Wedding Photography Timeline

It can be tough figuring out how much time to allot for different aspects of your wedding. Below I will try to run through the ideal time frames for your wedding day. This is just to assist you with planning your own timeline and ultimately I’ll do my best in whatever time frame you require, but in a perfect world…

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Getting Ready + Details


Ideal Time : 1 hour // Ideal Location : Hotel Suite


Just Kirsten: I’ll head over to the groom first thing and get his detail shots (cufflinks, shoes, boutonnieres, etc) and him putting on his tuxedo. It usually doesn’t take the groom too long to get dressed, so this part typically is 20 – 30 minutes. Then I’ll head over to the bride as any hair and makeup is wrapping up to start getting details (dress, shoes, bouquets, etc). I’ll also get some of you getting the final touches of hair and makeup put on and hanging out with your bridesmaids. Then you’ll put on your dress, jewellery, and any other final touches.


With 2nd Shooter: I will head to the bride and my second shooter will stick with the groom.


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Individual Portraits


Ideal Time : 30-45 minutes // Ideal Location : Hotel Suite, Lobby, Venue Garden


After everyone is dressed and ready to go, it’s time for individual portraits with the bridal party. We’ll do photos of the groom and each groomsman individually, as well as group photos. If time allows, this is great for the parents to get their photos with the groom, too. Afterwards, we’ll tuck the groom away and it’s the girl’s turns. Same thing: the bride with each bridesmaid then group photos as well. Again, if the bride’s parents would like to get their photos taken care of, this works out well.


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First Look


Ideal Time : 20 minutes // Ideal Location : A secluded area that is shaded


If you choose to do a first look (which is totally up to you, but I LOVE! It gives you a chance to have some actual alone time, because the day just flies by so fast) it’s best to give at least a half hour, but the more time, the better. Typically the groom will face away from the bride and she will approach him from behind. For the next 5-10 minutes, I just candidly capture you enjoying one another on your big day. Afterwards, we’ll do some posed bride and groom portraits, so we don’t have as many to take after the ceremony.


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Ideal Time : N/A // Ideal Location : Well lit or use of flash allowed


Where the magic happens – especially your first kiss as a married couple! Ceremony length completely varies, but I will document the occasion as it happens, as inconspicuously as I can. One thing I like to add in about the ceremony is that it’s not a bad idea to remind your guests to be present and not worry too much about being on their cell phones or standing up to get the shot. A lot of my shots can get ruined by an eager guest stepping out in the aisle or holding up their phone. And enjoy that first kiss, there’s no rush and then I can get a couple shots in, as well. ;)


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Family Photos / Formals


Ideal Time : 3 Minutes per Grouping – Usually 30-45 minutes // Ideal Location : Near Ceremony Location


This completely depends on how big your families are and how many groupings you do. Hopefully, we’ll have parents already knocked out from the individual portraits, so we’ll jump in with either the groom or the bride and do their family groupings. Example: mom, dad, paternal parents; mom, dad, maternal grandparents; both parents and both grandparents; just maternal grandparents; just paternal grandparents; etc… We can do any combination you’d like, just try to think of them all beforehand so we allow enough time. After the bride or groom goes, it’s the other’s turn, so we’ll do it all again. THEN we’ll do portraits with the bride and groom together. So there will usually be 3 very similar sets of groupings. I’m always here to help with this, so we can get together when the time is right for you and figure out how much time is needed.


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Wedding Party Photos


Ideal Time : 30 minutes // Ideal Location : Lobby, Garden, Nearby Location


Here we will get the whole bridal party together in both classic and creative poses. Since we took the individual bridal party shots already, this usually goes by pretty quick.


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Newlywed Photos


Ideal Time : 30 – 60 minutes // Ideal Location : Lobby, Garden, Nearby Location


After your wedding party photos are finished, we’ll dismiss them to head back to the reception area (or wait in the vehicles to head back if we’re at a separate location). Now it’s time for newlywed photos. If we did a first look, we won’t need as much time for these photos. If we don’t have a first look, we’ll do all the wedding portraits, both classic and creative. We can head to a couple locations if you want and get some amazing shots!


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Receptions Photos


Ideal Time : 2 hours // Ideal Location : Reception Location


If we can get into the reception area before guests arrive to get the empty room and some detail shots, that is AMAZING, but we realize not always possible. Don’t worry, we’ll still get the detail shots. If we have any downtime during the day or after traveling from ceremony to reception, we’ll get those shots. The reception is also where we’ll get the first dance, father-daughter dance, mother-son dance, bouquet toss, garter toss, cake cutting, toasts, and dancing. The order and events are completely up to you, but typically it’s best to plan on the photographers concluding their time about 20-30 minutes after open dancing starts.