Wedding Photography Timeline Planning

Every wedding is different, and so planning your wedding timeline may seem overwhelming. After all, there are a lot of components that must all come together to make sure the day runs smoothly! Luckily, I have attended hundreds of weddings, so this page is to provide you with information on how I best plan wedding photography timelines.

I will provide you with our recommendations, ideal timing, and things to consider. A few weeks before your wedding day, I will ask you to complete an online questionnaire that provides me lots of details about your upcoming wedding day. From there, I will put together a draft of your wedding day timeline and share it with you in an online collaboration.


Ideal Time Amount: 30 minutes

Ideal Time of Day: Morning

Ideal Location: Bridal Suite or Getting Ready Home

Tips: Have all of your details set aside for me in one location when I arrive. This may not be the location where I actually photograph them, but having it all in one place helps me to be efficient and not lose anything! Items to have: dress, shoes, jewelry, purse, garter(s), perfume, family heirlooms, gifts, veil.


Ideal Time Amount: 45 minutes

Ideal Time of Day: Morning or Early Afternoon

Ideal Location: Bridal Suite or Getting Ready Home

Tips: I am there to be a candid observer and get to know everyone during this time! Feel free to ask me any questions that you have about the day’s events, but otherwise I am capturing the excitement of your wedding preparations!

For getting into the dress, I will find a location with beautiful light and very little clutter. Try and keep all bridesmaid bags in one location, so that the room is easy to photograph without lots of distracting background items.

For the guys, I recommend the photographer arrive with 45 minutes to photograph their preparations.


Ideal Time Amount: 15 minutes

Ideal Time of Day: Prior to Ceremony

Ideal Location: Bridal Suite, Getting Ready Home, Venue Space

Tips: I love to capture a few portraits of you before the ceremony takes place. The window light in your getting ready space is often beautiful light for me to capture you looking your very best before the day gets hectic.

This is also a great time for a little breather before you’re rushed off to the ceremony! Enjoy a few moments to relax, refresh, and mentally prepare for the wedding ceremony.


Ideal Time Amount: 15 minutes

Ideal Time of Day: Prior to ceremony. Daylight hours

Ideal Location: Venue space, shaded private area

Tips: If you choose to do a first look, I schedule about 15 minutes for you to see each other, talk, and catch up on your day so far. I ask that bridal party and family not be directly present for this, as it works best if the moment is quiet and private.

If you are doing all of your photos prior to the ceremony, then I will do couple’s photos immediately following your first look. Otherwise, I prefer to save couple’s photos for the golden hour of light.

This is a great time to exchange gifts.


Ideal Time Amount: 45-60 minutes

Ideal Time of Day: Golden Hour – one hour before sunset

Ideal Location: Venue space, Location between ceremony + reception

Tips: When photographing my couples, I suggest one to two locations. Lots of the venues in the Pittsburgh area have beautiful grounds for couple’s portraits. I also have lots of locations to suggest between your ceremony and reception space.

If you’ve photographed an engagement session with me, this will be very familiar! This time is for the two of you to relax and enjoy some quiet moments together, so enjoy!

Remember, the biggest thing that eats up a timeline is travel time.


Ideal Time Amount: 30 minutes

Ideal Time of Day: Daylight hours, either before or after ceremony

Ideal Location: Venue space, Location between ceremony + reception

Tips: Photographing the bridal party typically takes less time that you’d imagine. That’s not because I don’t love your bridesmaids and groomsmen, it’s simply because i have a good system to keep everyone organized.

Make sure everyone has their flowers before this part of the day.

Please let me know if any of the children in the bridal party will be with us between the ceremony + reception space. The don’t need to be – we’ll leave that up to the parents! – it just helps me to plan.


Ideal Time Amount: 30-60 minutes

Ideal Time of Day: Daylight hours, either directly before or after ceremony

Ideal Location: Ceremony space

Tips: The time for this category largely depends on the size of your family! Larger family groupings tend to take longer to get everyone organized.

We like to start with the largest groups, and then work our way down to simple photos of you with your mom, your dad, etc.

We always cater to elderly family members first.


Ideal Time Amount: 20-30 minutes

Ideal Time of Day: Before reception space is opened to guests

Ideal Location: Reception space

Tips: Please allow me time to photograph your reception venue space without guests present. You spend a lot of time, money, and energy planning your reception party and I would like a brief period of time to memorialize all of your hard work.

If it is possible to close this space off from the wedding guests, please inform your venue coordinator or event planner to wait until I have completed the photography to open the doors.


Ideal Time Amount: 20 minutes

Ideal Time of Day: Sunset or Night time

Ideal Location: Reception space

Tips: During the summer months, the sun sets much later than the reception start time. Therefore, sunset often occurs while the reception is taking place. I always keep an eye on the sunset and reception night-time lights to see if there is a great photographic opportunity!

These photos often involve flash, so I will setup the scenario first and then come and ask if you are interested in a few quick photos with the scenery. The choice is yours!

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