Wedding photography timeline – what, when & where?

When discussing the wedding photography arrangements with my brides leading up to the wedding day one of the things we go over is the wedding photography timeline.  Ie a rough timeline of how the wedding day is likely to unfold and how long the various parts of the day will probably take.

This not only helps us to figure out what photos and photo locations are possible but also helps the bride and groom get a better understanding of what their wedding day will be like.

Now I am totally flexible and am always happy to shoot longer/less or otherwise adapt the wedding photography to what my bride and groom want.  It is, after all, their day.

However, for most couples there are certain photos they will almost always want, (even if they haven’t thought of – and planned for – them).  There are also many beautiful moments that will happen naturally on the wedding day – whether you are photographing them or not.  If you don’t take these factors into consideration when figuring out the timing of your wedding day you may end up being in a rush all day and run late for the reception.

So I thought I would give you an example of a typical wedding photography timeline.  Hopefully this will help you understand how the photography is likely to work on your wedding day, what photos you are likely to want and how long everything is likely to take.

The following wedding photography timeline is real, it is from Liz & Scott’s wedding at Lake Hayes on the 9th of October this year.  Liz & Scott were really keen to do some heli location shots but it was out of their budget.  However we managed to squeeze in a drive halfway up the Coronet Peak Ski Area access road to a look-out with beautiful views over the Wakatipu Basin.  For your wedding photographer to figure out if it’s possible to fit in location shots like this it’s essential to have a pretty good grasp on how long everything takes on the day.

Obviously timing and wedding photography requirements are going to vary from couple to couple and photographer to photographer.  But hopefully this will give you a clearer picture of how your wedding photography is likely to unfold on the day.

Make-up and hair starts:            10

Start getting into dresses:           11

Bride’s departs for ceremony:      1145 am in limo

Ceremony starts at                       12

Ceremony finishes at:                   1230

B&G congratulated by guests:      1230 – 1245

Group photos:                               1245 – 1315

Bridal party photos:                       1315 – 1345

(Lake Hayes)

Travel to Coronet Peak:                  1345 – 1410

Photos @ Coronet Peak:               1410 – 1530

Travel Coronet – Arrowtown Hall:   1530 – 1600     

Arrive Arrowtown Hall:                    1600

Cutting cake at                               1830

Speeches start at:                           ?

DJ starts at:                                     1845

Tossing bouquet at:                          1900

First dance at:                                   1915

Dance-floor mayhem starts:              1930

So there you have it – I hope this info is of some help!  If your wedding photographer is experienced and helpful they should be able to provide you with a wealth of advice to help you get the most out of your wedding day and make the whole planning process a little less painful.  Don’t be afraid to ask for advice – and if they aren’t helpful, consider booking somebody who is!

Wedding location photos queenstown new zealand

Liz and Scott's "Budget Heli" (aka Hilux) location wedding photos

Author Details

Patrick Fallon

I am a wedding photographer based in beautiful Queenstown, New Zealand. I have been full-time with the photography thing since 2006 and still can’t believe I get to do what I love for a job! Here are a few words that I think sum me up: I AM…tall and bald, happy, imaginative, constantly hungry, active and friendly. I LOVE…my girl, coffee, photography, fooooooood, my family and friends, riding bikes, being outside, the simple things in life, people… I love my life! I believe that wedding photography can and should be SIMPLE, NATURAL, BEAUTIFUL.

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