January 8, 2011

Sample Wedding Timeline and Itinerary FAQs

One of the biggest questions we receive from potential brides is, “How many hours do I need to book you guys for?”  Understanding the flow of your wedding day and how photography plays into that will be important to the ultimate success of your wedding!  We typically play a part in designing the timeline for our clients based on creating a wedding day that is relaxed with the most free time to spend with your guests and family – basically, a timeline that doesn’t make you two feel like your being whisked off from one area to the next or that the entire day is a photo shoot.  It’s our job to be a resource and help clarify the ins and outs so let’s get to it!!

Here’s a few FAQs and sample itineraries to help create a foundation for your wedding day.  A fabulous event coordinator, like Events by Mint or Champagne Wedding and Event Coordination are also fantastic resources for planning and have the experience and know how to guide you through any flow issues.

Q: What is the typical coverage for an average wedding?
A: 75% of our couples typically book us for between 8-10 hours of wedding day photography coverage.  We find that within that time period, we have the time to comfortably capture the full story from getting ready, details, portraits, ceremony, reception to cake cutting and some dancing!  We do have some couples that opt for additional coverage if their wedding ceremony is earlier in the day or they LOVE dancing shots and want a bunch of candids or are looking to do a grand exit later that night.

Q: What is a ‘First Look’ and what are the advantages?
A: A ‘First Look’ or not a first look is one of the most important decisions in creating the flow of your wedding day.  A ‘First Look’ is when you and your spouse-to-be have a special, private moment before the ceremony to see each other, revel in the moment and share some intimacy without the crowds.  We tell our brides it takes a little bit of the edge off!  Believe me though, your legs are still shaking when you walk down the aisle 🙂  The advantage of the ‘First Look’ is that it’s a beautiful time to capture emotion from a far (as photographers) and allows everyone including family and the bride/groom, right after the ceremony, to return to the party.  Everyone goes to the cocktail hour!   All photography, including the B/G artistic portraits and family and bridal party group portraits, are taken ahead of the ceremony.

Q: How long does it take to do family photos, bridal party and bride/groom creative portraits?
A: On average, it takes between 45-60min for family photos and bridal party shots and 1 hour for bride/groom creative portraits.  The group portrait time range can change a lot based on the total amount of different group portraits you choose and the size of your bridal party.  Smaller formals groups can set aside 30-45 minutes for family and bridal party portraits.  Don’t worry, we work through all of that with you in your pre-consultation about three weeks prior to your wedding.  If there is any potential for hiccups in flow, we’ll alert you at that point.

Sample Itinerary

Here’s a starting point to help guide the flow of your day with a 5pm ceremony time. One is an example of a ‘First Look’ and the other the ‘Traditional.’

First Look

1p: Photography Begins (Getting ready photos and details)
2:30p: Bride & Groom 100% ready to go for first look
2:45p: First Look
3-4p: B/G Artistic portraits
4-4:45p: Bridal and family group portraits
5p: Ceremony
5:30-6:30p: Cocktail Hour
6:30p: Reception Entrance
6:30-7:30p: Dinner
7:15p: Toasts
7:30p: Cake cutting, formal dances (bride/father, groom/mother), DANCING PHOTOS!!
8:20-9p: Sunset photos (of course this depends on when sunset is – basically, we want to head out for these about 30min before sunset)
9p: Photography Ends


3p: Getting Ready/Detail Shots
5p: Ceremony
5:30-6:30p: B/G Artistic portraits
6:30-7:15p: Bridal and family group portraits
7:15p: Reception Entrance
7:15p: Dinner
8:30-11 pm – Toasts, Cake, First Dance, Flower/Garter Toss

*These itineraries samples to help get you started; samples based off of 7-8 hour coverage. Contact us with any questions or post questions below in comments!



Great job with these posts. They are really informative.