While your wedding is one of the best days of your and your partner’s life, it can be a bit stressful too. However, there are a few things that you can do to help make the day a bit easier for everyone. Having a pre-planned wedding timeline with a first look (or without one if you want to catch that first look in front of all of your friends and family) will help make the day less stressful and keep everyone on track. 

Everyone’s wedding day is going to be a bit different, but let’s take a look at a sample wedding timeline with a first look that can help you plan out your wedding day! 

General Tips

When it comes to planning your wedding timeline with a first look or without one, it can seem overwhelming and feel like there isn’t enough time in the day, but I promise you can fit everything into your perfect day! There are a few general tips that I have to help the day go a bit more smoothly and ensure it’s as stress-free as it can be (because, let’s be honest, whose wedding is completely stress-free).

First, if you are planning to have an afternoon/evening wedding, try to plan the ceremony one and a half to two hours before sunset, especially if you are having an outdoor wedding. This will do two major things. 

One, it will ensure that you have plenty of light during your ceremony. Two, it’ll also give you enough room to be able to capture the perfect sunset photos with you and your new spouse after the wedding ceremony. Chasing the sunset can be a bit stressful if you don’t have enough time carved out, so doing the ceremony two hours before sunset gives you that space. 

My other tip is to include plenty of time before the actual ceremony. Inevitably something will go sideways, and as much as you can try to plan for everything before your wedding day, unforeseen things always seem to come up. 

Give yourself plenty of time in the morning to gather everything together, and make sure that you don’t leave the house without something important like your flowers or your rings. You can also use this time to spend with your wedding party and have a nice group breakfast before you head to the venue to get dressed so you can have a bit of fun and relax before the chaos of your wedding day. 

Plus, when it comes down to it, wouldn’t you rather have extra time where you can sit around with your wedding party and laugh and joke instead of feeling like you are racing around and always behind schedule? This is one of the most important days of your life, and with a little bit of planning, you’ll be able to remember it as the amazing day it will be instead of a day full of stress. 

Sample Wedding Timeline with a First Look 

So, now that we’ve covered some of the more general tips let’s take a look at a sample wedding timeline with a first look. If you are not planning on doing a first look, you can adjust this slightly and have a bit more time to get ready before your ceremony. 

Below, you can see a timeline with two photographers and 8 hours of coverage for an evening wedding! 

2:00 – Details and Getting Ready Photos 

Once your photographers arrive for the day, the first thing they will most likely do is detail shots and getting ready photos. To prepare for this and make sure you get all of the amazing detailed photos, it’s a good idea to have all of the smaller items set aside for your photographer. 

This includes things like your rings (your engagement rings and wedding bands), shoes, other jewelry, invitations, programs, and any heirlooms or keepsakes you brought (like your something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue!). Basically, anything special you want to have photographed to remember forever. 

During this time, we can also get shots of final hair and makeup touch-ups as well as scout out some locations for you and your partner to do your first look.  

2:30 – You and Your Partner Get Dressed 

Now it’s time to finally put on those beautiful outfits and get ready to walk down the aisle. The most important thing here is to make sure anyone who is going to help you get dressed is already completely dressed and ready. 

Now, while they are going to have a bit of downtime while you are doing your first look, you don’t want to have these people wait to get dressed until after you. I mean, after all, you don’t want to look like you are dressed to the nines in your perfect outfit, and the person helping you get dressed is in shorts and a t-shirt. 

3:15 – First Look

It’s finally time for your first look. This moment is so special, and we like to plan a decent amount of time to take photos with just you and your partner so you can enjoy this moment with just the two of you. 

After the initial first look, we will take the rest of the time to take some portraits of just you and your partner before we bring in the rest of your wedding party. If you’re not looking for a wedding timeline with a first look, you can take this time slotted here as extra time to get ready or to take portraits of both of you individually!  

4:00 – Wedding Party Photos

Now we get to have some fun and bring in the rest of your wedding party. During this time, we will do a couple of different shots. 

