Wedding Day Timeline Tips and Tricks


August 27, 2014

I wrote about wedding day timelines in the past, but since it’s been over two years since I initially discussed them here, I thought it was time to talk about them again! Having a well thought out timeline is crucial to not only making sure that your wedding day goes smoothly, but to ensuring you get the most out of your photography investment! Most of our clients haven’t been married before (and even if they have, they wouldn’t consider themselves experts on wedding logistics), so as a wedding professional, I consider it my job to help my clients develop a timeline that works well for their wedding day and suits their wants and needs. We want to make sure our clients get the most out of their experience with us, and helping with timelines is key to ensuring that they do!


So, here are a few things to consider when creating your timeline:

Is travel time necessary?
Are your ceremony and reception venues not the same place? Are you getting ready somewhere else? A good timeline will factor in travel time to and from each destination, plus a little extra for traffic. Another thing to look into is whether or not there are any festivals, races, or special events that might cause extra traffic or make things more difficult for your guests or vendors to get to your wedding. Usually wedding season is also prime time for Farmer’s Markets, 5ks, fairs, and more because the weather is beautiful!

Are you seeing each other before the ceremony?
In most situations, if you see each other before the ceremony, you have way more flexibility as to what you can do with the timeline and we can space things out so they’re much more relaxed and not quite as rushed as they have to be to fit all of your photos (family, bridal party, and bride and groom portraits) into about an hour between the ceremony and reception. If you decide you don’t want to do a first look, you’ll need to budget more time for photos (we suggest at least an hour and a half…a half hour for family photos, a half hour for bridal party, and at least a half an hour for bride and groom portraits), otherwise you’ll most likely be sacrificing either the amount of portraits you receive or the amount of family photos we can get in. On average, couples who do first looks end up with about 40 percent more portraits than our couples who don’t!

What time will your reception be fully set up?
Every photographer is different, but we capturing details is very important to us. Details help tell the story of the day and are so hard to remember without images of them! We shoot reception details before guests are allowed into the space. When you’re planning out the logistics for the day, try to make sure everything will be set up early-ish in the day if you can so that it will ensure your photographer has lots of time to shoot everything! Bonus: Have your florist deliver your bouquet to your getting ready room so your photographer can photograph it with the rest of your bridal details!!

How many family photos do you want?
We send out a list of seven “suggested” family formal shots a few weeks before the wedding and ask our couples to list no more than five additional shots they’d like that are outside of that. Why is that? Family formal shots can be time consuming. It takes time to set up each shot, to gather all of the people necessary for the photo, etc. We suggest budgeting at least 4-5 minutes per family formal photo you’d like to accommodate this. Likewise, if you have a large bridal party, this is also something that may take more time than usual, so let us know!

What time of year are you getting married?
If you’re getting married outside of Daylight Savings Time, you especially want to be conscious of your ceremony time if your ceremony is outside, or if you don’t want to do a first look. If you aren’t going to see each other before the ceremony, and the ceremony is at 5pm and it gets dark at 4:30, it’s going to be pretty difficult to get images like the ones you see on our site, blog, etc. Natural light is a key component for our style of portraiture. If you’re working with us, or other photographers with a similar style to us, definitely work with your photog as early as you can in the planning process to ensure your timeline means you’ll get the type of images you’re looking for.

What time will hair and makeup finish?
We always start each wedding day by arriving an hour before the bride gets into her dress. During that time we photograph bridal details and a few candids of the getting ready process. We also suggest having bridesmaids dressed about 15 minutes before the bride is ready to get dressed, so that everyone’s ready by the time it’s time to get into the dress.

These are just a few things to consider when creating a timeline. If you’re a KNP couple, feel free to email us directly with your timeline questions and we’ll be happy to help!


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