I have put together a sample timeline so you can see the normal flow of a wedding day. The wedding day timeline isn’t the most exciting part of the wedding planning process, but it is vital to allow enough time for photos.

I ask for your wedding day timeline to be returned to me one month before your wedding so I can review and make sure we have the time we need to achieve the photos you’d like. Being organised I find the timeline essential as it contains all of the important details of the day and when they should be happening. Couples that follow and stick to a timeline find that their day runs a lot smoother and they get time to fit in everything they want.

Essex and Suffolk wedding photographer

When starting your wedding timeline it is easier to put the fixed times in first, for example what time you are getting married. Once all of the important fixed times are in place you can easily work out how you would like to fit everything else in. You’ll be amazed by the peace of mind you’ll get from creating a timeline as you know exactly what should be happening and when.

Sample wedding timeline, the details

Every bride loves having their wedding details photographed because a lot of time goes into choosing the items and often they can have sentimental meaning too. I see the details as an important part of your wedding story, so I like to spend my first 30-45 minutes photographing the dress, shoes, jewellery, perfume and other special accessories.

Sample wedding timeline, getting ready

After all of the wedding details are photographed I spend time photographing what I see happening in front of me. Usually during this time would be when the bride is having her make-up and hair done. When it is time for the bride to be getting into her dress I usually ask whoever is helping her to be dressed themselves, as this ensures everyone looks great in the photos.

Sample wedding timeline, bridal party photos

If time allows I love to get photos of your bridal party before the ceremony. I also like to allow sometime later on in the day for this too, just in case we have some unexpected things that hold us up.

Sample wedding timeline, groomsmen photos

If the groomsmen are getting ready nearby to bridal prep it’s great to photograph them finishing getting ready. i.e. putting on ties, buttonholes and cufflinks.

This is also a great opportunity to get photographs of the groom individually as well as having some laid-back photos with his guys. Whether that be them chilling or enjoying a beer together before the ceremony.

Sample wedding timeline, the ceremony

The official part! Usually, the ceremony lasts between 30 – 45 minutes. It’s always super handy to have both a start and finish time on the timeline. The important thing to remember is just to enjoy every moment. You’ll be amazed how quickly this will fly by!

Sample wedding timeline, the couple photos

This part of the day is my favourite, not only do you both get some time together to reflect on the day, but also because I get to capture you both looking incredible and if you’ve had an engagement session before you’ll both be pros!

I love to capture the true, real moments, so just relax and be you. Couple photos usually take about 20 minutes, which allows us to get some gorgeous photos around the grounds.

Sample wedding timeline, the group photos

Roughly allow 30 – 40 minutes for group photos, based on you having 10 groups.

Wedding advice, sample wedding timeline, wedding breakfast

Usually, the wedding breakfast is about 60-90 minutes, but it is always best to double check with your caterers.

During this time I will also have something to eat and take the opportunity to back up photos taken throughout the day. If speeches are after dinner, I will be listening carefully for the popping of champagne.

Sample wedding timeline, how long to allow for speeches?

Speeches can happen before or after the wedding breakfast and can last anywhere between 30-60 minutes, depending on the number of speakers and how long the speeches are.

Sample wedding timeline, how long to allow for sunset couple photos

There is a time of day when the light just looks so magical and this is at sunset, which is also referred to as golden hour.

I adore taking couples out for 10 minutes as their portraits look so dreamy in the warm setting sun. I don’t like to take you away for any longer than this as I understand that you may have evening guests to welcome and of course a party to get started!

Sample wedding timeline, cake cut

From experience, it is great to cut the cake before the first dance as you can lead straight into the dance afterwards.

Sample wedding timeline, party time

I usually stay for about 20 minutes after the first dance to capture dance floor photos. After this, I leave you both to enjoy the party and continue making lifelong memories.

Below I have created a quick sample timeline, based on full day coverage with a second photographer. This should hopefully give a clearer idea of the timings I usually ask for 1 month before your wedding. Obviously, every wedding is totally different so just use this as a guide.

10.30 – I photograph bridal prep (2- 3 hours before the ceremony)
12.00Second photographer photographs groom prep (1 hour before the ceremony)
13.30 – Ceremony (usually 20-30 minutes, for religious ceremonies allow up to 60 minutes)
14.15 – Couple photos (roughly 20 minutes)
14.35Group photos (roughly 30-40 minutes based on 10 groups)
15.45 – Wedding breakfast
17.15 – Speeches
18.30 Sunset couple photos (dependant on sunset time, allow 15 minutes)
19.00 – Evening guests arrive
19.30 – Cake cut
19.35 – First dance & dancing
20.00Sparklers (dependant on sunset time)

You’ll be amazed by the piece of mind you’ll get from doing a timeline as you know exactly what should be happening and when.


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