Planning your Wedding Day Timeline

Many people may not realize this, but a big part of your photographer’s job is to keep you on your wedding day timeline! Your photographer is likely the only vendor you hire that is by your side 90% of the wedding day!

One of the harder things to do when planning a wedding is developing the Timeline. That famous “deer in headlights” look is the one I see often when I ask, “Do you know what time you’d like me to arrive?” during the booking consultation. I’ve laid out a few of my tips for brides when asked about planning the timeline.

Should we do a first look?

My answer: Yes!! Do the first look! Here’s why: The less time you spend after the ceremony the faster you get to EAT! 😉 Fact: no one takes great photos while hangry! Maybe that’s not the best reason but it certainly is true! OK OK, on a serious note the first look, I feel, is a moment you should share together. There’s something about seeing your partner in that moment, that is more romantic and intimate than trying to see their face through a sea of turned heads and cell phones. Of course some don’t want to break away from tradition which is perfectly ok, but sit down, talk about it. You’ll find it saves a great deal of time on your wedding day.

First Look Groom

Plan Time Away From Guests:

Leave yourself little pockets of time to breath and enjoy your wedding day. Between your pre-ceremony photos give yourself time to use the rest room, touch up makeup, and talk with your girls/guys. Being tucked away from your guests for a few moments throughout the day will be a life saver! Speak to your planner or venue about seeing your reception area before all your guests come in, to see all the decorations and soak in that moment. Take a tip from Disney, every Disney Bride sees the reception before anyone else is allowed in, it’s part of every wedding, no questions!

Bride and Groom Kiss

Don’t Party Too Hardy Garth:

In other words don’t overload your reception! The money dance, The garter toss, The longest married thing, more line dances then you’ll ever remember how to do, and the list goes on and on. A few of these are fun, but by the time you’ve worked them all into your night you’re going to be exhausted! Choose ones you like and will actually want to do! Then space them out, your guests are more likely to head out to the dance floor if the happy couple are out there having a blast. Your DJ should help you get these together. Also, don’t be afraid to stage your exit! If you’re worried the guests will start to trickle out after the cake is cut, work a staged exit into your timeline!

Reception Party

Save the last dance:

While your guests are lining up for your (actual) exit, or out decorating your car (look out for the baby powder in the air vents prank, that’s a nasty one!) have one last dance with your new groom/bride. This day is about the two of you, don’t lose sight of that. Pick a song that’s special to you, let the planner gather the guests outside for your exit and take a few moments at the end of your night to reflect and be with each other.

Last Dance
After all, when you walk out of those doors a whole new adventure begins!

Sparkler Exit

The truth is, your timeline is completely up to you (I know, everything about your wedding is completely up to you!!!) Hopefully you’ve read something here that helps your planning go just a little bit smoother.


  1. […] gone over a few tips for planning out your wedding day timeline before. If you’re booking me, you’re likely booking me because you see these epic […]

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