Photo Timing for your Wedding Day

Here is how the photo timing breaks down for longer wedding days!

Eloping? Having a mini wedding? See this link!

Getting Ready — 1.5-2 hours 

The whole day begins with the details! You want to remember all the pretty things you picked out for this day (like grandma’s jewelry) and the shoes that might not be seen under your dress. We take extra care to style them to match the overall vibe and colors in your wedding- we always bring ribbon,  ring boxes and small details which make these photos shine.

HOT TIP: Put all these details in a box and designate a bridesmaid to keep track of it! That way you keep everything organized so you’re not scrambling to find your stuff when we arrive. Make sure you set aside your dress for easy access too!

What goes in the box: Shoes, Garter, Perfume, Jewelry, ALL wedding rings (engagement and wedding bands!), Veil, Something borrowed, etc., Any other things you want a picture of!

We do these detail photos while you are in hair and makeup, but if you want any beautifying shots we can always stage a few!

The second hour is perfect for robe/cheers-ing photos and to capture the getting dressed process. Hot tip: Make sure your bridal party get dressed before you do so they are not in their sweats when they help you get into your attire! Because we are a two shooter team, Tim will join me at the first location to capture the trickiest detail photo (the rings) and when he is finished he can travel to a secondary location (at the same venue or another!) to capture the guys getting ready.

First Look/Not First Look — 15 Minutes

With two photographers you get two angles of this emotional moment! It takes a few minutes to set up a few shots and angles and then the rest of the time is candids capturing you two celebrate seeing each other for the first time! We encourage large bear hugs, sweet hand holding and lots and lots of kisses! If you are on the fence about whether or not to do a first look check out this post and see if it’s the right decision for you!

Wedding Party Photos — 30-45 Minutes

When our couple does a first look, we start with the whole group together (doing standard posed shots and as many fun, candid shots as we can!) and then split up: Tim taking portraits of the one bridal party side and me (Marisa) with the other side! If you decide to not do a first look, then we do portraits of each bridal party side separately before the ceremony (to save time during cocktail hour) and then do photos of the whole group together after the family photos which should immediately follow the ceremony.

NewlyWed Photos — 45-60 Minutes
If we are being honest, all of the wedding day images are important. But your photos are definitely the most important. These images are ALWAYS our favorite not only because they represent the real reason for the whole day. We will cover individual portraits, details of your attire and personal florals, and photos of you two together. If you decide to do an engagement session you will be more comfortable and loose in front of the camera and the process should flow more naturally. But if you never did an engagement session, it helps to have a bit more time to allow you to relax and capture candid moments. 

Typically we capture a few looking at the camera shots (trust me, the older folks love them!) but usually we focus on creating natural candid moments of talking, laughing, walking and just being together in a way that shows off your love for one another. 

Set Up Details — 30-45 Minutes

It is important for us to set aside time on the schedule to capture these set up and environmental details because these are the things that get moved, disrupted and changed when guests descend upon the event. We want to capture them in their pristine state, the way you have envisioned them to look! 

You work incredibly hard on your vision and your coordination/venue team work hard making it all come to life. Once the guests enter it never looks the same again! It is the easiest when the wedding is all at one location, but as long as communication about set up completion is clear and photo time is scheduled for us, we should be able to capture plenty of detail photos at separate ceremony and reception locations.

Ceremony — 20-60 minutes

Timing here totally depends on what type of ceremony you want to have! Non-religious, simple ceremonies are typically 20 minutes tops (even if you write your own vows!) whereas very religious or Catholic Mass ceremonies are a full 60 minutes. Ceremony lighting is really important. If you get married outdoors at noon, the lighting will be exremely harsh and not only will there be harsh lines of light on your faces, you will also be squinting. We suggest planning a ceremony two hours before sunset if you are having a first look. If you don’t have a first look, then we would recommend having your ceremony at least 3 hours before sunset to ensure that we will have plenty of time for all your portraits afterwards. The lower the sun, the more romantic the lighting! If you are having an indoor ceremony, it is always best to have even lighting at the altar.  

