Wedding Day Timeline Planning Part 2: How to Ensure you get the Most out of Your Special Day

Client Education

Wedding day timeline planning doesn’t have to be stressful. This week I am finishing up the series about planning the perfect wedding day timeline. If you saw part one of this series, you’ll love part 2! Scroll to the bottom to download my free sample timeline.

Last week we left off at the most important part of you wedding day… the ceremony. Now, we are going to transition to the second half of the day-the party! Like I mentioned last week, most of my couples opt for 9-10 hours of photography coverage.

Family Portraits- 20 to 30 minutes

After you get a few minutes to celebrate being officially married, I transition to your family portraits. Family formals normally take place immediately following the ceremony. It’s best to save all of these for this time because ALL family members will be present. I send a wedding questionnaire that includes a list for family formals. It is the best and most efficient way to ensure no one is left out! We can typically knock out a traditional list in less than 30 minutes.

Reception Details during Cocktail Hour- 30 minutes

If the reception and the ceremony are at the same location, I will use this time (cocktail hour) to shoot the reception decor UNTOUCHED. While you two get to enjoy some time with your loved ones, this ensures you get those beautiful details that you and your planner have worked so hard bringing to life. And don’t worry, my second shooter will be present during cocktail hour to get those group shots and plenty of candids.

The Reception- 4 to 5 hours

The bridal party lines up for introductions and the reception begins!! By this part of the day, the timeline isn’t as strict. Sometime during the evening I build time in for some golden hour portraits!

Special Dances and Speeches- 15-20 minutes

Typically after introductions, the bride and groom share their first dance. I’ve had couples choose to do this before or after dinner. It really is just up to you what you prefer! Most often, after dinner we schedule time for the main events like daddy/daughter and mother/son dances as well as speeches. I love hearing close friends or family member give their heartfelt speeches and well wishes for my couples. These are moment that deserve to me documented.

Dance the Night Away

It’s time to open the dance floor!! After all the special events are over with, we just have fun. Once again, your wedding day is not a photographic show or production. It’s a once in a lifetime day to cherish with loved ones and I will ensure nothing stands in the way of you having the time of your life!

The Exit

If you’re interested in having your exit photographed, there are several options for this! You can either add additional coverage or plan a faux exit with just your bridal party! We have had GREAT success with this and the party never stops. Recently, I’ve had couples share a “last dance” with each other as guests are lining up for the exit into their getaway car. It’s a great way to have some alone time again with each other before saying goodbye to all your loved ones.

Once again, the second half of the wedding day should be more relaxed to allow you ample time with your guests. I love when couples choose a first look so they can be present for cocktail hour. You can see in the first post of this series how beneficial it can be to do a first look with each other. It allows you to be more present in the moments of the day, rather than rush from one event to the next. If you’re wedding planning and are trying to decide what your wedding timeline should look like, download my free sample timeline here!

See you next week for another Wedding Tip Wednesday post! Never miss a blog post, sign up for the email list here.



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I'm a family girl at heart. Some might say I'm an old soul. My deep roots in both faith and family are what inspire me to document and preserve lasting legacies for each couple I serve.

I believe in serving well and building a lasting friendship that allows you to trust that I will document your memories in an effortless and romantic light.

And I can't wait to get to know you!

I'm Zoe

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Planning your wedding day timeline can be stressful and I know it's easy to feel overwhelmed! Grab our free guide to plan the perfect timeline for your day. 

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