First, we will have some time to take pictures with you, your partner, and both of your wedding parties. Next, we will make sure to get some shots of each wedding party individually. Both of these are always exciting, and we have a bit of time to have fun with all of your closest friends. Finally, we will do some individual shots of each wedding party member with you so you can have the perfect photo with each of these important people.  

4:45 – Final Formal Pictures and Pre-Ceremony Details

Once we have finished all of these formal photos, you and your wedding parties have a bit of time to relax and finish any last touch-ups you need to do before the ceremony. We will take this time to get some detailed shots of the ceremony venue, reception area, and candids of all of your guests arriving. 

I love this part because these are moments that you aren’t normally a part of, and it is always so fun to capture these parts of your wedding. Your guests are so excited to be a part of your wedding, and these final moments before your ceremony are a great time to capture that joy.  

5:30 – Ceremony

It’s finally time for you and your partner to walk down the aisle and say I do. Being able to document these precious moments of love between two beautiful people is why I love doing what I do. 

6:00 – Family and Group Photos 

Directly after the ceremony is the perfect time to take family and group photos. The most important thing when it comes to these photos is to make sure that EVERYONE who is supposed to be a part of these photos stays put after the ceremony. 

The last thing we want to do is have to track down Grandma or Uncle Joe because they wandered off after the ceremony. My advice here would be to have your officiant make an announcement after the wedding or tell everyone you want to be involved in these photos that they need to stay after before the ceremony starts to make this time go a bit smoother. 

6:30 – Sunset Newlywed Portraits 

Now that you have all the photos you want with your family, it’s time to take some newlywed portraits of you and your new spouse. If you planned out your timeline correctly, you’ll be able to catch the perfect pictures together of the beginning of your new life together right at sunset. 

I love these photos so much, and it’s a huge reason why I love having weddings in the late afternoon and evening. These portraits always turn out so beautiful and end up being some of the best pictures from the wedding. 

7:00 – You and Your Partner Eat Dinner Separately

This may be something that you haven’t seen many people do, but you can plan a bit of time for you and your partner to eat separately from the rest of your guests. Not only will this give you the chance to have a few intimate moments with your partner, but it also give you time to make sure that you actually get to eat. 

While your wedding day wouldn’t be the same without all of your friends and family celebrating together with you, they can also sometimes distract you and keep you occupied throughout the night, and you end up not eating. Whether you do a full dinner by yourselves or just have a few snacks to hold you over, this is a great time to take a few moments and enjoy your special day with just your partner. 

7:15 – Reception Introductions and Dinner

Once all of the post-ceremony photos are over, it’s time to party! We will capture all of your fun introductions of you and your wedding party to your reception. Then it’s time for your first dance as a married couple, along with any parent dances you choose to do with your family.

After all of those dances, it’s time for all of your guests to eat dinner. This is also when your photographers will most likely eat as well since everyone will be sitting down and mingling while they eat. 

8:15- Toasts and Speeches

After everyone has enjoyed their dinner comes everyone’s favorite part, the speeches. Whether this time is filled with heartfelt speeches that are going to have your guests reaching for tissues or one’s that are going to have people falling out of their chairs laughing, we will be sure to capture it all. 

8:30 – Cake Cutting

What’s a wedding without a cake cutting? Don’t worry; we will have gotten plenty of pictures of your beautiful cake before the ceremony, so now it’s time to dig in and have some fun. 

Once everyone is full from dinner and has a bit of sugar in them to energize them, everyone will hit the dance floor and let loose to celebrate you and your partner’s union. 

9:45 – Sparkler Exit 

As the night comes to an end, there’s one more piece that we will capture for you. Whether you have a sparkler exit, use glow sticks, or anything in between, we will document the final moments of this amazing day with all of your friends and family! 

10:00 – Photographers Depart 

While we hate to see this beautiful day end, it’s finally time for us to head home and let you start your new life together! 

There you have it. The perfect wedding timeline with a first look! While your day may not run perfectly on schedule (no matter how hard you try), this schedule will help give you a guideline and help make your dream wedding day one you will never forget. If you are still looking for the perfect photographer to fit into your wedding timeline, click here to get in touch!

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