Managing Time for Photos on your Wedding Day

How much time should you allot to photos on your wedding day?  Here are some helpful tips to help manage your photo schedule.

Morning Prep

These are some of the most memorable photos of your day! There is tons of emotion, laughter and even tears to be shared during this time.  You may want to read a love letter from your fiancé, have mom help you into your dress or dad help you with your tie.  Even just welcoming those who arrive that morning are some of the little things you’ll want to remember.

Typically, couples will get ready at separate locations with their bridal parties.  For this reason it’s nice to have two photographers; one at each location, to get those candid shots.  Your wedding day goes by so fast, you'll want these moments to look back on.

First Look

'First look' moments are becoming very popular as weddings begin to take on less traditional schedules.  This is a fantastic way to create a romantic moment between just the two of you if you decide to see each other before the ceremony.  Yes, there will be tears, bring a tissue.

If you and your fiancé choose to do a 'first look' moment before the ceremony you should set aside at least 15 minutes for this.  You'll want to soak in that moment and perhaps a makeup touch up before continuing on with the day’s events.  Again, it’s nice to have two photographers documenting both of your reactions when you see each other for the first time.

Bridal Session

You will want to plan at least one hour per location for your Bridal party photos.  This allows for multiple combinations of people, poses and different set ups within the area.  If you choose to do more than one location for bridal party photos, travel time should not be included in that hour.

You should also set aside at least an hour for photos of just the two of you, after all, it’s your big day!  If your schedule allows for it, try to plan this time close to sunset or at least later in the day to take advantage of ideal lighting conditions.  Your photographer has been looking forward to this part of the day for months, give them time to work their magic.


Chances are your entire schedule will be based around your ceremony.  Make sure you pick a time that allows you to get everything else you want too.

Ceremony Quick Tips:
1. Consider an 'unplugged ceremony' asking your guests to refrain from using their phones and tablets.  Nobody can get a shot of you walking down the aisle better than your photographer and you don't want a guest to accidentally get in the way of that or any other important ceremony shots. 
2. Ask your photographer:  Are they using flash?  Will they be standing up front with you?  You may want to know these things before hand.
3. Hold That First Kiss! Even the best photographers can miss this moment if you're too quick.  Try to hold that first kiss for three seconds.  This will allow your photographer to capture a few different photos of this very special moment.

Family Photos

Weddings are a great way to squeeze in some updated family photos while everyone is together.  If you decide to do it, schedule about half an hour right after your ceremony to gather everyone for some quick shots.  Your photographer will often suggest a location nearby to do this.  

Family Photos Quick Tip:
1. Pick someone to be a family wrangler, you won't want to be chasing after your cousins for family photos right after you just tied the knot.
2.  If you plan for family photos right after the ceremony remember to add on extra time so that guests can hug and congratulate you two before the photos begin.


The wedding reception can be full of photographic gems, make sure your photographers are there to capture them.  In order to make sure you get photos of speeches, dances, and all of the other excitement that happens at the reception, you will want to make sure your photographers stay until at least 10pm, sometimes later.

Photos of your guests dancing and having fun are some the best memories to look back on.  10 years from now you’ll be thankful to have a photo of cousin Jonny doing the Macarena or grandma and grandpa two stepping across the dance floor.

Of course wedding schedules are unique to every couple so we suggest discussing it with your photographers beforehand.  

Non-Traditional Wedding Schedule

We find wedding schedules are taking on a more non-traditional time line and often look something like this

12:00pm: Photographers arrive for morning prep photos

1:00pm: Bridal party gets dressed

1:30pm: First Look Photos

1:45pm: Bridal Party Photos

3:30pm: Arrive at Ceremony Location

4:00pm: Ceremony Photos

4:30pm: Family Photos

5:00pm: Photos of Newlyweds

6:00pm: Arrive at Reception Location

6:30pm: Grand Entrance Photos and Dinner

7:30pm: Speeches and Candid Photos

8:00pm: Cake Cutting and Candid Photos

8:30pm: First Dance and Party Photos

10:00pm: Photography coverage will typically end


Traditional Wedding Schedule

Typically if your wedding ceremony is earlier in the day and you do not plan to see each other before the ceremony, your schedule will look more like this.

10:00am: Photographers arrive for morning prep photos

12:00pm: Bridal Party gets dressed

12:30pm: Arrive at Ceremony

1:00pm: Ceremony photos

2:00pm: Family Photos

2:30pm: Bridal Party Photos

4:00pm: Photos of Newlyweds

5:30pm: Arrive at Reception Location

6:00pm: Cocktail Hour Photos

6:30pm: Grand Entrance Photos and Dinner

7:30pm: Speeches and Candid Photos

8:00pm: Cake Cutting and Candid Photos

8:30pm: First Dance and Party Photos

10:00pm: Photography Coverage will typically end

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