July 25, 2020

How to create the perfect wedding day timeline

Flowers, rentals, dresses, cakes, music….there is so much to think about when planning your wedding day. While all of those things are super important and add to the experience and beauty of the wedding day, one aspect that is equally as important is the wedding day timeline.

As a professional wedding photographer in Dallas, I help brides create the perfect timeline so the day feels relaxed and conducive to producing the best images. For many couples, portraits are the most important aspect of the day, but how can you take sun-soaked wedding portraits if your timeline schedules them after sunset. I created this guide to help you craft your own wedding day timeline with the perfect light and flow in mind.

First, start with the sunset time for your specific wedding date. If you are wanting natural light portraits, all portraits need to be completed 30 minutes prior to this time. For example, if sunset is at 8:30pm, portraits need to be complete by 8pm.

When I schedule time for portraits, I generally allocate an hour after the ceremony for family and bride and groom portraits. In our example, that means portraits should start at 7:00pm. I generally try to get bridesmaid/groomsmen portraits before the ceremony to save time after the ceremony.

A standard ceremony lasts about 20-30 minutes (unless you’re having a full Church ceremony). I like to schedule a little buffer here because it always takes a little longer than expected to empty out the ceremony space. In our example, our ceremony start time would then be 6:15pm (or 6:00pm if you want more of a buffer).

From there, I allocate the different events in 30 minute increments. I’ve created a few sample timelines below. In the first, there is no first look. If you’re wanting to do a first look, the second one may work better for you! Again, start with the sunset time, and work your way backwards.

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