How to Craft the Perfect Photo Timeline for your Wedding Day | The Harris Company


How to Craft the Perfect Photo Timeline for your Wedding Day

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How to Craft the Perfect Photo Timeline for your Wedding Day

June 14, 2017

Crafting the perfect photo timeline for your wedding day (and the inner-workings of all your wedding professionals) can be exhausting and stressful. In order to avoid forgetting important elements and incorporating enough buffer time, our best suggestion is to hire an experienced event planner. This will ensure nothing is forgotten, every creative partner is in the loop, and your best interests are top priority. For a list of the best event planners in the area, please contact us here.

For the brave souls that choose to go-it alone, we have a few tips on how to optimize your photo time and make sure you’re making the most of our services.

*Please note, this is structured around a traditional event. Unique events, or cultural events with multiple ceremonies will likely require a customized plan, in which case a specialized event planner is highly recommended.

Photo Timeline for your Wedding Day | Wedding Tips | The Harris Co |

The best way to start your photo timeline is to start with your ceremony time and work backwards. OR if the ceremony time is flexible, start with the SUNSET time, and work around that 😉  In addition, its important to consider doing a private moment (first look) prior to the ceremony.    This will allow you to make time for your portraits when you look your best and still enjoy your cocktail hour.

Here’s a mock up of what you should account for:

– 30 minutes photo/video arrive for exterior shots/ aerials
– 30 minutes detail shots/ scenery
– 30 minutes all bridesmaids hair/ makeup finished (add extra time here if you want to do candid photos of the girls in getting ready outfits prior to getting dressed)
– 30 minutes bridesmaids dressed, finishing touches for Bride
– 30 minutes bride getting into dress/ accessories (add extra time if you are doing a dads look/ family portraits here)
– 30 minutes bridal portraits  / groomsmen portraits separately
– 40 minutes (or more!) for first look & couples portraits

-30 minutes for wedding party photos

-30 minutes for family photos (approximately 10 combinations, add more time for additional portraits)

+ travel time (if applicable)
– 20-30 minutes to refresh/ regroup (at this time guests can enter the reception room)
– 30/45 minutes before ceremony, guests arrive (men to ceremony location)

Photo Timeline for your Wedding Day | Wedding Tips | The Harris Co |
+ 15 minutes for guests to exit

+ 1 hour- 1.5 hours cocktails/ refreshments
+ INTRODUCTIONS, First Dance, Welcome Toast
+ First course served
+ Best Man & MOH Toasts
+ Main Course
+ parent dances, cake cutting (Same Day Edit Played)
+ Dancing

Photo Timeline for your Wedding Day | Wedding Tips | The Harris Co |

  • Be sure to consider travel time (and at least a 10-15 minute buffer) to move large groups of people
  • TRAFFIC?! Summer traffic is not fun, be sure to check the traffic reports and event calendars to ensure you avoid any extra busy roadways (and notify your guests as well).
  • Our team will split up on the wedding day, so as the primary photographer is shooting with the Bride, the secondary photographer will likely be doing the same type of shots with the groomsmen. Its best to have an activity planned to keep the guys from feeling awkward around the camera, check out our blog post for a few ideas (link to getting ready blog post)
  • Because we want to make sure we tell the full story of your day, we will also ask the catering staff to clear the room for only a few short minutes while we capture a full shot of the empty reception room

Photo Timeline for your Wedding Day | Wedding Tips | The Harris Co |

  • For the reception timeline, we are usually very flexible, and leave this up to the catering staff to plan out. They will want to ensure everyone gets their food while it is fresh and hot.
  • It’s best to give your guests a few minutes to eat prior to starting toasts. Eating can get quite noisy (the forks/ knives clinking) and most people like the chat with their table while eating. You wont want to have this background noise recorded in your film.
  • Make sure you GET OUT ON THE DANCE FLOOR! This is the perfect way to close out the album, and get some fun candid shots of the two of you as a married couple!
  • Typically we plan to depart soon after the formalities of the evening, once we have a bunch of super fun dance floor shots. If you’re planning a formal exit (sparklers, fireworks, etc) be sure to let us know so we can account for that in your timeline
  • Not every couple wants to leave their party for night-time shots, but if you’re venue has really fun lighting, its probably worth it! Even just 15-20 minutes will do the trick, just be sure to let us know ahead of time that you want to plan for this.


“Makayla and Dave are exceptional at what they do. If you want your relationship, family, and self captured in a beautiful series of unique photographs that tell a story - that is what they will give you.”

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