• Caitlin Anderson

How To Create A Photo-centric Wedding Day Timeline

Are you stressed about fitting in time for photos on your wedding day? Do you want beautiful photos, but don't want to leave your guests for hours on end?

Contrary to what you might think, having romantic, emotion filled photos on your wedding day doesn't mean having to give up celebrating with your friends and family! Planned correctly you can totally have both, without feeling rushed or stressed on the best day of your life.

When you work with good vendors, they all will work hand-in-hand with you to plan the day of your dreams, and that is often done with something called a Wedding Timeline. This Wedding Timeline is the game plan for the days surrounding your wedding and lets everyone know when and where they are supposed to be.

Your wedding planner and your photographer and/or videographer will often be the people most involved creating this, but expect your DJ and your venue to have a decent say in it as well. Everyone else should be able to work around your timeline.

To get extra special photos on your wedding day, there are a few things to know to help keep things running smoothly. Here are my top tips for creating a stress-free but photo-centric schedule.

1. Get your hair & makeup done first.

This tip is more for you than it is for the photographer, but if you have lots of different locations or if you want to do photos before the ceremony, trust me, it's absolutely imperative that you have your hair & makeup done first. It is so much better to be waiting around but fully ready, then to be stressed because you're running behind. And hair & makeup almost always runs over!

Plan on your hair & makeup taking two hours, with your photographer getting there about 30-60 minutes before you finish.

2. Schedule some time to connect.

While your bridesmaids are all finishing up their own hair & makeup is a great time to do something sweet for just you and your groom. Many choose to do a First Look, but you can also swap letters or gifts, or we can work with you so you can talk but not see each other. We HIGHLY suggest doing something; it's the perfect way for you two to reconnect and refocus on what the day is really about - you and the love of your life.

If doing a full first look, you'll need at least an hour. For gifts or letters, plan on 30 minutes.

3. People over objects, every time.

One day you're going to look back on the photos of you interacting with your friends and family and you're going to reminisce over the good times you had on your wedding day. Don't be afraid to just have fun - those make for good photos too!

4. Two words - GOLDEN HOUR

The holy grail of the photography world is the hour before sunset, lovingly referred to as "Golden Hour" for its warm and vibrant light. If you want romantic, dreamy photos of the two of you, this is something you definitely don't want to skip! You won't need the whole hour for photos, in fact 15 minutes will often be enough. It is relatively easy to slip away from your guests for a few minutes; perhaps you can work this in before your Grand Entrance or slip outside between dance numbers.

Schedule this for 30 minutes before sunset, but don't forget to include travel time.

5. Grand Exit

Before your guests start to leave, plan on doing a Grand Exit with everyone there, even if you intend to go back inside and keep partying. Here are some ideas for a fun exit:


Here is a sample timeline using the tips above:

12:00 Getting Ready & Details

12:45 All Hair and Makeup Finished (HARD STOP)

1:00 Dress On; Final Touches

1:30 First Look; Bride and Groom Portraits

2:30 Wedding Party

3:00 Family Portraits

3:30 Break / Details, Details!

4:00 Ceremony Begins

4:30 Ceremony Ends

4:40 The Couple (Golden Hour)

5:10 Couple Joins the Cocktail Hour

5:30 Grand Entrance to Reception

7:00 "Grand Exit"

7:15 Partying

I hope this is helpful for you in planning your big day! To insure you get great photos of all your beautiful moments, reach out to us and book your wedding today.

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St. Louis, MO   |  caitlinaphotographystl@gmail.com  |  (636) 290 - 9465


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