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Planning your Wedding Timeline around the Ceremony time

December 1, 2015

Articles for couples

It is pretty easy to feel overwhelmed about your wedding day timeline!

Here are my tips for creating a super easy timeline with a First look based around the ceremony times. These guidelines are meant for brides and grooms, moms, best friends and all the ones chipping in to plan your beautiful wedding. If you have a wedding planner, I would suggest to consult with your planner first 🙂

First Look : Download the wedding day template here

a) Start with a rough draft around the ceremony.

Write down  the time you are planning for your ceremony which is usually 30 minutes ,  write down 30 minutes before the Ceremony to freshen up and hide from guests!

This is also very common for some venues like churches, so please make sure to talk with your venue about these guidelines.

 

3:30 Freshen up

4:00 Ceremony

4:30  End Ceremony 

 

b) Add 20 minutes after the ceremony to greet the guests (Around 20 min for each 100 ) if you are planning on having a Receiving line or dismissing your guests.

 

3:30 Freshen up

4:00 Ceremony

4:30  End Ceremony 

5:00 End Receiving line (150 guests)

 

c) Now go back up and add all the Photos before the Freshen up time. Note: If you are NOT having a First Look then jump to the end!  Add at least 30 minutes for the bridal party and family formals. Consider adding more for bigger bridal party, to even an hour for family if you have big families, kids, grandparents, or different locations.

 

2:30 Family Portraits

3:30 Freshen up

4:00 Ceremony

4:30  End Ceremony / Receiving line

5:00 End Receiving line (150 guests)

 

For Bridal Party Portraits even if we have more time, everyone in your party needs to be ready for pictures at this time! If you notice, we are reaching the middle of the day, and if you are taking outdoor portraits in the summer, this could mean harsh light. Depending on your wedding date and your location in the world this can vary.

Use this link to check your sunset time : https://www.timeanddate.com/sun/ !

Consider moving your ceremony later if the venue allows it..

2:30 Bridal Party

3:00 Family Portraits

3:30 Freshen up

4:00 Ceremony

4:30  End Ceremony / Receiving line

5:00 Cocktail hour / More Bridal Party Photos

 

At this point you can see that  that you will have a bunch of people with you during the freshen up, all your family and bridal party. Consider offering a snack of food right after portraits (makes everyone happy too!) . Another option would be to show some videos, or even a family movie while everyone waits around in a room 🙂

 

d) Go back up!  Add 30 Minutes to 1 hour with couple, specially if you are looking to have bridal and groom portraits.

 

1:30 First Look

2:30 Bridal Party

3:00 Family Portraits

3:30 Freshen up

4:00 Ceremony

4:30  End Ceremony 

5:00 Cocktail hour / Maybe – More Bridal Party and Couple Photos

 

Couples photos are the favorite part of the day for  us photographers, because we see you alone and relaxed, and because we love-love-love being able to capture the most unique portraits for you two! This is why we recommend an hour, so we can get a lot of good pictures and we can make sure you are the most relaxed . The first 15 minutes of photos of the first look are more about you two just looking at each other and catching up about your day, then we take photos of each of you alone and together!

e) Add 1-1:30 hour for getting ready shots , basically for when you want your photographer to arrive . I recommend that your mom , personal attendants and all bridesmaids get as ready as you can because they will be with you in the pictures putting on your dress.  Otherwise, nice “bridesmaid” tank tops or something like that works perfect!  Make up should be getting done about when photographer is arriving so they can take some pictures of that as well. This time allows time for candids and lots of details- jewelry, wedding dress, shoes, flowers, stationery and rings. Have everything ready for your photographer or leave a designated “stuff” person that can point us to the brides or the grooms “wedding stuff” .

 

12:00 Getting Ready

1:30 First Look

2:30 Bridal Party

3:00 Family Portraits

3:30 Freshen up

4:00 Ceremony

4:30  End Ceremony / Receiving line

5:00 Cocktail hour

5:30 Sunset Couple Photos

 

Minneapolis-Wedding-Reception-Photography-1

f) Finish with Reception time, which should be easier because all portraits are done (and all transporting back and forth to places should be done hopefully – no more heels! ). For us, the  Photographers just need to be aware of what’s going on and when? The main thing now that you have so many people there: food again!

 

12:00 Getting Ready

1:30 First Look

2:30 Bridal Party

3:00 Family Portraits

3:30 Freshen up

4:00 Ceremony

4:30  End Ceremony / Receiving line

5:00 Cocktail hour

5:30 Sunset Couple Photos (1 hour before sunset) 

7:00 Reception / Grand Entrance

7:30-8 Dinner

 

i) Other considerations for the timeline would be:

  • Set a start time and end time for when photography coverage happens, a full wedding day starts around the putting on the dress and usually an hour  into the open dance
  • Identify how important it is to be with your guests and how you want to spend your wedding day
  • Leave time for transportation, considering the getting ready locations for bride and groom to be in the same building if possible.
  • Make sure to let your photographer know when the following are happening in the reception:  toasts, first dance, cake cutting, bouquet toss, any other special events
  • Find the time the sun sets on your wedding day.
  • Consult with your photographer if you prefer having a second shooter
  • 2 to 1 month before the wedding you will receive the Bridal Party and Family Photo Checklist to fill out!
  • For big families: Choose a close friend or a family member who can help with locating people during photo time
  • Have vendor meals for your vendors be served at the same time as your guests
  • Extra time: less stress for everybody 🙂

 

Download the fillable templates here.

No First Look Timeline option:

1:30 Getting Ready

2:30 Bridal Portraits / Bridesmaids / Bride Family

3:00 Groom / Groomsmen / Grooms Family

3:30 Freshen up

4:00 Ceremony

4:30  End Ceremony / Receiving line

5:00 Cocktail Hour/ Family Formal Photos

5:30 Bridal Party Photos

6:00 Couple Photos

7:00 Reception / Grand First Dance

7:30 Dinner

 

For more tips on wedding timeline, the wedding blog A Practical Wedding has this awesome article I totally recommend to check!

And grooms to be: If you feel your bride has a lot on your plate with planning, this is the perfect time to show your support and show that you’re involved: Check out this guide thought for Grooms!

I hope this helps a bit . We want you to have fun in your day, to have the pictures to remember it and for everyone else to enjoy you as well! Be in touch with us and don’t hesitate to ask away.

 

 

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I grew up in the tropical lands of Costa Rica, where I met the love of my life, and we started our lives in Minneapolis after years of long distance! Together we have the most spunky little one. 
My photos are all about the genuine smiles, the connection between people and the LOVE!

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I grew up in the tropical lands of Costa Rica, where I met the love of my life, and we started our lives in Minneapolis after years of long distance! Together we have the most spunky little one. 
My photos are all about the genuine smiles, the connection between people and the LOVE!

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