For so many couples creating a wedding timeline is the most stressful par of planning, but it doesn’t have to be! Follow this steps and you’ll be able to enjoy a worry-free day together knowing that everything will fall into place as it should.

Let’s break a full wedding day into small categories or segments. I schedule out each little section of the day, then I fit them all together to create the master timeline (and don’t forget to add travel time between events if they’re happening in different places).

I start by planning the timeline with the least flexible segment and how will impact the other events around it. for example, Sunset, that my friend is not flexible. there is a time when we’ll lose light and please consider if the sun is setting on the ocean or behind a building. Another good example, if your ceremony is scheduled to start at a certain time.

Segment #1: Getting Ready Photos: 1-1.5 hrs, plus hair and makeup before photos start.

Segment #2: Pre Ceremony, Ceremony & Marriage License: 1-2.5 hrs

Segment #3: Family Photos: 25-60 min

Segment #4: Wedding Party Photos and Couple Portraits: 1.5-2 hrs

Segment #5: Reception Room details: 20-30 min

Segment #6: The reception: through 30-90 min of dancing

Segment #7: Golden Hour Portraits: 15-20 min

Segment #1: Getting Ready Photos (2-2.5 hrs)

Once you’ve worked out your ceremony time, you’ll be able to work backward to figure out your schedule for getting ready. I try to arrive at least 30 min before the bride is ready to put her dress on. This usually ensures that hair and makeup are almost finished.

Have the maid of honor, a trusted friend or relative in charge of the “detail box” while you are getting ready, I’m going to need that box with your engagement ring, wedding bands, invitations, shoes, any special jewelry or perfume, our something borrowed, something old, something blue, etc.

If the Groom and Groomsmen are getting ready at the same location as the bride, I’ll go back and forth between Bride and Groom for pictures. For the Groom getting ready is usually as simple as putting on jackets, pocket squares and boutonnieres. If the Groom and Groomsmen are getting ready elsewhere, have them wait to put boutonnieres on until the buffer time before the ceremony begins. If you want coverage of the Groom’s getting ready at the other location you might want to hire a second photographer, not sure? Should you have a second photographer at your wedding?

Here’s how getting ready usually breaks out:

  • Details and candids: 30 min

  • Bridesmaids together in robes 5-10 min

  • Bride getting dressed and finishing touches: 25 min

  • First Look with dad: 5-15 min

  • Groom Getting ready 20-30 min

TIPS: Working backward from details and dressing, make sure that you’re accounting for the number of people who will have hair and makeup done, along with any travel time in between locations.

Consider ordering food for you and your friends, walking down the aisle on an empty stomach is not a good idea :)

Segment #2: Pre Ceremony, Ceremony & Marriage License: 1-2.5 hrs

I like to leave 30 min of buffer time before the ceremony starts, you can use this time to breathe, relax and tuck away as guest begin to arrive. This is also a good time for me to photograph the ceremony site and details 100% ready.

As soon as the ceremony ends, plan for a few extra minutes for everyone to clear out- specially if you are having a receiving line, which can take as long as 30 min.

For church weddings, some couples choose to take exit photos where guests will see them off from the church. You’ll exit, but you’ll actually loop back to enter the church again through another door to sign your marriage license and take family photos while guests head on to the next event.

Segment #3: Family Photos: 25-60 min

Family photos are an important category of their own. They can either happen before the ceremony (if you do a first look) or just after. Here’s what you need to know:

1.- You’ll want to plan out which groupings you want before your wedding date. Assume that it will take about 5min per major grouping to get everybody in and out and about 3 min per smaller groups.

2.- Once the list is created, share it with a key person who knows most of the family members and can help call out names from the list.

3.- Make sure that everyone who will be in these photos is aware of it a head of time.

Segment #4: Wedding Party Photos and Couple Portraits: 1.5-2 hrs

There are 8 basic combinations that I am for with wedding party and couple portraits:

  • Bride alone (5-15min)

  • Bride with each bridesmaid (5-15min)

  • Bride with all bridesmaids (10 min)

  • Groom alone (5-15min)

  • Groom with each groomsmen (5-15min)

  • Groom with all groomsmen (10 min)

  • Full wedding party (10-15min)

  • The Bride and the Groom creative portraits (20-60 min)

This segment is tricky, because it can be broken into different scenarios.

Example 1: If you decide NOT to see each other before the ceremony I can photograph Bride and Bridesmaids in location 1, Groom and Groomsmen in location 2, go to the ceremony and photograph full wedding party after your ceremony in location 3.

Example 2. If you decide to do a FIRST LOOK. I can photograph all the above before the ceremony

Example 3. If the Groom is getting ready at another location. I can photograph Bride and Bridesmaids in location 1, go to ceremony, and photograph Groom and Groomsmen and full wedding party after.

TIPS: factor in travel time and consider back-up locations in case of rain.

Segment #5: Reception Room details: 20-30 min

Plan around 20min before guests enter the reception site (the more details, the more time I’ll need) I usually photograph this segment during cocktail hour, at this point, the room should be completely ready.

Segment #6: The reception: through 30-90 min of dancing

Once the reception starts, you’ll work with your DJ or band to plan out the rest of the schedule. I always meet uo with this point person as soon as I arrive at the reception to make sure that we’re working closely together throughout the evening just in case anything needs to change.

At this point I take candid photos of the evening, but I also make a point to have the bride, groom and parents tell me if there are other casual group photographs of friends who they would like to get together.

Once dancing gets going, I usually recommend about 30-90 min of dancing and reception photos, within this time I’ll make sure to capture the major events and traditions of the evening.

Segment #7: Golden Hour Portraits: 15-20 min

I love to take the Bride and the Groom out for at least 15 min of “golden hour” photos in the final hour before the sun sets. This is when you’ll have the most amazing light for photographs, and it also gives you a chance to have a small quiet moment together during your wedding day.