline Snapshot: Budgeting Time for 8 Key Wedding Photography Moments

If you don’t want to miss a single shot on your wedding day, be sure to plan ahead! To make it easy, take this handy timeline and make it your own. But first, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Speak with your wedding photographer ahead of time to give them a heads up on what you want. Build in extra time for any travel between photo locations - especially for city weddings. Traffic will be inevitable!
  • If you have two photographers, they can photograph separate moments simultaneously to save time (bride/groom prep and cocktail hour/reception details). We always recommend hiring a second photographer.
  • To save even more time, gather smaller items for those detail shots before the photographer arrives (rings, shoes, jewelry, garter, invitation suite, veil, dress).

Wedding photography timeline:

1. Getting Ready/Details: 30 - 45 minutes (groom); 60 - 90 minutes (bride)
Have your photographer join you in the bridal suite to snap some shots of you and your ‘maids getting ready for the big day! You’ll definitely want these fun moments with your best girls documented. 

Once you’re all dolled up and you’ve given yourselves a good look in the mirror, it’s time to see your soon-to-be bride or groom for your heart-eyed first look (we recommend 30 minutes).

2. Wedding Party: 30 - 60 minutes

You’ll want shots with just the bridesmaids, just the groomsmen, your best man and maid of honor. And of course, the whole crew! Think of the photos you'll want with each specific person (or people) ahead of time and you'll be ready to take group photos efficiently the day of.


3. Bride & Groom Portraits: 60 - 90 minutes

Snap a few shots before the ceremony, then sneak away during the reception to capture the magical glow of golden hour. Your photographer will guide you to the best spots for photos and help with poses. No need to worry!


4. Family Photos: 30 - 45 minutes

To help these photos run more smoothly, give family members a heads up in advance. Tell them where they’ll need to be and when, or have a designated person (who knows both families well) to help gather guests.

5. Ceremony/Ceremony Details: 30 - 60 minutes

Of course, the amount of time allotted for the ceremony will depend on the type. Typically, religious ceremonies tend to be longer than civil ceremonies.


6. Cocktail Hour: 30 - 60 minutes

This is prime time for your wedding photographer to capture some candid shots of your guests mingling!


7. Reception Details: 15 - 30 minutes before guests enter the room

All that pinning finally paid off! You spent so much time putting together the perfect reception table, now’s the time to capture it. This is where your second photographer comes in handy - they're great at capturing these details while your primary photographer is busy with family portraits after the ceremony.

8. Reception: Time will vary

Ask the DJ or caterer to break down the timing and order of the reception events to ensure your wedding photographer is ready to snap these big moments:

  • Grand entrance
  • Cake cutting
  • First dance
  • Dances with parents
  • Speeches
  • Bouquet/garter toss
  • Sendoff/grand exit

Communication with wedding vendors (DJ, Photographer, Videographer) is key to having these transitions go smoothly!

Wedding planning underway? Here are six easy tips to ensure your planning process goes as perfect as possible. 

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