Day of wedding timeline – A Breakdown of a summer Wedding day

Day of wedding timeline – A Breakdown of a summer Wedding day

Day of Wedding Timeline: Summer Day

Here is day of wedding timeline with photos to walk you through a Summer wedding day in the Midwest! I think a breakdown of a wedding day is a great way to start thinking of your own wedding day will feel like!

Wedding Date: 2018-06-30

Ceremony time: 5pm

Cocktail Hour: 530pm

Reception: 630-11pm.

Sunset Time: 9:03 PM

Venue: Mill City Museum, an industrial modern style wedding venue featuring an uncovered open-air ceremony area and indoor reception area.

Getting Ready: Airbnb close to the venue allowed us to walk from the getting ready to the venue.

Additional Locations: Guthrie Theater for Couple and Bridal Portraits (5 Minutes from venue) – Stone Arch Bridge During Sunset time

Photographer scheduled time: 2PM – 10 PM

Guests: 120

10:00 AM Getting Ready

The girls start getting ready and the groomsmen to hang out!

Both Hair and Make up take 60-90 Minutes for you (90 Minutes hair and 90 Minutes Makeup). 30-45 Minutes for the bridesmaids/ mothers (check with your stylist since this might change depending on your special “do”s)

If you only have one person doing make up/hair for you and your bridesmaids, you might want to start wayearlier 🙂

12:00PM Getting Ready – Photography coverage begins

This part of the getting ready consist of finishing touches of hair/ makeup and dressing up. I usually arrive one hour before the bride putting on the dress or a little more to scout the place !

The bride had all her meaningful details set aside on a separate table ready. I truly recommend doing this! It works especially well if you can set everything out the night before the wedding and double check that you have everything. If you would like to have photos of your dress hanging you can put it on a wood or special hanger by a mirror or a window.

This is also a great time to read personal letters (or write your vows!)

I quickly capture details around the room and the putting on the dress and jewelry, and I am focusing on candids happening around you, which are my favorite moments. Sometimes dances, toasts and prayers happen before the day, and I find this times to be incredibly special to photograph.

The persons that will help you putting on the dress should be ready before you (mom/mother of the groom) , and bridesmaids can be in matching robes or all ready as well!

If you are both getting ready on the same place, I spend 15-2o minutes with the groom before coming to see you, otherwise me or the second photographer travels to them before coming to the bridal suite. For the groom and groomsmen I capture pretty much whatever they are doing to spend time, as well as the finishing touches of boutonnières, ties and cufflinks!

2:00  First look

You might choose to have a first look as well so this is the time we would do one!

The first look is a private moment between you two only. You want to be able to take a time to yourselves! I suggest to have 30 mins minimum and adding some  time after the ceremony too (around sunset)

We try to coordinate so the groom is alone waiting for you (5-10 Minutes of Groom Portraits) and then we bring you together (we try to sneak a couple of solo portraits of the bride as well ) . Once we have a spot in place (in this case we used the stairs on their airbnb),  we pretty much let them be and document this first look in the most unobtrusive way possible.

Due to the late summer sunset, we set a time for bridal party portraits  immediately after the first look – planning to have couple portraits mostly during sunset hour.

first look happening midday during the day of wedding timeline

2:30-3:30 Couple and Bridal Party Photos

Around this time your bridal party will join us for photos usually at a location we have discussed previously. In this case the Gold Medal park is super close to the venue so it was super convenient to meet there.

During this time we do Bridal Party – the full group and all the possible combinations you would like! We do the bridesmaid/ groomsmen groups, as well as individuals if you would like to!

We can move around and do a different location than the venue during this time, in which case I recommend having a party bus or a way to transport everybody at once.

3:35-4:15 Family Formals

These are the classic portraits with family groups! Usually done closer to the venue in a spot that is accessible to parents / grandparents.

We go through a list with names/relationship included (that I will send you way closer to the date) and this way is done super quick !

30 Minutes minimum for standard families with no extended family portraits. We would add thirty more minutes when extended family is included.