Important Cocktail Hour Note:

If you do not do a first look, then we require a 90 minute cocktail hour. I know that seems long, but with enough food and drink people will be fine! The timing breakdown works out to 20-30 minutes for family photos, 10-15 minutes for some photos of the whole bridal party together and 45-50 minutes for romantic photos the newlyweds. If we compress the cocktail time to 60 minutes, the amount of portraits will be significantly reduced and much more rushed. However if you do a first look, 60 minutes is plenty of time for cocktail hour! We can use the first half of the cocktail hour to do family photos (see more info on those below) and the rest of cocktail hour can be spent taking couple’s sunset photos, relaxing and taking a breather, or you could join your cocktail hour for drinks and snacks!

P.S. — We don’t normally take photos of food, but if requested, we will!

Family Photos — 20-60 Minutes

The timing here depends on the size of your families! We kindly ask that you restrict family photos to immediate family (grandparents, parents and siblings) but sometimes you have mixed families, divorces, re-marriages, half siblings and siblings with significant others and kids. Oh my! We will either interview you about your specific family needs or request you fill out our family information form and then we can build your custom shot list for your approval. We usually recommend doing the family photos right after the ceremony and reminding your family to stay for photos in two ways. First, tell each and every person you want in photos to stay in the ceremony area after the ceremony for photos that will immediately follow. Second, have your officiant announce and dismiss guests to cocktail hour, asking family to remain in the area for photos. We have photographed small, organized families in 15 minutes and we have photographed huge family lists for an entire 60 minute cocktail hour. Make sure you let us know your family photo priorities and we will advise on how much time is needed!

Sunset Photos — 15-30 minutes

First look or no, I highly recommend taking a minimum of 15 minutes to step outside with us and make some golden hour magic. I promise it is worth it!

Reception Coverage — 2-5 hours

Again, the timing here depends on your guest count and what you want captured at your reception. You can spend your time just socializing with guests and eating while we capture candids or you can do all or some of the traditional events: a grand entrance, a first dance, toasts, table visits (a great way to get a photo with every guest!), bouquet/garter toss, shoe game, anniversary dance, money dance, hora, open dancing and cake cutting!

Typically we stay until the last reception event (usually the cake cutting!) and then we take our couples outside the reception for a small break and one last photo of you to end the night. We love to get creative and dramatic with the photo, with the goal of highlighting some beautiful and unique feature of your venue that is especially lovely at night. However, with a full day coverage (11-12 hours) we will do this nighttime shot and stay until your grand exit!  

Some other things to keep in mind:

Guest Consideration - If you have a lof of elderly guests that will not be staying until the very end, make sure you schedule the cake cutting at a relatively early time so that they can be a part of it. Grandma’s love seeing this sweet tradition!

Keep it Moving - Chat with your coordinator/DJ about how you can plan your  reception in a way that will keep guests engaged and moving all night!

A Controlled Exit - In order to have more control over our shots and ensure that they turn out, we typically have our couples run through and do their “exit”  several times. We want to make sure your photos turn out whether or not your  guests are waving sparklers, wiggling ribbon wands or blowing bubbles!

The best advice we can give about the timeline is- add cushion time! Sometimes the simplest things can take an extra 20 minutes and  then before you know it, the whole morning is thrown off. We have seen “getting the bride in her dress” take almost 40 minutes because of button malfuntion or confusion over lacing the back. It is a smart idea to add an extra 10 minutes here and ther so that we all have some wiggle room to work with. This way, if one part of the day gets thrown off, we can help catch up in other area. Keep in mind that not everything will go as planned, and we promise you that is completely normal and we will be flexible, adapt, and make it work! There are so many complex moving parts to consider, but please know that we are here for you and here to help!


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