ride and bridal party wedding photography timeline guidelines

Want epic wedding pictures? Oftentimes, this aspect of the wedding planning process is overlooked. These photos will live on well after your big day and you only get one chance to nail them. While the most stunning wedding photos may look effortless, no doubt a great deal of time and planning went into producing such amazing visuals. Therefore, setting wedding photography timeline guidelines is imperative. How much time should you reserve for taking wedding photos? What exactly does a wedding photography timeline look like?.


What to Consider When Creating Wedding Photography Guidelines


To devise a thorough wedding photography timeline there are a few factors you’ll need to consider:

Formal Portraits List

Of course, you and your spouse will be your photographer’s primary focus. However, you’ll definitely want pictures of the wedding party and your families. While you might be tempted to take pictures with distant relatives and other friends that will be attending the wedding you should keep in mind that the more portraits you take the more time you’ll be spending away from your wedding. Consider providing your photographer with a complete list of the groups you want to include in your formal portraits.

Pick A Location

Now that you know who will be in your formal wedding photos it’s time to pick a location where you’ll be taking such photos. Most couples decide to take their wedding photos at the venue where their ceremony and reception will be held. The hotel where you’ll be getting ready may also have a few good spots for photos. On the other hand, if you have a special location in mind where you’ll like to get some pictures of you and your mate you’ll need to factor in travel time for this location. 

“First Look” Before Ceremony Photos

Deciding whether to do a “first look” which involves taking pictures before the ceremony begins is a personal decision that your and your spouse will have to make. Most photographers will suggest it because it allows you to take the majority of your wedding photos so you can enjoy cocktail hour with your guests. Some people believe in the superstitions surrounding seeing your partner before the wedding. If you rather stick to tradition you should expect to spend the entire cocktail hour and perhaps even longer taking your wedding portraits. 

Consult With the Photographer

Before you can begin composing your wedding photography timeline guidelines you’ll need to consult with your wedding photographer. Find out how much time he or she will need to take your wedding portraits. While every photographer is different it should take approximately forty-five minutes to an hour for the couple portraits, thirty minutes for the family portraits if you’re only including close relatives, and thirty minutes for portraits of the wedding party. If you have agreed to a “first look” you should be able to knock out each of these portrait sessions before the ceremony.

Cultural Weddings

The cultural aspects of a wedding can also impact your photography schedule. Greek, Indian, and even Jewish weddings involve a lot of traditional elements that need to be photographed. 


Wedding Photography Timeline Guidelines

Check out this detailed wedding photography timeline that you can use for some inspiration:

Preparation for the Big Day

Approx. Time: 60 minutes

Location: Hotel Suite

Typically, the photographer likes to kick the wedding session off by capturing some shots of the bride, groom, and the wedding party preparing for the ceremony. During this time, the photographer should be getting close up shots of the bride and the bridal party getting their makeup and hair done. This is one of the most emotional times of the day so the photographer will On the other hand, it may not take the groom an hour to get ready but there are still lots of fun moments between the guys that you wouldn’t want to miss.

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Groom preparing wedding photographytimeline guidelinesGroom getting reading wedding photography timeline guidelinesGrooms post wedding photography timeline guidelinesWedding Details (Shoes, Rings, Dress)

Approx. Time: 30 minutes

Location: Hotel Suite

Before the hotel room gets crowded, allocate at least thirty minutes to taking pictures of the dress, rings, shoes, the bouquet, and any other details of interest. 

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Bride and Groom Individual Portraits

Approx Time: 30minutes

Location: Hotel, Venue Lobby

Perhaps the best time to get great individual shots of the bride and groom is right after they have just finished preparing for the ceremony. After all, the bride’s makeup and hair are freshly done. The day hasn’t gotten so hectic so the photographer can take time and capture high-quality visuals.

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bride portrait wedding photography timeline guidelinesFirst Look

Approx Time: 45min -60 min

Location: Hotel

The “first look” shouldn’t last longer than an hour. During this time the photographer will capture the bride and groom’s natural reaction to seeing each other before the bride walks down the aisle. Most of this time is spent taking beautiful portraits of the bride and groom. The bulk of the photos starring you and your spouse should be taken during this time.

bride and groom first look wedding photography timeline guidelinesFamily Portraits

Approx. Time: 30 minutes

Location: Hotel lobby, venue 

Portraits of the bride and groom with their immediate family shouldn’t take longer than a half-hour. It’s important to take time to include your parents, grandparents, and even your siblings in your special day.

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Wedding Party

Approx. Time:30 minutes

Location: Hotel Suite, Hotel Lobby or Venue

Of course, the photographer is going to want to get as many photos as possible of the entire wedding party. These photos can be taken before the wedding ceremony after the first look or even after the bride and groom’s individual portraits.

groom and groomsmen

ride and bridal party wedding photography timeline guidelines

Ceremony and Venue Details

Approx. Time: 30 minutes

Location: Ceremony venue

Allow your photography team to capture all the decorative details at the ceremony and reception venues. The photographer will take shots of the table place settings, flower arrangements, and of the hall or venue set up before the guests have arrived. 

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Couple’s Session

Approx Time: 30 minutes

Location: Venue Garden, Water Fountain, Nearby Scenic Area

An hour before sunset, it’s a great time to get a few awesome scenic shots of the bride and groom. This part of the session can take place in the hotel lobby, outside the church after the wedding ceremony, or even in the park. 

Bride and Groom staircase

Beautiful newly married couple

Bride and Groom DanceHusband and Wife first dance One North Broad WeddingBride and Groom romantic kissBride and Groom Arrival at the Reception

Approx: 10-15 minutes

Location: Reception venue

Most photographers love to capture the bride and groom’s reaction to seeing the beautifully decorated reception site for the first time. This is also a good opportunity to get some scenic shots at the reception before the venue is bustling with guests. 

Couple Session (During the Reception)

Approx. Time: 20-30 minutes

Location: Reception Venue

Sometime during the reception preferably during dusk, you should be prepared to sneak away from the reception for a few nighttime shots of you and your partner. Oftentimes, the best pictures are taken after sunset. Nighttime photography can get so creative and you don’t want to miss out on this opportunity to get the epic wedding pictures of your dream. 

Extended Family and Friends

Approx. Time: 45-60 minutes

Location: Reception venue

During the reception, you can have your photographer take a few pictures of you and your mate with extended family and friends. Typically, while the reception is going on the photographer will be taking random shots of you the bride and groom with their guests. 

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After ceremony Orthodox Wedding SessionBook J&J Studios for Your Wedding Session

Here at J&J Studios, our photography team can help you come up with detailed wedding photography timeline guidelines to ensure that you have epic wedding photos that you and your mate will cherish forever. Having a photography team behind you that understands your vision is important. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.



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