We like to do a relaxed approach even on this classic portraits so we leave room for playful kids or different fun photos in the in between.

Family formal photo during the day of wedding timeline

4:15-5:00 – Hide from guests and freshen up

Guests start to arrive about a half hour prior to the ceremony so I recommend the bridal party (mostly bride and bridesmaids) to hide at least 30 minutes before their ceremony or more.

Since the ceremony and reception at taking place at the same time, during this portion of the day me and my second photographer take photos of the ceremony and reception details, as well as candids of guests arriving to the venue.

5: 00 Ceremony – Day of Wedding Timeline

For this day of wedding timeline we had a later ceremony time being summer in the Midwest.

As a photographer I just go with the flow and try to unobtrusively capture the atmosphere and the events happening during your ceremony. The Processional and vows are shot closer and we try to grab a wide shot of the ceremony site as well.

We walk around quietly  to photograph a variety of angles and then back up for the kiss and exit !

The usual ceremony time is 20 to 30 minutes. Since we were not doing a receiving line the cocktail hour is right after.


5:30 – Cocktail Hour

This is one of my favorite times during the day because it’s wonderful to capture candids and groups when they are the most relaxed. Since we have a late sunset and already did most photos of the day, the bride and groom joined their guests for cocktail hour.

6:30 Grand Entrance and Dinner

The newlyweds make their way to the reception area lasts just for that grand entrance! Right after they are introduced dinner is served, followed by toasts and thank you speeches.

While everyone is eating we grab a bite to eat as well and get ready for those candid reactions from toasts.

7:35PM – Sunset Photos

During the day of your wedding timeline, try to sneak out for 15 mins of sunset photos (sun sets at 9:00) while everyone else is finishing up their meals. – It’s a great time for additional and more intimate photos of the couple. They have had a time to relax and they can use a break from all the people to check in with each other. We recommend doing  20 minutes during this time so you have 40 minutes total of couple photos. Sometimes we end up with a little more which is wonderful!

We recommend sneaking out during all seasons and even if there is a cloudy sky !

In this case we sneaked out just forty five minutes before the sun was setting and the light was soft and gorgeous!

7:50 Reception Toasts

The duration of the toasts is variable but they are usually around 20 to 30 minutes. There are so many great reactions and candids  during this part of the night so we move around and capture both the person giving the toasts as well as your reactions and those  of your guests!

8:00 Cake cutting and dessert bar

Right before the first dance is announced we did cake cutting  ! This can also happen right after the end of dinner when the kitchen wants to cut the cake for dessert.

8:15 First Dances

The first dances start with you and your new spouse, your guests surrounding you and taking beautiful videos as well!  This is a wonderful start to the party !

8:30 Open Dance

The dance floor is open and the party starts! Guests and us are ready to show us their moves. We love to freeze their moves of both big and small dancers! We also go around the reception and capture non-dancers as they enjoy their time!

10:00 PM –  Photo coverage ends

You are having the time of your life with your new spouse and we might sneak out once more for a final night time photo!   If you are doing an exit, it is  a great time to do a send off before the guests start to leave.  We hope to give you a big hug and thank you for inviting us into this beautiful day!

if you would like some more coverage of dance I totally recommend it!  We will be right there with you dancing the night away!

Here is some tips you can find as well in here:  https://lauraalpizar.com/planning-wedding-timeline-photos/

I truly hope this helps!

  1. […] have worked with these vendors in past weddings so I am able to recommend them for their high quality, professionalism and great […]

  2. […] To start the day, they picked an Airbnb where they could get ready with all their friends and walk to their venue from there! It was a great idea as it was a fun space to be in, and had great light for photos (and make up) […]

  3. […] If you need more information on building a wedding day timeline, you may also find these resources helpful which include a downloadable template: Planning Your Wedding Day Timeline and A Breakdown Of The Wedding Day […]

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I document real life true love stories for the outdoor lovers, dance party initiators, and the ones who still believe in magic.

I anticipate and capture the candid moments full of emotion on your day, as well as guide you to the most natural portraits to create truly beautiful and honest images. These are the images that will become your first family treasures. 


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