It seems like when it comes to wedding planning, that just as you cross one stressful item off your to-do list, another one pops up in its place and making your wedding timeline is one of the trickier items on your list although it might not seem like it. Wedding timelines can be confusing when you’ve never done one. Mostly when you attended a wedding your are more concentrate on what is happening at the current moment and don't pay much attention to how long each aspect occurs unless things take longer than expected.

Sample Timelines

It is not easy to pick a package length, especially if you are so far out from the special day. Below is a few examples of what to expect.

6-7 Hours

Best for weddings of about 80-100 people, in two or fewer locations, with a short ceremony. This will get you all the important details of the day. 

  • 30-45 min: getting ready
  • 45-60 min: first look, bride + groom portraits
  • 45 min: bridal party photos
  • 30-45 min: ceremony
  • 30-45 min: family formals
  • 60 min: cocktail hour
  • 60 min: dinner/lunch
  • 60-90 min: reception (toasts, cake, dancing)

8-9 Hours

Ideal Timeline for most weddings. there will be time for everything, but with a little more breathing room. It’s great for weddings with a religious ceremony, and up to 200 guests. 

  • 1-2 hours: getting ready
  • 1-1.5 hours: first look, bride + groom portraits
  • 1 hour: bridal party photos
  • 1 hour: ceremony
  • 45 min: family formals
  • 1 hour: cocktail hour
  • 1 hour: dinner/lunch
  • 1-2 hours: reception (toasts, cake, dancing)

10+ Hours

Best for weddings of more than 200 guests, using more than two locations, or just want every moment of the wedding day covered.

  • 2 hours: getting ready
  • 1-2 hours: first look, bride + groom portraits
  • 1 hour: bridal party photos
  • 1-1.5 hours: ceremony
  • 1 hour: family formals
  • 1 hour: cocktail hour
  • 1 hour: dinner/lunch
  • 2-3 hours: reception (toasts, cake, dancing)

Breaking Down the Day


  • The Details

    • Having at least 30 minutes for details ensures that we have plenty of time to get that perfect photo of the dress, rings, shoes, bouquets, and the other details of the day.

      There are times when a hotel room is too crowded or simply unappealing; we have to take the dress all the way down to the lobby or even outside. This extra effort can take some time, but as you can see from the results, it’s well worth the additional work.

      • Ideal Time Allotment: 30 minutes

      • Ideal Time of the Day: Morning

      • Ideal Location: Bridal Suite or Hotel Suite


  • The Preparation

    • Having 45 minutes to an hour of preparation is ideal for our style. During this time, we are getting close ups of the makeup and hair being applied as well as the candid moments and the bridesmaids and groomsmen get ready for the day. Keep in mind that these are some of the most emotional and fun times of the day, so you don’t want to cut it short.

      While it doesn’t take guys an hour to get dressed, there are still tons of great moments during this time between the groom and his family and friends.

      • Ideal Time Allotment: 45 minutes

      • Ideal Time of the Day: Morning or Early Afternoon

      • Ideal Location: Bridal Suite or Hotel Suite


  • The Wedding Party 

    • During this time, we get a variety of shots in a variety of poses. We start off with the basic, classic photos focused on great expressions and lighting.

      Then we move into a set of fun and creative shots. Finally, we know how much your wedding party means to you, so we are sure to get pictures with you and each one of your bridesmaids or groomsmen individually.

      • Ideal Time Allotment: 30-40 minutes

      • Ideal Time of the Day: Afternoon

      • Ideal Location: Venue Lobby, Venue Garden, Beach, Park, Off-site Location

  • The Family Portraits

    •  It’s important to have additional images with your parents, grandparents, and siblings beyond the basic formal. Plan on 3 minutes per group on average.  For example, if you have 10 groups, schedule in a 30 minute time slot.

      We all know how much weddings mean to the immediate family, and we want to make sure we’re capturing enough pictures with them.

      • Ideal Time Allotment: 30-40 minutes

      • Ideal Time of the Day: Afternoon

      • Ideal Location: Venue Lobby, Venue Garden, Beach, Park, Off-site Location



    • Couple's session allows us to capture the awesome scenic shots with colorful skies. If your wedding is in downtown or in an area with tall buildings, it’s not as important for us to have this specific time frame (although it still helps).

      However, if you booked your venue because of the spectacular view of the ocean or the gorgeous vines in the winery, it’s essential to follow this advice in your timeline.

      • Ideal Time Allotment: 1 hour

      • Ideal Time of the Day: Late Afternoon

      • Ideal Location: Venue Garden, Beach, Park, Any Place Chosen before hand

Tips and Tricks

There are also several other things you can do before the day to help it to run more smoothly. Here are a few points to consider when planning your timeline.

  • Sharing and going over your timeline with your bridal party and family ahead of time 
  • Locked-down list of family photographs (with each individual’s name) prepared and ensuring everyone who is listed knows when and where they need to be can also save you a bunch of time.
  • It’s always a great idea to be generous in your estimates and timing for the day. 
  • Build in some buffer time at the front end of your schedule. 
  • Ask hair and makeup exactly how long it will take for each girl in your party. Add an extra 30 minutes.
  • Factor in the travel time
  • Things that get often forgotten: exchanging gifts, cake cutting, toasts/speeches, first dances, formal exits
  • Your photographer and videographer should eat when you eat - that way we don’t miss anything!
  • 15 minutes should be allotted for reception details (You want to make sure that we have time to get in before guests so that the room is untouched)


In the end, go with what you want and is more fitting to your style. Perhaps you’re planning a big wedding but only want a few photos or you are planning a little wedding, but want the whole day covered. Again the samples above are only guides to help you plan your special day.