A Guide to The Perfect Wedding Timeline

For Brides

January 29, 2020

Congrats! You’re engaged! It’s such an exciting time in your lives! I’m sure your mind is racing of all that needs to be planned. As exciting as it is, it’s also a bit overwhelming but I’m here to help put your mind at ease. When you hire me as your wedding photographer, I will be there to do more than take pretty photos, I will be there to guide you, direct you and help you focus on the details that matter most. My goal as your wedding photographer is make this one aspect of your wedding planning simpler. Once you have booked your venue, your florist, your stationary and all of the in between’s, the first step is helping you plan the perfect wedding timeline to ensure you have more time to enjoy those precious moments.

It’s All in the Details!

Here are some things to think about when putting your timeline together:

  • Where are you and your girls getting ready, where are the guys getting ready?
  • How will you and the groom get from the final preparation location to the ceremony?
  • Are you planning on doing a First Look? Learn about all the reasons why you should consider a First Look here!
  • What reception details are you planning on doing? For example, receiving line, cocktails, toasts, caking cutting, dances, etc.
  • Do you want to do a fun exit? Sparklers? Floating lanterns? Fireworks?



Step One: Set your plan in place early

It’s never too early to start planning your timeline. Making adjustments to it down the road will be easier and something to work with when showing your vendors.

Step Two: Choose your Ceremony Time

The easiest place to start is choosing your ceremony and reception time and start building from there. Take the season into consideration especially in the winter months when the days are shorter.

Step three: Allow extra time

Adding 30 minutes to an hour between events will give you lots of extra cushion to make sure your wedding doesn’t run off schedule.

Things to consider
  • Factor in travel time between locations such as getting ready, portraits and reception
  • Don’t leave your guests waiting too long during cocktail hour
  • Communicate with your friends and family your timeline





Sample Timeline

8:00 a.m. – Bride Getting ready + Bridal Details
11:00 a.m. – Groom getting ready + Groom Details
1:30 p.m. – First Look
1:45 p.m. – Portraits
4:00 p.m. – Ceremony
4:45 p.m. – Family formals
5:30 p.m. – Cocktail Hour + Romantic Portraits
6:00 p.m. – Reception
10:30 p.m. – The exit



Getting ready + Bridal details

It’s important to consider how much time you and your girls will need to have your hair and makeup done. Consider how many girls are in your bridal party and how many makeup artists will be there to gauge how much time you will need so you don’t feel rushed or fall behind schedule. A makeup artist generally needs an hour with each of your girls and will take a bit longer with the bride. Make sure to bring this up as well as if mother of the bride, grandmother or anyone else is getting their hair and makeup done.

I use this time to take photos of all the bridal details such as the rings, shoes, jewellery, bouquet, wedding dress, bridesmaids dresses, and the invitation suite. Once everyone is ready, it’s time to pop the champagne and photograph everyone in those gorgeous robes!

The next part is one of my favourites. The moment you get into your wedding dress and seeing your girls reaction. Building the reveal into your timeline for your girls and your dad to see is so sweet. But first, we start by getting mom ready followed by your girls. Don’t forget to get the mimosas going and blast your favourite music and enjoy every moment.

First Look

First Looks are one of favourite parts of the wedding day! This where you and the groom get to have a private moment with each other without everyone watching. You can continue reading all of many reason we love them here.



After the First Look, we do the bride and groom portraits followed by bridal party portraits


Time for the most exciting part of your day, saying “I do!”

Family Portraits

Family portraits are usually right after the ceremony while we still have everyone in one spot. It’s a good idea to designate one family member with a copy of the family photo list from each side to gather everyone for photos just in case someone wonders off. These family portraits last 30 minutes depending on family size.

Cocktail Hour + Romantic Portraits

While the guests are mingling and enjoying cocktails and d’oeuvres, it’s the perfect time to take some romantic portraits as husband and wife. You also won’t regret slowing down time and sneaking out at sunset to get some epic and gorgeous photos of the two of you.


Time to celebrate that you’re married!!!! Dance the night away and enjoy every moment!


The Exit

I love it when couples choose to do a fun exit because it makes for some pretty cool photos! If your venue allows it, sparklers are always a hit! A great tip, making sure you buy sparklers that are extra long so it gives you plenty of time to make your way through the tunnel of guests, stop for a dip and give each other a sweet kiss while everyone cheers you on!

Click here to inquire about your date! I would love to hear from you! 



  1. Mona says:

    Wow, this is great! I’m glad you provided the sample timeline – that helped me a lot!

leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *