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A Sample Timeline for Your Wedding Day

You've poured tons of time and effort into planning your wedding, but how do you schedule the day itself?

Whether you have a coordinator or are keeping things organized on your own, it's important to put together a timeline of the day's events to make sure you have plenty of time for hair and makeup, photos, and, of course, dancing!

To help you get started on your own schedule, we've put together this sample timeline based on previous weddings we've photographed. Many of our weddings look exactly like this timeline.


10:30 a.m. - Getting ready

A big chunk of your pre-wedding time should be devoted to hair and makeup, getting dressed for your big day, and spending time with your wedding party.

Many brides don't leave themselves enough time to get ready. The last thing you want is to be stressed before the ceremony. Leave yourself more time than you think you need, so you have time to relax in the morning, hang out with your bridal party, and get into your dress un-rushed. (This is also an excellent time for mimosas, if you're so inclined.)


2:45 p.m. - First look and couple portraits part 1

Your first look is a huge moment in your wedding day—the moment when you and your soon-to-be-spouse see each for the first time. We work to make this moment as intimate as possible and to capture the emotions you're feeling.

After your first look, we'll do a few couple portraits but won't spend too much on them because we schedule in additional portraits around sunset.

party 1

3-3:30 p.m. - Formal portraits with family and wedding party

These are the traditional posed photos your parents and grandparents will want, and you'll be glad you have them too.

After the traditional photos, I'll have more creative posing ideas for fun group photos together. Make sure you check out my favorite 4 creative poses for wedding party photos if you haven't already.

4-4:30 p.m. - Ceremony

5 p.m. - Cocktail hour

This is a time for guests to mingle, grab a drink, and just hang out before the fun of the reception begins.

6 p.m. - Guests to reception

If you've planned a fun introduction for your wedding party, now is the time to do it.

6:15 p.m. - First dance

6:20 p.m. - Speeches

6:35 p.m. - Father/daughter dance and then mother/son dance

This often varies in the wedding timeline.

6:45 p.m. - Dinner is served



Whenever sunset is, this is the best time to go out for your special wedding portraits. We suggest blocking off at least 30 minutes for your sunset couple portraits. For example, if sunset is at 7 p.m., you should go out anytime between 5:30-6:30.


8:30 p.m. - Cake cutting

DANCE TIME until the end

Usually you only get four hours of reception time. So, in that case, your party would end at 10 p.m. If you think you’re going to want to keep the party going a little later, you should organize an after-party (you party animal you). 


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