timeline planning

planning + resources

Focusing on what matters most.

Not sure how much time you might need for your wedding photography coverage? Already booked and want to start creating the foundation for your wedding day timeline? You are in luck. I’ve listed out things I’ve learned that make every wedding day timeline successful, and some helpful tips to ensure that you can truly relax and enjoy your the start of your new adventure.

Getting Ready


I like to schedule 1.5 hours for getting ready photos. This could look like:

  • 30 minutes for details (dress, florals, shoes, rings, veil, stationery, fragrance bottle, tie, cuff links, pocket square, vow books, etc)
  • 30 minutes for finishing hair + makeup touches
  • 30 minutes to get into your outfit and do any first looks with your wedding party or family members.

It is super helpful if both partners are getting ready in the same location. If not, no worries! My second photographer will either start off with the off-site group and then head over to your venue.

Tip: Have all of your detail items, including your partner’s, in one place. A shoebox or bag is perfect, and makes receiving the items you want photographed seamless.

Another Tip: Remove all of the extras so that I can photograph your outfit.

  • For dresses this includes: removing tissues paper, cardboard, and pins from your gown, and any ribbons that your alternations specialist may have tied on your bustle.
  • For suits: please remove any tags and keep all items such as a vest, tie, pocket square, et al. together. Fancy socks? Make sure you include those, too.

Do you highly value detail photos, or have a lot of items that you would like photographed? Please consider adding on additional time for all of your detail photos.

Couples, Wedding Party + Family Photos


I like to schedule 1.5-2.5 hours for pre-ceremony photos.

  • 30-45 minutes for your first look and couples photos
  • 30-45 minutes for any wedding party photos
  • 30-45 minutes for family
  • 30-45 minutes to rest and reset.
    I am a strong believer in adding this to your timeline, as it allows everyone to hide from guests, get some water, and do any makeup or hair touch ups as needed.

Not planning on a first look? No worries! I typically get all of the photos of each side prior to the ceremony, and then a few full wedding party photos right after you’re married.

Ceremony + Reception


Plan on additional time to travel to your ceremony site if we your wedding is taking place at two different locations. I like to add 10-15 minutes to what Google might recommend, and potentially extra time if you’re looking at a Friday evening wedding during rush hour in the Cities. Decide if you are doing a receiving line after your ceremony and remember to add in time for this. Check with your officiant/pastor/priest to see how long they estimate your ceremony to be.

Reception: Remember to plan time for a room flip if you are having your ceremony and reception in the same space. Your venue contact, florist, or wedding coordinator will know how much time to plan for this change to happen.

Golden Hour + Sunset Photos


I try to schedule golden hour photos approximately 30 minutes prior to sunset. This will give us time to get to the photo spot, get the images, and then get you back to your reception. Having your wedding in the city? I recommend scheduling this time about an hour prior to sunset.

If you are concerned about missing your reception and leaving your guests – I understand! I highly recommend golden hour photos for a few reasons. The most impactful is that planning this time to step away gives you and your new spouse time together, just the two of you (and me. And your videographer, if you’re having one.). I often hear clients say that they really appreciate having a moment to pause from the celebration and just breathe and be with their person. It can be easy to feel separated from your spouse on your wedding and my goal is to ensure that there are pockets of time just for the two of you built into your day.


Timeline Example

Six Hour Wedding
1:30-2:15 – First look and couples photos
2:15-2:45 – Sebastian family photos
2:45-3:15 – Anitra family photos
3:15-3:30 – Travel to ceremony site
3:30-4:00 – Rest + reset
4:00-4:30 – Ceremony
4:45-5:15 – Travel to reception site
5:30 – Invite guests to be seated
5:40 – Welcome + prayer
6:00 – Dinner
7:00 – First dance // parent dances
7:15 – Open dance floor!
7:30 – Photography ends

Timeline Example

Eight Hour Wedding
12:30 – Set up / Detail Photos
1:00 – First Look
1:30 – Couples Photos
2:00 – Family / Friend Photos
2:30 – Rest + Reset
3:30 – Ceremony
4:15 – Cocktail Hour / Group Photos
5:30 – Seated for Dinner
5:45 – Dinner
6:30 – Speeches
7:00 – Dessert / Cake Cutting
7:30 – First Dance
8:00 – Open Dance Floor
8:30 – Photography ends

Timeline Example

Eight Hour Wedding
1:30 – Arrive / Set up / Scope Locations
1:45 – First Look
2:15 – Couples Photos
2:45 – Family Photos
3:30 – Rest + Reset
4:00 – Ceremony
4:30 – Cocktail Hour
5:45 – Guests Invited to Dinner
6:00 – Grand Entrance with Couple
6:05 – Welcome + Dinner
6:45 – Speeches
7:00 – Dessert
7:15 – Sunset Photos
7:30 – First Dance
7:40 – Dance Floor Opens
8:30 – Photography ends

Timeline Example

Eight Hour Wedding
1:30 – Getting ready with Groom
1:30 – Details with Bride
2:00 – Final touches with Bride
2:20 – Bride in Dress
2:45 – Travel to Como
3:00 – First look at Como
3:45 – Wedding party photos
4:15 – Family Photos
4:45 – Rest + reset
5:30 – Ceremony
6:00 – Cocktail hour
7:15 – Guests Seated
7:25 – Welcome
7:30 – Dinner
8:00 – Speeches
8:30 – First Dance, Dessert
9:30 – Photographers Leave

Timeline Example

Nine Hour Wedding
12:00 – Photographers arrive
12:15 – Details
12:45 – Candid getting ready
1:00 – Groom final touches
1:15 – Bride final touches
1:45 – First look
2:00 – Couples photos
2:30 – Wedding party photos
3:00 – Family photos
3:30 – Rest + reset
4:30 – Ceremony
5:00 – Cocktail hour
5:30 – Couple to cocktail hour
6:30 – Guests to table
6:35 – Grand entrance
7:00 – Dinner
7:30 – Speeches
7:45 – Cake cutting
8:00 – Dress change + Sunset photos
8:30 – First dances
9:00 – Finished

Timeline Example

Nine Hour Wedding
12:00 – Photographers arrive
12:30 – Amanda puts dress on
12:45 – Amanda photo with girls
1:00 – Travel to Nicollet Island Bridge
1:30 – First look
2:00 – Couples photos
3:00 – Travel back to The Neu Neu
3:30 – Immediate family photos
4:00 – Rest + reset
4:30 – Ceremony
5:00 – Cocktail hour
5:05- Extended family photos
6:00 – Sunset photos
6:15 – Guest seated for dinner
6:30 – Grand entrance
6:35 – Welcome/Thank You speech
6:45 – Dinner begins
7:30 – Parent speeches
7:45 – Dessert
8:00 – First dance
9:00 – Photography ends

Timeline Example

Ten Hour Wedding
11:30 – Groom getting ready
12:00 – Detail photos
12:30 – Ceremony rehearsal
1:00 – Final touches (Bride)
1:30 – First look + private vows
2:00 – Couples photos
2:30 – Wedding party photos (in hotel)
3:00 – Family photos
3:30 – Private vows (if they didn’t do them earlier)
4:00 – Cocktail hour / Reception photos
4:50 – Transition to ceremony site
5:00 – Bride to get into wedding dress
5:15 – Ceremony begins
5:45 – Ceremony ends
6:00 – Grand entrance
6:10 – Welcome and Prayer
6:15 – Dinner served
7:30 – Speeches
8:15 – First dances
8:45 – Dance floor opens // tattoos
9:30 – Photography ends