How To Create A Detailed Wedding Timeline

Your wedding day shouldn’t feel like a photoshoot. Here are tips to a successful, detailed wedding timeline that prioritizes you and your fianceé, makes it feel like a real wedding day and helps you relax!


Nervous about the flow of your wedding day? No fear. With each portion of the day explained, you can create a perfect wedding day timeline in minutes!

As one of the most life-altering (or should I say altaring?) days in your life, it’s a day that should be experienced rather than scheduled. Yes, of course, we put timelines in place and plan for months! But the goal is having a peaceful, relaxing and calm day because you’ve put in the work beforehand. Having a robust timeline beforehand allows for wiggle room, breathing room and time for you to simply enjoy your friends, family and spouse (!!) to the best of your ability.

After photographing 80+ weddings, here is my ideal, detailed wedding timeline for a 10-hour day of photography coverage:


Details: 45 minutes

The details really set the tone for the rest of your wedding gallery. Upon arrival and giving you a biiiiig wedding day hug, your photographer will ask for all of your details. Make sure you have them ready in a box so that you can quickly refer to them! Your photographer will style the details – and I’m talking about full invitation suite (even envelopes!), shoes, jewelery, all three rings, special items, perfume bottles, garter, bouquet or floral clippings, dress, etc. – based on your colours and style. See this blog post for a full wedding details checklist!



Putting on the dress: 20 minutes

This is one of my favourite parts of the wedding day. It’s a very intimate and quiet few moments as mothers and maids of honour come gently behind the bride to adjust last-minute dress, veil, shoe and jewelry selections. There are usually a few tears, and that’s when it finally hits the bride: she’s getting married today!




Bridesmaid and Father Reveals: 20 minutes

First looks with bridesmaids and fathers rarely take more than 10 minutes each! In this low-stress but high-emotion situation, a bride gets all eyes on her as she presents her dress and veil to bridesmaids and her father, respectively. It’s a really sweet moment that’s highly encouraged! It gives you and Dad a few minutes alone and makes for some fun faces from your bridesmaids!


Aldridge Gardens first look with bridesmaids


First Look and Portraits: 40 minutes

I love to build in a lot of time for portraits, because it’s a large percentage of what I deliver in a final wedding gallery. These are the pictures you’re going to frame, so I love to designate a lot of time for them! Having a full hour allows for the first look to be seamless and not rushed. After snapping a few pictures, I step back to give you a few minutes to chat. I’ve heard feedback from couples that this was their favourite part of the day because they got to talk, undisturbed!



Aldridge Gardens bride and groom first look

Bridal Party Portraits: 45 minutes

Let’s take pictures of you and your peeps! This time allotment can be anywhere from 20-45 minutes depending on the size of your bridal party. If you have less than five on either side, it is a breeze! If you have 11+ on each side, I love to give 45 minutes to ensure it’s fun but enough time. In this 45 minutes, we take full bridal party portraits, just bridesmaids, just groomsmen and individuals of each bridal party member with the bride and groom, respectively. My couples are a ton of fun, which means they usually have amazing friends surrounding them! So I’ll throw (sometimes quite literally) some fun pose ideas out there and see how each group interprets it!


The barn at shady lane groomsmen


Family Portraits: 15/20 minutes

It’s understood across the board that family pictures can be the most stressful part of the day. But it’s my goal to debunk that fear!!! Family dynamics can be tricky, but with a solid list in order, we can breeze through this piece in 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of the family. My second photographer calls out each pairing, and we run through them seamlessly!


st. luke's episcopal family portrait

the barn at shady lane family portrait


Ceremony: 30 minutes

If there’s any part of the day I don’t want you to rush through, it’s the ceremony. This time is sacred, and the covenant you make is the most important part of the day! So whether it’s 20 minutes or an hour, that’s so awesome!


outdoor wedding first kiss


Sunset Pictures: 20 minutes

Who doesn’t want that soft, glowy light?! I love taking couples to a location after the ceremony for about 10-20 minutes for their favourite portraits!



Reception: 3 hours

Let’s get this dance party going! Typically guests will stay up to three hours for a reception. It all depends on your preferences – will you be eating a first meal or with your guests? Do you want a receiving line? Will all portraits be after the ceremony? Consider these things to make the most out of your reception so you can enjoy it to the full and honour the guests you invited!


iron city reception


My hope is that this blog helps you create a detailed wedding timeline that makes your day run as smoothly as possible! This is a day you should enjoy more than any other, and it all starts with a reliable timeline. For more info on photography, weddings, and other tips for brides, head on over to my blog!