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Creating your wedding day timeline

When you’re planning your wedding, the timeline is a really important part to have solidified before the big day! Whether you’re having a 300 person wedding or an intimate 20 person wedding, your timeline still matters. Read through this post to find out how to create and customize your timeline for a stress-free wedding day! If you have a wedding planner or month-of coordinator they will be the ones putting together your timeline so you don’t need to worry about these details too much!

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Here are a few things you’ll want to determine first. Are you having a first look or aisle look? How many hours of coverage do you have booked? Did you book a second photographer? All of these things will determine which order certain things go and how much time you’ll have for each part of the day. Many, many wedding days follow very similar timelines depending on these factors, so find which is most similar to yours and tweak from there!

 

Wedding Day Timeline Examples

 

How to create your Wedding Day Timeline by Vanessa Renae Photography, a Winnipeg Wedding Photographer

 

 

First look 10-hour timeline with a second photographer:

12:00 – Bride getting ready (main photographer)

12:00 – Groom getting ready (second photographer)

1:00 – Drive to first look

1:30 – First look and portraits

2:00 – Bridal party portraits

2:30 – Drive to the ceremony location

3:00 – Family portraits

3:30 – Bride hides/ceremony details captured

4:00 – Ceremony

4:30 – Cocktail hour

5:30 – Reception entrance

5:45 – Dinner served

7:00 – Speeches

7:45 – First dances

8:00 – Cake cutting

8:15 – Sunset photos (make sure to check the sunset time on your wedding day HERE)

9:00 – Sparkler exit

9:15 – Guest dancing and candids

10:00 – Coverage ends

 

 

No first look 10-hour timeline with a second photographer:

12:00 – Bride getting ready (main photographer)

12:00 – Groom getting ready (second photographer)

1:00 – Drive to ceremony

1:30 – Bride hides/ceremony details captured

2:00 – Ceremony

2:30 – Family portraits

3:00 – Bridal party portraits

3:30 – Bride & groom portraits

4:30 – Bride & Groom join cocktail hour

5:00 – Reception entrance

5:30 – Dinner served

6:30 – Speeches

7:30 – First dances

7:45 – Cake cutting

8:00 – Sunset photos (make sure to check the sunset time on your wedding day HERE)

8:45 – Sparkler exit

9:00 – Guest dancing and candids

10:00 – Coverage ends

 

First look 8-hour timeline with a second photographer:

12:00 – Bride getting ready (main photographer)

12:00 – Groom getting ready (second photographer)

1:00 – Drive to first look

1:30 – First look & portraits

2:00 – Bridal party portraits

2:30 – Drive to ceremony

3:00 – Bride hides/ceremony details captured

3:30 – Ceremony

4:00 – Family portraits

4:30 – Bride & groom join cocktail hour

4:45 – Reception entrance

5:00 – Dinner served

6:00 – Speeches

6:45 – First dances

7:00 – Cake cutting

7:15 – Sunset photos (make sure to check the sunset time on your wedding day HERE)

7:30 – Guest dancing and candids

8:00 – Coverage ends

 

No First look 8-hour timeline with a second photographer:

12:00 – Bride getting ready (main photographer)

12:00 – Groom getting ready (second photographer)

1:00 – Drive to the ceremony

1:30 – Bride hides/ceremony details captured

2:00 – Ceremony

2:30 – Family portraits

3:00 – Bridal party portraits

3:30 – Bride & groom portraits

4:15 – Bride & groom join cocktail hour

4:45 – Reception entrance

5:00 – Dinner served

6:00 – Speeches

6:45 – First dances

7:00 – Cake cutting

7:15 – Sunset photos (make sure to check the sunset time on your wedding day HERE)

7:30 – Guest dancing and candids

8:00 – Coverage ends

 

How to tweak your wedding day timeline

Family Portraits after the Ceremony: Your family portraits can easily be moved to after the ceremony on first look days if that works better for you. Simply bump the day up by 30 minutes and add in an extra 30 minutes after the ceremony for those family photos! Or, if you have an hour cocktail hour, you can leave more room in the morning for your bride & groom portraits and just take 30 minutes out of your cocktail hour visiting time for family photos.

No Second Photographer: If you do not have a second photographer hired for the day, the only difference for the timeline will be in your getting-ready photos. Some couples don’t care to have photos of the groom and his guys getting ready and it’s totally ok not to do them! In this case, get rid of the groom getting ready photos and just have the 1 hour of the bride getting ready. If you’d like both, I like to start at the guys and I really only need 30 minutes to get some classic getting ready shots and some candids of the guys hanging out. Make sure to factor in how long it takes to drive from the guys to the girls. If you need more time, take it from somewhere in the portrait section or start the day a bit earlier and have the coverage end a little sooner.

Speech Times: When calculating how much time you should set aside for speeches, take however many speeches you’re having and multiply by 5 minutes. If you end up with a weird number, feel free to round up as it’s not uncommon for doting fathers or very talkative brothers to run over their time. When letting people know that you’d like them to do a speech, strongly encourage them to rehearse and time themselves to see how long it is. 5 minutes may sound short in theory but 5 minutes of talking is actually a very long time and anything that needs to be said can easily be said in that time! Your guests will thank you for not having to sit through 2 hours of speeches 😉 Let’s say if your mom just CAN’T shorten it, perhaps suggest she puts the extra parts into a handwritten letter for you!

First Dance Times: Similar to speeches, most songs are 5 minutes long or less so just multiply however many dances by 5 minutes!)

Sunset Photos: Anywhere from 1 hour before sunset to 20 minutes before is great for sunset photos! The earlier, the more bright and glowy they’ll be and the later, the moodier. We can plan for as much or as little time as you’d like, anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. If your coverage ends before sunset and you’re wanting sunset photos, consider bumping everything up however much you need so that we do sunset photos as the last part of the day before I leave. If the sun sets at 9:30pm, we could do 8:30-9 or 9-9:30 depending on how moody you’d like the light to be. Both are beautiful!

Sparkler Exit: If you’re planning on doing a sparkler exit, schedule it for right after sunset photos at dusk when there’s still a little bit of ambient light! The glow of sparklers is often really tricky for cameras to pick up focus on. Bonus tip, buy the longest sparklers you can find so they last a minute or two!

Guest Dancing & Candids: I always reserve the extra time at the end of the day for amazing candids that come out during the evening party! If it’s going to be a super crazy party and you want lots of dancing photos, consider 45 minutes to an hour after all of the wedding formalities are over!

Travel Times: When planning out any drive times, you’ll want to include enough buffer time to allow for traffic and other random delays. Google map your route and add an extra 5-10 mins for all travel times (potentially more if you’ll be driving through the city during rush hour.)

 

How to create your Wedding Day Timeline by Vanessa Renae Photography, a Winnipeg Wedding Photographer

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How to Create Your Wedding Day Timeline

Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Creating your wedding day timeline When you’re planning your wedding, the timeline is a really important part to have solidified before the big day! Whether you’re having a 300 person wedding or an intimate 20 person wedding, your timeline still matters. Read through this post to find out how to create and customize your timeline […]

How to create your Wedding Day Timeline by Vanessa Renae Photography, a Winnipeg Wedding Photographer

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