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Nancy Cole









The Wedding Day Timeline


The wedding day timeline may not be the most exciting part of planning your wedding, but it is the most important part and plays a role in not only your photography, but also your videography and the events of the day!

Planning the timeline for the entire wedding day can be a tedious task. I love helping my brides and grooms create the perfect timeline to make sure that they have enough time for all different parts of the wedding day. There are a couple of things to keep in mind while planning your timeline:


The First Look

First Looks are my favorite and allow for a large number of portraits to be done prior to the ceremony. Bridal party portraits and bride and groom portraits can be completed right after the First Look. After the ceremony is over, you would only need to complete the family formals and a few portraits of the bride and groom “just married’. If you are planning on completing a First Look, it is suggested that this is done two hours prior to the ceremony start time.

If you are not doing a First Look, things can become a little complex. There will need to be enough time after the ceremony to complete all of the portraits (this includes family formals, bridal party, and bride and groom portraits). Family formals alone can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 45 minutes, depending on the size of the families. This also holds true with bridal party portraits. If you are not doing a First Look, I suggest blocking at least 1 to 1.5 hours after the ceremony to complete portraits. It is suggested that the bridal party and anyone needed for family formals not leave the ceremony site due to time constraints and I want to ensure that you guys enjoy the reception and get a chance to hug everyone!



For my brides and grooms who are doing a First Look: Depending on your ceremony location, you will need to know when the sun will set. If you ceremony is outdoors, plan your ceremony for approximately an hour and a half to two hours before sunset. This will allow for nice glowy light that will be flattering instead of unflattering shadows and squinting.

For my brides and grooms not doing a First Look – if you plan your ceremony time to close to sunset, there will not be enough time to complete all family formals, bridal party and bride and groom portraits before sunset. Since I am a natural light photographer, once the sun has set, I am done with outside portraits. Family formals using flash at the reception would be appropriate. 

My goal is to deliver timeless, romantic portraits with soft, glowy light, so let’s make sure there is enough time after the ceremony to get them in any instance.

Lastly, I do not want you to feel rushed during your wedding day. It may be beneficial to add 10-15 minute buffers in the timeline for cushion. Your wedding day is one of the best and biggest days of your life — let’s make every moment and minute count!

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