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How to Make a Wedding Day Timeline

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DALE

The blog contains little bits of my life, my passions, and my work. I update it daily so there is always something new to come see.

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What is included in a wedding day itinerary?

If you’re currently planning a wedding, you might be wondering how to create the perfect wedding day timeline. I’m here to help you! I create a wedding day agenda for each and every one of my wedding couples. As a luxury wedding photographer, it’s important to be incredibly organized and think through the entire wedding day so I can perfectly cover the event. I use this wedding day itinerary throughout the day to make sure no event is overlooked and no shot is missed.

Pre-wedding Photos to Schedule

Before the wedding, I typically arrive 3 hours before the ceremony time. This allows me ample time to photograph the beautiful details. These details are one thing that makes each wedding unique, so I want to make sure I capture all those special momentos that are carefully curated into the wedding day. Invitations, shoes, florals, etc are part of this process.

YSL wedding shoes with bouquet for a luxury wedding

Another reason I arrive 3 hours (at least) before the ceremony is to photograph the bride with her bridesmaids. This is such a fun and special time, and every bride will look back with fondness as she re-lives the moments she spent with her wedding party prior to the ceremony.

The final reason I arrive to the wedding site prior to the wedding is so I can photograph the bride getting ready. This can include getting into the dress, putting on her perfume and jewelry, and getting her hair and makeup finished up for her big day.

As an added bonus, I can often spend some time photographing some relaxed portraits of the wedding party before the ceremony.

Bride in designer blush wedding gown by Monique Lhuillier standing with her bridesmaids dressed in blue wedding dresses outside of The Hillside Estate

Ceremony Photos

The next big event on the Wedding Day Timeline is of course the wedding ceremony. I like to schedule the appropriate amount of time for the ceremony in the wedding itinerary, but I also take note of any special events. For example, is there a relative or friend delivering a reading? A special song? Or, are you writing your own vows? All these are important details I thrive in capturing on the wedding day.

Photos to include after the wedding ceremony

One of the absolutely most important details to include in the wedding day itinerary is the golden hour wedding portraits. This, of course, is scheduled around the last hour of sunlight. This is sometimes dependent on the wedding venue location, but whenever possible, I love to shoot wedding portraits at golden hour of the bride and groom, as I did for Emma and Sam Bradford’s wedding portraits.

Aspen Mountain Wedding portraits of couple at sunset

When the reception arrives, I like to be fully prepared. We complete a full rundown of the reception, including timing for special dances, bouquet and garter, cake cutting, etc.

Next up, I’ve been shooting a lot of late-night wedding portraits lately. They’ve been a fun way to end the night with a few more photos of the bride and groom. These are less traditional and a little more fun and sexy. If the couple is having a grand exit, this shoot takes place before the first sparkler is lit.

Finally, the grand exit is the last item on the wedding day timeline. The wedding itinerary isn’t complete without the grand exit, especially if it’s as grand of an exit as Jenny and Zac’s wedding reception fireworks exit.

So, here is a sample wedding timeline for you to look over. This is just a guide, but will get the ball rolling on planning and scheduling the perfect wedding day itinerary.

Sample Wedding Day Timeline for a 6pm Ceremony

3pm Benfield Photography arrives, wedding details
3:30 Bride gets in dress
4pm Bride with wedding party (groom with wedding party)
4:30 First look with bride and groom
6pm Ceremony (rings, vows, special song, kiss)
6:30 Cocktail Hour + Family Portraits
7:30 Reception Begins with first dance
7:40 Parent dances
7:50 Dinner served
8pm Wedding portraits during golden hour
8:30 Cake cutting and toasts
9:30 Garter + Bouquet toss
10:30 Late night portraits
11pm Grand exit

Talk to you soon,
Dale

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