How to Create a Wedding Day Timeline

This is one of the first things that a bride usually asks me. As a Tuscaloosa wedding photographer, I realize that there are a lot of things to coordinate on a wedding day. Here’s some more details on creating a wedding day timeline.

Q: How do I create a wedding day timeline?

A: This is a great question. There are many things to consider when planning your wedding day. Your wedding photographer is a great resource in helping you with your planning. Having a timeline keeps everyone on the same page during the wedding day and results in beautiful, stress-free imagery.

All timelines are different and I’m happy to work with you to design a day that fits your preferences. After 5 seasons as an Alabama wedding photographer, I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t work when arranging a wedding day timeline. I take into consideration distance between venues, first looks, how many family formal groupings, sunset times, what time dinner will be served, and more. Here are two common examples of a 7 hour wedding day with and without a first look.

This first timeline is 7 hours of wedding day coverage with a first look. This is for the bride and groom that want to have some intimate alone time before the events of their wedding day begin. Another advantage is that you get to start enjoying the party right after the ceremony.

4:30pm Spring Wedding Ceremony with First Look

1:00 – Photographer arrives. Pictures of bride and groom getting ready. Also, wedding day details like dress, shoes, flowers, and invitations.

1:30 – Bride Getting into Dress with Mother of Bride and Bridesmaids

1:45 – First Look

2:00 – Bride & Groom Portraits

2:30 – Wedding Party Portraits

3:00 – Family Formal Portraits

3:30 – A little break to relax before the ceremony

4:15 – Line up for Procession

4:30 – Ceremony

5:00 – Reception Introductions

5:15 – Dinner

5:45 – Toasts

6:00 – First Dances

6:15 – Cake Cutting

6:30 – Open Dance

7:00 – Sunset/Twilight Couple Session; a quick sneak out from the reception to enjoy the moment

7:15 – Bouquet and Garter Toss

7:30 – Open Dance

7:45 – Exit or Fake Exit. With a fake exit, I photograph the exit, then all your guests are welcome to continue to enjoy the party.

Doing a first look can result in some amazing, genuine moments like this one.

This next timeline is great for a more traditional bride. This timeline does not include a first look. With this schedule, I recommend offering a cocktail hour for your guests while formal portraits are being taken.

4:30pm Spring Wedding Ceremony without First Look

2:30 – Photographer arrives. Pictures of bride and groom getting ready. Also, wedding day details like dress, shoes, flowers, and invitations.

3:00 – Bride Getting into Dress with Mother of Bride and Bridesmaids

3:15 – Bride and Bridesmaids Portraits

3:30 – Groom and Groomsmen Portraits

3:45 – A little break to relax before the ceremony

4:15 – Line up for Procession

4:30 – Ceremony

5:00 – Cocktail Hour

5:00 – Family Formal Portraits

5:30 – Wedding Party Portraits

6:00 – Bride & Groom Portraits

6:45 – Reception Introductions

7:00 – Dinner

7:15 – Toasts

7:30 – First Dances

7:45 – Cake Cutting

8:00 – Open Dance

8:30 – Twilight Couple Session; a quick sneak out from the reception to enjoy the moment

8:45 – Bouquet and Garter Toss

9:00 – Open Dance

9:15 – Exit or Fake Exit. With a fake exit, I photograph the exit, then all your guests are welcome to continue to enjoy the party.

These timelines are so helpful. I hope this gives you an idea on how to organize your wedding day. I’m always happy to coordinate with you or your wedding planner to determine the best schedule for your day. Having a schedule will help you be able to coordinate with stylists, the florist, and other vendors. Feel free to message me if you have any questions about coordinating your wedding day.

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