How We Handle Wedding Timelines

February 25, 2020

One thing that we hear from our couples is that they LOVE how we help them with wedding day timelines. I’ve blogged about it, created freebies of sample timelines (find them HERE!) and shared so much about why we love helping with this part of the planning process. Because it really does make a HUGE impact on the way a couple’s day and their images turn out.

If you’re not familiar with how weddings go – and if you haven’t planned one before, you likely aren’t! – you might not understand why it’s such a big deal. But think of it this way… if you know it takes you one hour to make your favorite meal, including planning, prep work, time in the oven, etc., but someone told you you had only 15 minutes to get it done… that meal probably won’t turn out the way it’s supposed to. It won’t taste right, and it will be a really stressful process.

Well, it’s similar with a wedding day! We know how much time it takes to capture each portion of the day so that it’s an enjoyable experience for our couple AND results in incredible images. So I feel that it’s my responsibility to share that knowledge with our couples so they can have an amazing day of their own.

I thought it would be best to do this Q&A style to give you some insight into my process for wedding day timelines!

When do you first share the timeline?

A: We first share a sample timeline in materials that we send our brides right after they book. This is important because they can use this as they begin planning, before everything else is set in stone. If we waited too long to share this, other parts of the day would already be set and we might not have as much influence on the timeline overall. So, we encourage our couples to take a peek at the sample in their welcome gift! Of course start & end times might change and adjustments will be made, but this is a really great starting place!!

How do you create your timelines/why are they structured this way?

A: For us, we create timelines based on three things:

1.A First Look. For us, an ideal wedding timeline does include a First Look. Most of our couples choose to do one, for so many reasons! Read more about that here!

2.Sunset timing. We keep this in mind so we can make sure portraits happen during the best light of the day.

3.The amount of time needed for us to shoot each part of the day in an efficient yet magazine-worthy way. After shooting many weddings, we know this is the average time it takes to accomplish each part.

When does the timeline need to be finalized?

A: We share our sample timeline right away so our brides can use it to plan their day, but we’ll go over their timelines 4-5 weeks out from their day when most things have been finalized to make sure we’re on the same page. We do this because we know up until this point, a lot of things are still up in their air.

How do I know if I need to add more coverage?

A: Once we review your final timeline 4-5 weeks before your day, we’ll be able to tell you if things are looking too tight or if we don’t have enough time for portraits & will make a recommendation of more coverage. But I typically recommend waiting until this point when the timeline is pretty set. Our couples are able to add more coverage at ANY point up until the wedding day, so that gives them time to make that decision.

How do you handle reception timelines?

A: Once it comes to the reception (toasts, dinner, dancing, etc.) our photography timeline is  a lot more flexible, so your planner/venue/DJ will have a good idea of how to structure this part! We’ll just be there to capture everything happening! We do LOVE it when we can snag our couples for just 10-15 minutes at some point during the reception for sunset portraits and will build this into the timeline.

What if our day looks different and we need to make changes?

A: Customizations almost always happen based on ceremony timing, number of locations we need to travel to, etc. And that’s totally fine! It’s your day and you can make it how you like. There are certain parts of the day where we KNOW we need to have a certain amount of time in order to capture images like you see in our portfolio – detail shots and bride & groom portraits are the big ones that we keep a close eye on and make sure we have plenty of time for.

Can we still use this timeline if we don’t do a First Look?

A: Of course! Our suggested timelines include a first look because in our opinion, an ideal wedding timeline has one, but it’s not required and you can definitely move things around if you know you don’t want one.


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