Wedding Wednesday | Sample Wedding Timeline Options

3 Sample Wedding Timeline Options that you can customize!

Sample Wedding Timeline

I will be perfectly honest with you, this is not an easy blog to write. Each timeline is so carefully crafted every time I have a consultation with one of my amazing couples based on what their want and needs are for their wedding day.

However, at the end of the day, I also understand that sometimes it just gives you more peace of mind to have an idea about where you’re even going to go with your wedding day right? This is why I’m sharing a few Sample Wedding Timelines today.

Whew, I’ll get over myself here. I know that this is what’s best for you so hopefully, you can get a few questions answered like how long do you need before your ceremony for portraits if you’re having a First Look…what about without one? How long do Family Formals usually take? What if you want multiple stops for photography locations? How do you still make sure that you are able to spend time with your guests AND get romantic portraits of just the two of you?

Goodness, it’s a lot.

Now, although I’m giving you some guidance here in many options, you need to make sure that we’re still having an open conversation and that starts with getting a few answers from a different blog I wrote. THOSE are the basics to get us started in figuring out the best wedding timeline for YOU. Check out that blog post here to get started.

So let’s just dive in. Here are a few examples that you can plug in for yourself!

****Keep in mind that these do also depend on the season and when sunset is!****

Whew! Let’s get started! Here are the samples!

Ciccone Vineyard Winery Wedding
Ciccone Vineyard Winery Wedding

Sample Wedding Day Timeline (8 Hours)

One Location + First Look

1:15 – 2:00                    Stephanie Photographs Bride’s Details & Final Touches

2:00 – 2:45                    Stephanie  Photographs Bride Getting Into Dress

  Second Shooter Photographs Groom & Groomsmen Getting on Ties & Coats

2:45 – 3:00                    Walk to First Look 

3:00 – 3:15                    First Look 

3:15 – 3:45                    Bride & Groom Portraits & Individuals of Them

3:45 – 4:00                    Bride with Bridesmaids and Groom with Groomsmen

4:00 – 4:15                    Full Bridal Party 

4:15 – 4:30                    Travel to Family Portrait Area (if needed)

4:30 – 5:00                    Immediate Family Photos                     

5:00 – 5:30                    Bride & Groom Hide, Rest & Retouch 

              Stephanie & Second Shooter Photograph Ceremony Decor

5:30 – 6:00                    Wedding Ceremony 

6:00 – 6:30                    Newlywed Sunset Portraits 

6:30 – 7:00                    Bride & Groom Join Cocktail Hour 

          Stephanie & Second Shooter Photograph Guests & Reception Decor

          7:00                    Sunset 

7:00 – 7:15                    Guests Seated & Grand Entrances

7:15 – 9:15                    Stephanie & Second Shooter at Reception

Greencrest Manor Luxury Wedding

Sample Wedding Day Timeline (8 Hours)

One Location + No First Look

1:45 – 2:30                      Stephanie Photographs Bride’s Details & Final

2:30 – 3:15                      Stephanie Photographs Bride Getting Into Dress

Second Shooter Photographs Groom & Groomsmen Getting on Ties & Coats

Notes to keep in mind. When my couples choose not to do a first look, we do two things to adjust: first, we do as many photos as possible before the ceremony; second, I recommend a 90-minute cocktail hour so that we have 30 minutes for immediate family and full bridal party portraits, 30 minutes with the bride and groom, and 30 minutes for cocktail hour and reception details. 

3:15 – 3:30                      Bride Portraits

3:30 – 3:45                      Bride with Bridesmaids

3:45 – 4:00                      Bride with Her Family

We do these next so the bride has more time to rest and retouch before the wedding ceremony or any necessary travel time to the ceremony.

4:00 – 4:15                      Groom’s Individuals & with Groomsmen  

4:15 – 4:30                      Groom with His Family                 

4:30 – 5:00                      Bride & Groom Hide, Rest & Retouch 

              Stephanie & Second Shooter Photograph Ceremony Decor

5:00 – 5:30                      Wedding Ceremony 

5:30 – 5:45                      Immediate Family Portraits with Bride & Groom

5:45 – 6:00                      Full Bridal Party 

6:00 – 6:30                      Newlywed Sunset Portraits 

6:30 – 7:00                      Couple Joins Cocktail Hour 

               Stephanie & Second Shooter Photograph Guests & Reception Decor

          7:00                      Sunset 

7:00 – 7:15                      Guests Seated & Grand Entrances

7:15 – 9:45                      Stephanie & Second Shooter at Reception

Catholic Wedding Ceremony in Chicago

Sample Wedding Day Timeline (10 Hours)

Could Also Be great for a Winter Wedding Timeline

Catholic Mass • Three Locations + First Look + Early Sunset

Most Catholic ceremonies require three locations, because the couple gets ready at a hotel, home, or salon, has their ceremony at the church, and hosts the reception back at the same hotel or a different venue altogether. The ceremonies typically begin in the early afternoon to accommodate a second wedding or Saturday night Mass. I recommend TEN hours of coverage to accommodate multiple drives and a one-hour ceremony.

