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My typical wedding photography timeline

Introduction

This article will give you a rundown of my typical wedding photography timeline. It’s purpose is to provide you with a rough guide as to how I would structure your timeline in terms of the wedding photography. For educational purposes, we will be doing it for a full day wedding which is often co-aligned with my Deluxe Package, however we still offer affordable wedding photography for under $1000.

wedding photo at dusk

Groom Preparation

So the groom and bride preparation is perhaps the most important factor in determining how many hours you would need for your package and planning your wedding timeline. Many couples choose to forgo groom preparation which is fine, however if you’re opting to have photos of the groom preparation, then we must do this before the bride preparation photos. Reason being, is that you can plan and organise the groom preparation photos more so than the bride getting ready. Normally I would spend 45 minutes to an hour with the groomsmen and arrange it so I can get to the brides location when she is just finishing getting her makeup done. Example: If the brides makeup artist thinks they will be done by 11am, then I will organise to do the groom preparation photos from 10:00am to 10:45am and give myself 15 minutes to drive to the brides location. I always recommend to the groom that if I am going to be arriving at 10am, then for them to be 90% ready by the time I get there, so showered, shaved, hair done, pants and shirts on. I will then walk in and ask the boys to put their ties and jackets on. 

fun groomsmen photo

Bride Preparation

Ahh so the bride preparation. I’ve learnt over the years that this can not be rushed and that I need to just be patient. Makeup always seems to run overtime, there may be issues putting the dress on, there’s always a frantic rush as they are leaving the house. For this reason, I normally allow 60 to 90 minutes for bridal preparation photos. If possible, I will always try and leave 30 minutes before the bride so I can get to the ceremony earlier to setup. So if the ceremony is starting 1:30pm and it’s a 30 minute drive, I would arrive at the brides location at 11am and photograph until 12:30pm, leave and get to the ceremony at 1:00pm. Also, if Google maps is telling me it will take 20 minutes to get to the ceremony, I always allow 30 to 40 minutes travel time to be extra cautious. The last thing you want on your wedding day is for your photographer to be stuck in traffic or getting lost. 

bridesmaids helping bride get dressed

Ceremony & Group Photos

So, ideally I would have arrived 30 minutes earlier than the actual start time, taken photos of the location, detail photos,  guests arriving, groom waiting nervously etc. Once the ceremony is done and dusted, I will allow 10 to 15 minutes (if time permits) for the bride and groom to talk to reunite with their guests and let them congratulate you. We then go into group and family photos. This can depend on how many people you have attending, but usually 15 to 20 minutes is sufficient. It’s always a good idea to pre-plan your group photos so you don’t miss out on anyone important. 

bride and groom kissing at their wedding ceremony

Location photos

So this is when the bridal party (including the bride and groom) will go off to a beautiful location and have their photos taken. The time this takes is really dependent on you. Normally it takes around 60 to 90 minutes, but if you only want to do it for 30 minutes and then go have a drink with your guests then that’s fine too! The one thing I’ll mention here is that this is perhaps the most exhausting part of the wedding for the bride and groom. Having to pose, follow direction, move from spot to spot can really take it out of you. If your reception is starting at 6pm, then I would organise the location photos from 4:00pm to 5:30pm so you can have a rest before the reception starts. Ideally we want to be finishing the location shoot just as the sun is going down so we can get some sunset or sunflare photos. Be sure to check out our article on how to make the most of your Location shoot

groom kissing wife on cheek

Reception photos

So when the reception starts, there is really not a whole lot of organising to do from the wedding photographers point of view. The only thing we can accomplish (outside the typical speeches, cutting cake, first dance etc) is table photos. This is where the bride and groom go around to every table and have a photo with the guests at that table. This can take anywhere between 10 to 40 minutes depending on how many guests you have. Once the cake cutting, speeches and the first dance is done, it is up to you as to how long you want your photographer stay. This will be discussed when you first make an enquiry, but usually I go after these events are done. 

groom dipping bride down at their first dance

Example Timeline

Below is a typical example of one of my timelines for a full day wedding:

  • 10am to 10:45am – Groom Preparation
  • 10:45am to 11am – Travel
  • 11am to 12:30pm – Bridal Preparation
  • 12:30pm to 1:00pm – Travel
  • 1:30pm to 2:30pm – Ceremony and Group Photos
  • 3:00pm to 4:30pm – Location Photos
  • 5:00pm to 8:00pm – Reception

I am happy to call you as many times that is needed to help structure your wedding photography timeline as being organised and structured with your wedding is the key to having a relaxed wedding where you get fantastic wedding photos. Reach out if you have any questions!

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