For most couples, estimating how long certain things will take on their wedding day is tricky. After all, they have never planned a wedding before. And that’s ok! This post is here to help you wrap your mind around how long it takes to get timeless wedding photos. We’ll share how long wedding photos take and add in some other recommendations along the way!
An Important Note
It’s hard to say for sure exactly how your day will go, but this blog is only meant to serve as an overview. I highly recommend hiring a coordinator or planner to properly assist you with creating your timeline. Even if your venue offers an on site coordinator, a coordinator or planner is key to keeping your timeline on schedule! Becoming Designs Events is a great option if you’re looking for a rockstar planning team!
Build Your Own Timeline
For the best possible wedding photos, a certain amount of time is needed. Here is the amount of time we need to capture the photos you see in our portfolio!
- Styled Details and Getting Ready + 60 minutes
- Cute Pajama or Robe Photos + 5 minutes
- Bride Putting on Dress + 30 minutes (trust me)
- Bridal Portraits + 20 minutes
- Groom Portraits + 5 minutes
- First Looks w/ Bridesmaids, Dads etc + 5 minutes (each)
- First Look w/ Couple + 10 minutes
- Couple Portraits + 40 minutes
- Bride and Bridesmaids + 15 minutes
- Groom and Groomsmen + 15 minutes
- Full Bridal Party + 20 minutes
- Family Formals + 30 minutes (15 groups or less)
- Tucked away before guests arrive + 30 – 60 minutes
- Ceremony and Reception Detail Photos + 30 minutes (usually done while couple is tucked away before ceremony)
- Travel Time + 15 minutes in addition to GPS estimate
- Nighttime shots + 15 minutes
Mistakes to Avoid
Over the years we have seen some sticky situations that have totally derailed the timeline of the day. Here are some things to avoid when creating your wedding day timeline to help avoid stress!
- Having unrealistic expectations. Ouch, I know this one hurts. But this is an important one, which is why I have listed it first. When planning your timeline it’s important to keep in mind that everything takes time. Communicate openly with your photographer so that they can give you feedback on how much time they’ll need. This might mean you’ll need to add hours of coverage to accommodate for the added photo requests!
- Not adding fluff time. Tucking in fluff time really comes in handy if things get off track so that you can make up time later if needed. Add 5 or 10 minutes here and there to accommodate for this!
- Hair and makeup running over. Avoid this by communicating a clear “hard stop time” to your hair and makeup team long before the wedding day. Additionally, if your hair and makeup artists offer trials, this is a great time to work through any hiccups instead of on the wedding day!
- Getting stuck in traffic/finding parking. Add 15 minutes to any travel time needed on your wedding day.
- Flowers not arriving in time for portraits. Communicate clearly with your florist when florals will be needed. Personal florals (bouquets and boutonnieres) should arrive when your photographer arrives.
- Not planning for enough time to put on the dress.
- Family heading to cocktail hour before family formals. Prevent this by personally letting them know where to be for formals and when to be there prior to the wedding day.
- Having your officiant announce that family should stay back for photos. This ties into the above, tell them personally! If the officiant announces it, it is confusing for extended family that might not be needed for portraits and leads to disorganization during family formals.
Dream Wedding Timeline
Over the years I’ve seen some of the most stressful and the most relaxed weddings. It’s caused me to really put a lot of thought into ways you can have the best wedding day possible. Here is what I feel is the dream wedding timeline!
- 12:00pm – We arrive and photograph your details and candids while getting ready
- 1:00pm – The bride puts on her dress and the groom gets ready
- 1:30pm – Bridal portraits
- 1:50pm – First look
- 2:00pm – Bride and groom portraits (together and individual)
- 2:40pm – Wedding party photos
- 3:10pm – Family formals
- 3:50pm – Everyone tucked away (we photograph ceremony and reception details)
- 4:30pm – Ceremony
- 5:00pm – Cocktail hour begins and the bride and groom enjoy their own cocktail hour
- 6:00pm – Entrance to reception
- 7:15pm – Sunset photos (15 minutes)
- 8:00pm – Photography coverage ends
Hopefully this post has been helpful to you! Again, I cannot stress the importance of hiring a planner, coordinator or day of coordinator. They have all kinds of tricks up their sleeves to help make your wedding day run smoothly, and trust me, you’ll want them there on your wedding day!
If you’re looking for a wedding photographer, click here to connect with me! We are based in Indianapolis but also specialize in weddings in Italy, France and California!