Getting Ready Location

9:15 – 10:00                    Stephanie Photographs Bride’s Details & Final

10:00 – 11:15                  Stephanie Photographs Bride Getting Into Dress

  Second Shooter Photographs Groom & Groomsmen Getting on Ties & Coats

11:15 – 11:30                  Walk to First Look 

11:30 – 11:45                  First Look 

11:45 – 12:15                  Bride & Groom Portraits and Individuals of Them

12:15 – 12:30                  Bride with Bridesmaids

12:30 – 12:45                  Full Bridal Party 

12:45 – 1:00                    Groom with Groomsmen 

1:001:30                     Drive to Ceremony Location       

If the couple does a first look, we keep the everything before the ceremony the same as a One Location + First Look except we move immediate family photos to after the ceremony so the family doesn’t have to drive to three locations. We do a 90-minute cocktail hour instead of 60 minutes to have enough time for that.

Ceremony Location

1:30 – 2:00                      Bride & Groom Hide, Rest & Retouch 

                   Stephanie & Second Shooter Photograph Ceremony Decor

2:00 – 3:00                      Wedding Ceremony 

3:003:30                     Drive to Reception Location       

Reception Location

3:30 – 4:00                      Immediate Family Photos

4:00 – 4:30                      Romantic Couple Sunset Portraits  

4:30 – 5:00                      Bride & Groom Join Cocktail Hour 

                Stephanie & Second Shooter Photograph Guests & Reception Décor

5:00                              Sunset 

5:00 – 5:15                      Guests Seated & Grand Entrances

5:15 – 7:45                      Stephanie & Second Shooter at Reception

bride and groom portrait

BONUS: Sample Wedding Day (8 Hours)

One Location + First Look + Ceremony/Reception Flip

It’s becoming more common to have the ceremony and reception in the exact same place on the exact same space, so here’s what to do when you have a ceremony/reception flip. As in, you are flipping the space from the ceremony to the reception which means everyone needs to move out while this happens.

Everything is the same as a typical timeline, the main differences are these:

  1. You have a longer cocktail hour, so you send the couple straight to cocktail hour so you can do cocktail hour photos while the sun is dropping.
  2. You have to give the wedding planner time to flip the ceremony space, so you can’t shoot those details anyways.
  3. You want a little bit of time before sunset to get guests seated so you can do the bride and groom’s first dance at sunset with natural light — because it looks dreamy!

12:45 – 1:30                  Stephanie Photographs Bride’s Details & Final Touches

1:30 – 2:15                    Stephanie Photographs Bride Getting Into Dress

  Second Shooter Photographs Groom & Groomsmen Getting on Ties & Coats

2:15 – 2:30                    Walk to First Look 

2:30 – 2:45                    First Look 

2:45 – 3:15                    Bride & Groom Portraits

                                    Bride & Groom Individuals

3:15 – 3:30                    Bride with Bridesmaids

3:30 – 3:45                    Full Bridal Party 

3:45 – 4:00                    Groom with Groomsmen           

4:00 – 4:30                    Immediate Family Photos (Parents, Grandparents, Etc.)

4:30 – 5:00                    Bride & Groom Hide, Rest & Retouch 

                 Stephanie & Second Shooter Photograph Ceremony Decor

5:00 – 5:30                    Wedding Ceremony 

5:30 – 6:00                    Bride & Groom Join Cocktail Hour 

              Stephanie & Second Shooter Photograph Guests

6:00 – 6:30                    Romantic Couple Sunset Portraits 

               Cocktail Hour Continues + Outdoor Dinner Details Set

6:30 – 7:00                    Stephanie & Second Shooter Photograph Dinner Details

7:00 – 7:15                    Guests Seated

7:15 – 7:30                    First Dance

          7:30                    Sunset 

7:30 – 8:45                    Stephanie & Second Shooter at Reception

photo of Stephanie

Did I miss anything that might help you? I could honestly talk about wedding timelines all day so if you have any other questions, let me know!

Otherwise, stay tuned for next week when I share my Sample Family Formal List!

If not, Cheers & Happy Wedding Planning!

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stephanie parshall photography

Grand rapids, michigan