How to Plan Your Wedding Timeline

Earlier this year, I set a new goal for the Snappy Camera Studios blog: to help soon-to-be brides and grooms by creating content that provides them with valuable information about the wedding planning process. I kicked off January by sharing Tips for Hiring Your Wedding Photographer. This month, I want to talk about planning the schedule for your wedding day. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of sitting down with your photographer and wedding planner to make a game day plan.

What will a wedding day plan do for you? It will relieve you of the “day of” stress that wedding logistics often cause. Once you’ve planned your timeline and shared it with your family and wedding party everyone is aware of where they should be, when they should be there, and what they should be doing. The plan allows you and your soon-to-be spouse to relax and focus on the best parts of the experience. The whole day becomes part of a seamless, stress-free process, which is the ultimate goal in the complimentary planning sessions I offer my clients.

The most important part of the timeline is creating enough time for the moments of the day that are most important to you. Every couple’s timeline will vary according to what they prioritize on their wedding day; for example, most of my clients  prefer to spend more time on their first look or couple portraits, rather than traditional family portraits. In this breaking down the timeline of events, I offer suggestions on how much time you should typically allot to the events on your day to ensure your important moments are properly budgeted for.

Below is a quick sketch of a timeline for wedding that I formulated in conjunction with one of my beautiful brides and her wedding planner.

Pre-Ceremony:

Bridal Details/Final Preparation for the Bride: 1 hour

Groom & Groomsmen Photos: 30 minutes

Bride Gets into Her Dress: 30 minutes

Bridal Portrait: 5 minutes

Bride & Bridesmaids: 30 minutes.

Bride & Groom First Look: 1 Hour

Additional Planning Required for travel time.

(All pre-ceremony photos should be completed 30 minutes prior to the ceremony, allowing the couple to wind down and enjoy a glass of bubbly!)

 

Ceremony:

Ceremony: 30 minutes

Private Couple Portraits Directly After Ceremony: 10 minutes

Family Portraits: 30 minutes.

(When planning for family portraits, budgeting 30 minutes for family groups is a good general guideline. Allow 5 minutes for any additional shots.)

- Bride & Groom w/ Bride’s Parents

- Bride & Groom w/ Bride’s Immediate Family

- Bride & Groom w/ Bride and Groom’s Immediate Families

- Bride & Groom w/ Groom’s Parents

- Bride & Groom w/ Groom’s Immediate Family

 

Reception:

Introductions: 10 minutes

First Dance: 5 minutes

Father/Daughter Dance: 5 minutes

Mother/Son Dance: 5 minutes

Dinner: 1 hour

Toasts: 30 minutes

Cake Cutting: 10 minutes

Bouquet/Garter Toss: 10 minutes

Send Off: 10 minutes

I hope this helps you with the wedding planning process. From experience shooting million-dollar commercial events to simple backyard gatherings, I’ve learned that investing time in planning out the event from start to finish is a real stress reliever!  With detailed planning, I can guarantee your wedding day timeline will result in a worry-free wedding.

If you’d like to see a sample wedding timeline please send me an email at crystal@snappycamerastudios.com and I’ll send one your way.

Crystal Randazzo is a professional wedding photographer with more than a dozen years of experience as a fashion, commercial, and documentary photography.  Her work can be seen at www.snappycamerastudios.com and www.crystalinerandazzo.com.