Crafting the Perfect Wedding Timeline:

romatic bride and groom portrait at secret gardens bodega bay

Your wedding day is a whirlwind of emotions, events, and memories waiting to be captured through photography and Videography. To ensure every significant moment is immortalized, a well-planned wedding timeline is crucial. The essence of creating the perfect timeline lies in allowing more time than you think you’ll need. This approach not only accommodates any unforeseen delays but also alleviates stress, ensuring you enjoy your special day to the fullest. Below, we delve into the pivotal photography moments of your wedding, providing insights into the ideal timing for each. At the end, we provide 3 sample wedding timelines so you have a clear picture of how everything will come together.

bride and groom smiling while holding hands and walking in the road at sunset at mountain house estate

Getting Ready (1.5 – 2 hours)

The commencement of your wedding timeline begins with the “getting ready” photos. This time is not just about capturing the physical preparations but also the emotional moments. If you plan to exchange gifts, write heartfelt letters, take robe photos, or even share a father-daughter first look, allocating ample time is key. Our team focuses initially on photographing the intricate details: flatlays, shoes, jewelry, and the dress, often relocating for the perfect light and background. This process typically takes 20-30 minutes. Following this, attention shifts to the groom and his party, capturing their preparations over the next 20-30 minutes. This ensures a cohesive narrative between both parties. Once we finish, we return to the brides room to capture any her putting on the wedding dress.

  • bride with mother helping her put on a necklace in san jose california
  • groom putting on suede jacket at leal vineyards
  • bride laughing with bridesmaids in robes at Ruby Hills Winery in Livermore, California
  • groom looking at boudior book during his getting ready in napa califonria
  • bride and bridesmaid first look during indian wedding at Viansa Sonoma
  • groom and groomsmen cheersing outside the grooms room at Mountain house estate in cloverdale califonria

First Look (30 minutes)

When planning your first look, consider setting aside 30 minutes for this intimate pre-ceremony exchange. This period is not just about the initial glimpse of each other in your wedding attire but also a precious opportunity to share private vows or read heartfelt letters, just between the two of you. It’s a moment to pause, reflect, and soak in the magnitude of the day ahead together, without the rush. This dedicated time ensures you can fully experience and savor the emotional depth and personal significance of your first look, creating memories that you’ll cherish for a lifetime.

  • Bride and groom's reaction during first look at Hakone Gardens in San Jose California
  • bride and groom reading letters during first touch
  • groom smiles as he sees his bride during a foggy first look at grizzly peak in berkeley california
  • Grooms reaction to seeing bride during first look at Mountain House Estate

Wedding Party Photos (45 minutes – 1 hour)

The duration for wedding party photos varies based on the size of your party. For larger groups, an hour is recommended to accommodate various poses and individual shots. Smaller parties may only need 45 minutes. These photos are essential for capturing the camaraderie and significance of your chosen companions on your special day.

  • wedding party in fall colors cheersing in front of an airstream bar at stemple creek ranch
  • bride and bridesmaids in fall colored dresses hugging at hakone gardens in san jose california
  • groom and groomsmen holding jean jackets at leal vineyards

Ceremony Details (30 minutes)

Before the ceremony, our team requires 30 minutes to capture the setup and detailed shots of the venue. This ensures that the setting of your vows is preserved down to the last detail.

  • indian wedding ceremony site in the redwood grove  at nestledown
  • wedding ceremony with flowers lining the isle at ruby hill winery in livermore

Family Photos (30 minutes)

Conducting family photos post-ceremony optimizes convenience, utilizing the natural gathering of your loved ones. Providing a list of desired groupings and appointing a coordinator aids in efficiency. This session typically spans 20-30 minutes, followed by a brief couple’s photo session to diversify your album without overwhelming your day with photography.

family photo at vineyard in napa

Reception Details (30 minutes)

Similar to the ceremony setup, capturing the reception details demands 30 minutes. This time is crucial for photographing the essence of your reception’s atmosphere and decor before the arrival of guests. We typically will take 15-20 minutes to photograph the room, and 10-15 minutes setting up lights, etc in preparation for the reception to start.

  • reception details at twilight during Wedding reception at wind and sea big sur
  • overhead view of wedding reception during indian wedding at napa winery
  • wedding reception at ruby hill winery in livermore california

Sunset Photos (30-45 minutes)

Allocating 30-45 minutes for sunset photos can offer some of the most visually stunning memories of your day. The soft, golden light provides an ideal backdrop for romantic shots. If your schedule includes both photography and videography, ensuring enough time for both is essential.

  • Bride and groom walking in the vineyards at Tre Posti in Napa, CA after rainstorm
  • romantic sunset portrait of bride and groom at purple orchid vineyards in livermore caliornia
  • romantic sunset portrait at albatross ridge winery in carmel valley california.
  • romantic sunset portrait with lens flare at leal vineyards in hollister, california.

Additional Considerations

Table Shots

Visiting guest tables offers two photography options: formal pictures or candid photojournalism. Formal shots require 3-5 minutes per table, so plan accordingly based on your guest count.

Night Portraits (10 minutes)

Toward the evening’s end, a brief escape for night portraits can add a unique, intimate layer to your wedding album. Adding this quick session to your wedding timeline can be extremly impactful, marking a serene conclusion to your day’s photography and videography.

  • romantic portrait of bride and groom holding an ubrella in the rain at Purple Orchid in Livermore california
  • night portrait during napa wedding
  • night portrait in the rain at mountain house estate
  • bride and groom holding hands under the stars during a san francisco wedding.

Crafting the perfect wedding timeline is a delicate balance of detailed planning and flexibility. Recognizing that every wedding day is unique, we strongly recommend meeting with your photographer to discuss your specific needs and preferences. This personalized discussion will help tailor the timeline to best reflect your day’s individual character and priorities. By carefully incorporating sufficient time for each key photography moment, you ensure a smooth progression throughout your day, leaving ample space to savor every moment fully. Below you’ll find 3 sample timelines including 8 Hours of Wedding Coverage with a first look and family photos After the Ceremony, 8 hours of wedding coverage with a first look and family photos BEFORE the ceremony (ideal for couples that want to join cocktail hour), and 9 hours of coverage with NO FIRST LOOK to help you get started.

If you’re getting married in North Carolina or Northern California (or anywhere really) and looking for photography or videography for your big day, Contact us to explore our sample timelines and to begin crafting the perfect narrative for your wedding day.