Planning Your Wedding Day Photography Timeline

Wedding Resources for Brides
Here's a sample of our wedding photography timeline we suggest to all our Ardensea brides and grooms!

Each and every couple we photograph is unique. As a seasoned wedding photographer, the experience of the wedding day is the most important priority for Ardensea. It’s our job to make sure we prioritize getting the perfect shots without being a distraction to the wedding.

One of the ways we accomplish that is by working out the wedding photo timeline with our couples in advance to the wedding day.

Now, keep in mind – this is just a suggested flow and all is subject to change on the day of.


Want a copy of my wedding photo timeline planner?

 1. Getting Ready Portraits & Detail Shots

Ideal time frame: 30 minutes

getting ready wedding timeline

Typically during this time, we stage some photos of the wedding dress, shoes, wedding bands, flowers, stationery, basically EVERYTHING we can get my hands on!  I ask that the rings be left with someone accessible and responsible so we can take them for about 15 minutes to photograph with the rest of the items.  Then we return the rings to typically the best man (or whoever you designate).

Here is a list of items you will want to have put aside:
  • Bouquet
  • Shoes
  • Dress & Veil (don’t forget to replace the wire/plastic hanger with a nice, wooden or cloth one!)
  • Bridal jewelry (whatever you are wearing that day)
  • The perfume you are wearing
  • A set of your wedding invitations/save the dates/stationery
  • Any extra flowers that may be laying around… the more the merrier!


Bridal Portraits & Groom Getting Ready Portraits

Ideal time frame: 30 minutes

millenium gate museum bridal portrait session

If time permits, we always try to get at least a few bridal photos of the bride in her dress. We will try to utilize natural light through a window light or in an open area. It’s also a great time to stage a champagne toast with the bridesmaids!

The Groom

If your wedding package doesn’t include a second associate photographer, I also like to try to get some photos of the groom doing things like putting on the tie, cuff-links, and maybe trying to get his jacket on a hanger.

The Details

We will also try to take pictures of the cake and reception decor, once it arrives. Sometimes this happens at the beginning of the day, but more common than not, this gets squeezed in after the ceremony while everyone enjoys cocktail hour.


2. The First Look

Ideal time frame: 30-45 minutes

first look wedding timeline

Not every couple wants to break tradition to do first a first look session, but it’s such a great way to fit amazing photos and get authentic, emotional photos without the pressure of being on display in front of friends and family. A quick couples session can be squeezed in as well as a few fun group shots of the bridal party without family & friends present.


We highly recommend doing a first look if you really want to make photos a priority on your wedding day!


3. Ceremony Setup Photos

Ideal time frame: 10-15 minutes

planning reception photo timeline

About the last 10-15 minutes before the ceremony, we try to take miscellaneous photos of guests waiting for the arrival of the wedding party, since the focus is mostly on the couple for the rest of the day.

4. Family Formals & Bridal Party

Ideal time frame: 30-40 minutes

family formal wedding photos

This is the one part of the day that can feel stressful because of time restrictions and guests who want to move on to the reception.  If you are having a cocktail hour, this is perfect because it gives us some time to knock out the pictures as quickly and efficient as possible!

Here’s an EXAMPLE of our go-to shot list:

  • Full bridal party (in a line) girls on 1 side, guys on other side + CLOSE family members
  • Bride and Groom and both sides of the close family (moms, dads, grandmas, etc)
  • Bride with Groom and Bride’s parents
  • Bride with Bride’s Parents
  • Groom with Bride and Groom’s parents
  • Groom with Groom’s Parents

**** close family dismissed****

  •  The full bridal party (in a line) with guys on 1 side, girls on the other side
  • Silly face portrait full bridal party (maybe something like bride and groom kiss while bridal party cheers, best selfie faces, etc
  • Bride and bridesmaids
  • Bride and maid of honor
  • Groom and groomsman
  • Groom and best man
  • If Time Permits – we will try to knock out individual portraits of each bridesmaid and groomsman
****bridal party dismissed****


4.  Fitting in a Couples Session (preferably at sunset)

Ideal time frame: 30-45 minutes 

vero beach sunset wedding photographer

This is probably the most important part of the whole day for me as your wedding photographer.  These will likely be the photos that you hang on your walls, so I will be very persuasive to get you two to relax, laugh, smile, kiss, and just enjoy the few moments we will have together. ESPECIALLY if we haven’t had time for a First Look earlier in the day.
For this list, these are JUST examples – my bride and groom posing is a more authentic and candid experience than the rest of the day and I will be walking you through every step of the way!
  • Bride and Groom looking at the camera
  • Bride and Groom looking at each other
  • The veil over bride and groom while kiss (if you have a veil)
  • Close up of hands with rings
  • Arms around each other
  • Bride and Groom kissing (get ready to be smooching a lot all day :P)
  • Bride alone
  • Bride’s details – bouquet shot, close up of the bride’s makeup and veil,
  • Groom alone
The biggest thing we want our couples to take away from this is that there are so many moving parts on the big day. Having a plan in place will help us be ready for everything and if something happens to change, we will work with the time we have!
Nothing is set in stone, aside from the fact that I want you to have an amazing wedding day!
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Thanks for reading along! I hope you find these bridal resources helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions, concerns, etc!