Timeline Tips | Part Two: Photography Coverage

Organizing your timeline to have a stress-free day and make the most of your wedding photography coverage.

timeline tips part 2

This post is to answer some of the most common questions that come up when choosing photography packages and also when organizing a wedding day timeline.  

How many hours of coverage do we really need? What time should the photographer arrive?

In part one we talked about the importance of your contract terms and knowing the hours included with your venue rental.  If you missed Part One of our series on Timeline Tips you can catch it here.  We pair the venue and the photographer contract and coverage terms together to see what the best ceremony time and send off would be based on your packages.

As a planner we always start with the photographer, to make sure that we are on the same page about how much time should be allotted for each portion of the order of events (formal portraits, detail shots, family photos, etc.)

If you have not booked a photographer yet, but are trying to decide on how much coverage you need, you should go through some of these questions: 

  • Where do you plan to get ready (Hair and Make-up?)
    •  Would you like photos or mock photos while you get ready or just as you are ready to step into your gown?
  • Where will you put your dress on?
    • If it is not at the same location where you are getting hair and make-up, consider having photography start where your dress is and coverage begin with detail shots of your gown, veil, shoes, accessories and your invitation.
    • If it isn't at the same location where you will get married, what is the distance or travel time as this typically counts towards your photography coverage.
  • Where will the groom and groomsmen get ready? 
    • Would you like photos or mock photos while they get ready? It's great if there is a second shooter to start with the groom and groomsmen's formal portraits.  
  • How large is your wedding party, can you reasonably have hair and make-up done and have time for formal portraits prior to the ceremony?
  • Will you see each other before the ceremony (first look session)? 
  • Do you plan to have sunset photos? If so look at the estimated sunset time for your wedding date and be sure include that in your timeline.  
  • Do you plan to do a formal cake cutting, bouquet & garter toss? 

Consider this sample time below, this is almost a 15 hour day from start to finish so look at each item and prioritize what you would like coverage on.  We have highlighted a sample 8 hour block of coverage in bold for example.

Sample Timeline 1: Based on 4 pm ceremony and 10pm reception end.  

  • 8:00am—Hair and Makeup/Getting ready
  • 11:45am - Hair and Makeup Complete/Mock getting ready
    • 12:15pm - Photography Coverage Begins
      ride gets dressed, bride and bridesmaid formal portraits
  • 1:00pm-First look photos
  • 2:00pm—Wedding party and family photos start
  • 3:30pm—Doors open/Guests begin to arrive/Pre-ceremony music starts
  • 4:00pm—Invite time
  • 4:15pm—Ceremony starts
  • 4:35pm—Ceremony ends
  • 4:40pm—Cocktail hour starts
  • 5:45pm—Move guests into dinner
  • 6:00pm—Buffet opens/Dinner served
  • 6:20pm—All guests have food
  • 6:30pm—Toasts
  • 7:30pm—Cake Cutting, First dance
  • 7:45pm—General dancing music starts
    • 8:00pm - Bride & Groom sunset portraits
  • 8:15pm— Coverage Ends
  • 8:30pm—Open Dancing 
  • 9:45pm—Last call
  • 9:55pm—Music off
  • 10:00pm—Guests depart
  • 11:00pm—Breakdown done, all staff departs

If you have booked a 6 hour package, consider having photos start at the ceremony and then all formal portraits and family photos would follow the ceremony.  This typically would mean a slightly longer cocktail hour but if there are appetizers and activities it usually doesn't impact guests too much.  We do want you to be able to partake and mingle with your guests though!

Work with your photographer and your wedding planner to determine a timeline that flows smoothly and makes the most of your wedding day, it goes by so fast and we want to ensure you truly get to enjoy it! 

~ Happy Planning!~