Wedding Timeline: Day of the Wedding With a First Look

empty notebook ready to write wedding timeline for the day of

Want to have a stress-free wedding experience? Have a solid wedding timeline for the day of the wedding!

I know it’s not exciting as choosing the dress or the flowers (or sampling the food!), but planning the wedding timeline for the day of the wedding will bring so much peace to your wedding day. Having a wedding timeline in place will also give your wedding photographer the time they need to capture those special details and precious moments you want to remember forever, without anyone feeling rushed!

This wedding timeline for the day of the wedding is based off of a 6pm ceremony start time and it includes a first look. If you’re looking for another way to make your wedding stress-free and maximize your photo-ops, a first look is the way to go. I’ll be sharing more about that soon, so stay tuned. For now, here’s a sample timeline for the day of the wedding.

Sample Wedding Timeline: Day of the Wedding (With A First Look)

bridal details with wedding ring

Bridal Details 2:30-3:15 (45 minutes)

The shoes, the veil, the earrings, the rings, the invitations, the dress! All of those beautiful bridal details are the first thing that I like to photograph on wedding day. It gives me some time to get the creative juices flowing. It also helps me connect with the bride and bridal party in a relaxed way because while I’m capturing the bridal details, I’ll also be catching a few candid moments of the girls getting ready!

If the boys are getting ready nearby, I’ll pop in and take a few shots of them getting ready as well. If not, we’d schedule additional time into the day.

Bridal Prep 3:15-4:00 (45 minutes)

After I document the details, it’s time for the bride to get her dress on! It’s best if the bridesmaids and mother of the bride already dressed and ready to go so everyone looks their best! After the bride is in her gown, we’ll focus on having her mother or bridesmaids help her put on her jewelry, veil, shoes, etc. to get those classic shots. After that, it’s time for additional bridal portraits! 

bridal portrait with a bright and airy wedding style

First Look 4:00 (15 minutes)

This is where the magic happens. I’ll scope out a secluded place ahead of time for the moment when you see each other for the first time. We’ll capture that moment and then you’ll have some time to just enjoy each other. Because that’s what it’s all about anyway, right?

Portraits 4:15-4:45 (30 minutes)

After the first look, I’ll find an area with great light and we will take a few special portraits while your joy is the most radiant!

Bridal Party Portraits 4:50-5:20 (30 minutes)

While the bride and groom are finishing their portrait time, the bridal party can start heading over. During bridal party portraits, we will take all the combinations: girls, guys, and the whole bridal party together. To keep things on track, the guys should arrive with their boutonnieres pinned on, ready to roll!

reception details captured on the day of the wedding

Bride in Hiding 5:30-6:00 (30 minutes)

After portraits are finished, the bride will go into hiding. You don’t want any early guests sneaking a peek before the proper time! The ushers will start helping people find their seats around this time too.

Reception Details 5:30-5:50 (20 minutes)

When the reception and ceremony are in the same location, I will use this time to capture the reception décor before the guests arrive.

If the ceremony and reception are in different locations, it’s a good idea to have a cocktail hour outside of the main reception area. This way, I can take some shots of your reception before the guests start claiming their chairs!

Ceremony 6-6:30 (30 minutes)

All the wedding planning and preparations are over – you’re finally getting married! Savor this time and soak up every moment. It’s going to fly by, so stay present in the moment. Ceremonies usually last about half an hour, but if yours goes longer, no worries, we can adjust!

bride poses for family photos

Family Formals 6:40-7:10 (30 minutes)

Family formals take place outdoors immediately following the ceremony. I will send a questionnaire before the wedding where you can tell me the family groupings you want me to photograph. I recommend having the loudest member of your family or bridal party in charge of rallying the family after the ceremony, so that no one drifts off to the reception prematurely!

Portraits 7:15-7:30 (15 minutes)

From late spring to early fall, the best time of day for those glowy, golden romantic portraits everyone loves is around 7 pm! I’ll have you stick around for a few extra portraits right after family formals are finished.

Reception 7:30

The reception starts when the bridal party lines up for introductions and the party begins! By this part of the day, I just go with the flow and capture your moments as they come.

The Exit 10:30

Eight hours of coverage is enough time for the main events of the reception, plus some dancing. If you want your exit photographed, you can add additional coverage. Or, you can plan a faux exit with just your bridal party! Either way, it’s going to be great!

So there you have it! A sample wedding timeline for the day of the wedding. Doesn’t it feel good to have a plan?

If you book a Rhode Island wedding with me, we’ll work together to craft a custom wedding timeline for the day of your wedding. This ensures things run smoothly and we have time to capture all those moments that matter most to you. No stress!

Need Help with Your Wedding Timeline for the Day of the Wedding?

Schedule a no-obligation phone call and let’s chat about your special day! Complimentary wedding timeline planning is included in your package.