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THE WEDDING DAY TIMELINE

A BRIDE'S GUIDE TO AN AMAZING WEDDING:

THE WEDDING DAY TIMELINE




Top Wedding Photographer Westchester NY

While this guide is a great starting point to plan the wedding day, please keep in mind that the many scheduled events happening during the day including the getting ready, a first look, couples portraits, bridal party photos, family formals and many reception traditions such as the wedding party introductions, the first dance, parent dances, cake cutting, bouquet touching garter toss, and many other cultural or religious traditions might alter the sequence and timing of all events.


My wedding day timeline recommendations are based on the experience I gathered photographing more than 150 weddings throughout out the years. This experience and the exposure to many types of weddings has given me a deep understanding and knowledge of how the wedding day should go - especially when it comes to photography.


I’d love to help you simplify the timeline building process to ensure your day moves along smoothly, while giving you the time to enjoy the day. Here are a few different scenarios and timelines that can give you a better idea of what a wedding day timeline looks like and help you jump-start your wedding day planning.


WEDDING DAY CHALLENGES




One of the key fundamentals for a stress-free wedding is communication and to set aside enough time to account for any challenges that may arise during the day. One of the worst things that can happen is to have a tight schedule where a delay on one area can have a great effect on the next. These are the most common delays:


  • Hair and makeup take longer than expected
  • One of the bridesmaids is running late for hair and makeup
  • Bridesmaid's dressed or Groomsmen suite need to be steamed
  • The flowers don't arrive on time
  • Bridal party needs to change rooms and everything is all over the place
  • Lacing laces on the bride's dress takes longer than expected
  • The groom and groomsmen went to play golf and are stuck in traffic
  • VIPS are stuck in traffic and are running late for photographs


Just be aware that a wedding has a lot of moving parts and no matter how well you plan, delays are bound to happen. To avoid a major delay, just give yourself a time cushion so if there are delays on one event, the effect is not great.


PLAN FOR THE DAY




The time you invest planning and designing the timeline can reward you with a seamless wedding

experience. The times listed for each segment below represent the typical amount of time needed to document your wedding day.


  • Getting Ready - Bride and Bridesmaids (1 hour)
  • Getting Ready - Groom and Groomsmen (30 minutes)
  • First Look (15 minutes)
  • Family Formals (30 minutes)
  • Wedding Party Portraits (20 minutes)
  • Bride & Groom Portraits (1 hour)
  • Ceremony (30 minutes to 1 hour)
  • Reception (2 to 4 hours)


WEDDING DAY TIMELINE SAMPLE

Ceremony at 3pm, cocktail hour at 6pm and no first look




1:00pm - 2:30pm - Getting ready coverage begins

2:30pm - 3:00pm - Travel to ceremony or bride’s makeup retouch if at the same venue

3:00pm - 4:00pm - Wedding ceremony

4:00pm - 4:30pm - Receiving line and church exit

4:30pm - 5:00pm - Family formals and bridal party pictures

5:00pm - 6:00pm - Bride and groom portraits

6:00pm - 7:00pm - Cocktail hour - Photographer shoots cocktail hour and reception room details

7:00pm - 11:00pm - Reception - Photographer shoots all formalities and dancing



WEDDING DAY TIMELINE SAMPLE

Ceremony at 5pm, cocktail hour at 6pm and first look




12:00pm - 1:30pm - Getting ready coverage begins

1:30pm - 1:45pm - Travel to first look location

1:45pm - 2:00pm - First look

2:00pm - 2:30pm - Family formals and bridal party pictures

2:30pm - 3:30pm - Bride & groom portraits

4:30pm - 5:00pm - Travel to ceremony location or bride and groom break to retouch makeup

5:00pm - 6:00pm - Ceremony

6:00pm - 7:00pm - Cocktail hour - Photographer shoots cocktail hour and reception room details

7:00pm - 11:00pm - Reception - Photographer shoots all formalities and dancing


OTHER THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND




While the sample timelines above give you an overview of an average wedding, there might be other things to consider that are more specific to your wedding. For example, if you have a Jewish wedding, additional time will be needed for the Ketubah signing, Tisch or Bedeken before the ceremony and additional time for the hora and other traditions, like the hora, during reception.

In addition to planning the wedding timeline, you should also consider other factors that might can help you have a better experience. For example, you can hire a wedding day coordinator to make sure everything goes according to plan or hire a second photographer if your event is large or the events are happening in different locations (e.g. groom getting ready at a different location).