Sample “First Look” Wedding Timeline
Let me start by saying this: no two wedding days look the same! Let this timeline be a guide, but don't look at it and be stressed because it's not what you want or because you know it won't work for you. Work with your photographer to create a timeline that will be ideal for both you of. Keep these times in mind if you're a client of mine and want to begin working on your timeline, and don't hesitate to be in touch :)
The timeline below assumes that the ceremony and reception are at the same venue, that the drive from the getting ready location to the venue is 30 minutes, and that the ceremony is 30 minutes long. The time be individualized by adjusting times to accommodate the appropriate travel distances and event lengths. The receiving line is optional, but if you don’t plan to do one you'll want to make sure you avoid one spontaneously happening as this will throw off the anticipated timeline. In my experience, it's better to build in extra time and this timeline is built with that in mind. This timeline is also optimized for a spring or summer wedding to utilize natural light. Remember that it gets dark earlier in the fall and winter.
If you're overwhelmed, take a deep breath, get in touch with your photographer or view this post, and know that help is on the way!
Photographer arrives to photograph details (dress, shoes, jewelry, etc.) at the bride's getting ready location. At this point the bride's hair is usually finished and makeup or final touches have begun. Meanwhile, the second photographer arrives to photograph groomsmen at their getting ready location.
Bridesmaids are dressed and ready to go so that the bride can get into her dress and then put on her jewelry and shoes. Meanwhile, the second photographer and groomsmen leave for first look in order to arrive a little early.
Photographer, bride, and bridesmaids leave for first look. Second photographer and groomsmen are waiting at venue, preparing for the first look.
First look! This involves just the photographers and the couple and happens in a secluded but “photogenic” location.
Bridal party photos begin. This involves photos of the full bridal party, the groomsmen together, the bridesmaids together, and any other special requests involving the bridal party. Make sure flower girls and ring bearers are present at this time!
The photos of the bride and groom begin! The bridal party is welcome to relax at this point.
End photos of bride and groom and photographer photographs the reception decor before guests enter that space.
Ceremony ends and receiving line begins. Cocktail hour also begins!
Family photos begin. Keep the list as basic as possible especially if you want to enjoy cocktail hour, and save any huge group shots for the reception.
Everyone enjoys the end of cocktail hour or prepares for introductions into the reception!
Party time! I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on how a reception timeline should look. Your wedding planner, the coordinator at your venue, or your DJ or band (etc.) should be able to help you with this!