Your wedding photos are probably one of the most important investments you will make for your big day. As a veteran bride myself, I can tell you that the day goes past in a gorgeous, love-filled, rip-roaring blur. You want to soak up every moment, (in the moment!), whilst leaving the precious moment capturing to the professionals. And for them, the wedding photography timeline is key.
Our criteria for accepting wedding photographers into our carefully curated wedding supplier directory, The List, means that we KNOW you’re in good hands. And one of the things most often discussed is the importance of communication with the couple. They want to know exactly what you want. And your wedding photography timeline is a map of the day that ensures you get that cherished shot with Gran, that blissed out golden hour shot with your new husband or wife and every delicious detail in between.
So, how do you design a wedding photography timeline? We’re glad you asked. Because below we have a step by step guide, a list of shots to consider, top advice from the industry experts (these are nuggets of golden wisdom – Do not miss them!) AND a free printable to keep you right. You are SO welcome.
Design a Wedding Photography Timeline Step By Step Guide
This is something you’re going to want to work closely with your chosen wedding photographer on. They will get to know you and all the things you want. But it is hard to remember all the things you want (when there’s so much to plan!) so here’s your guide.
List who must be photographed with you.
Other than the bridal party, are there any other guests that you want to have a memorable photo with? That friend who travelled across the world for your big day or a proud photo with an ageing relative? Note these down and discuss with your photographer. Bear in mind that the more people you want photos with, the more time it will take from the day.
Decide on some great locations.
Your wedding photographer will be great at finding spots throughout your venue. But when you chose your venue, was there somewhere you fell in love with? A particular spot you mentally bookmarked for a photo with your love? If you are desperate for a shot in front of that magnificent oak tree or under that beautiful marble archway, now’s the time to write it down.
The order of the day.
Typically, the wedding day will follow a standard order – get ready, ceremony, reception etc. But if you plan on deviating from any of that for, say, a first look shot (where your partner’s reaction to you in your dress is photographed, often alone and before the ceremony). Or if you have important cultural traditions that you want to include. Such as the Baraat (grooms arrival celebration popular in South Indian weddings) or the bedeken (the veiling of the bride, for Jewish weddings). Then note those down in your order of the day so that your photographer is aware.
How long will it all take?
Once you’ve got an idea of the shots to include, your photographer will help you break this up into sessions. Typically, there’s a lot of corralling of people and faffing, so listen to your photographer’s advice on how long to allocate.
Shots To Consider For Your Wedding Photography Timeline
Rings, Flowers, All the Details
Ceremony Details and Venue
Wedding Party Photos
Reception Detail and Venue
Reception file in
Expert Wedding Photography Timeline Advice
“Choosing the style of photographer you love is important, but if you have chosen one who loves to get creative with beautiful light and locations, then talk to them at the earliest opportunity to find out what they need to be able to create these shots – this is really important”
“Provide guests with a chalkboard or small itineraries that detail the group shots and timings of photographs. It allows the guests to quickly know if they are required for group shots and what time so they can’t escape to the bar. It may seem like micromanaging but it will ensure a quicker group shot experience and allow you to enjoy your day quicker.”
“Confetti runs make for fantastic, dynamic photographs but they need a bit of thought to ensure they flow well… You’ll be the first out of the church and the only person ahead of you is likely to be the photographer! Many churches have a secondary entrance and so often I direct my couples back into the church via the side entrance while their guests spill out before the new Mr & Mrs reemerge triumphantly to be greeted by their cheering guests. Flow matters in a wedding day and something as simple as confetti can either flow effortlessly (when planned) or be an awkward mess (when ignored)!”
“Whatever time you think it will take, double it! Even if you are not an on time or early person, this is one day in your life where it really will be amazing to arrive early, to have a moment to think and take it all in.”
“Around 2 hours before sunset and up to twilight is a brilliant time for photography, when the light is soft and warm, and ever so romantic. If these photos are important to you then factor in a few short time windows, and perhaps be prepared to venture outside if your photographer spots some amazing light.”
“Aim to be in your dress 1 hour before you are due to walk down the aisle plus any travel time… The wedding morning should be all about excitement and anticipation. If you’re rushing to get into your dress and out the door then this incredibly important moment of your day often ends up being an exercise in pressure and nervous tension rather than something calm and beautiful to remember through the years.”
“Nominate a family member (or two) and one of the wedding party to assist in rounding up those who are needed in each photo.”