Wedding Day Timeline Guidelines

The day-of timeline can sometimes be one of the more daunting aspects of planning a wedding day. Most standard wedding photography contracts cover 8 hours, and it can sometimes seem disingenuous to seemingly try to cram months and months of planning into 8 hours of photos. Trust me: it can be done - and is done well, and regularly. :)

Below are a few guidelines for your timeline. The Timeline Guidelines, essentially. ;)

General rules of thumb:

  • Steer clear of outdoor shots at noon, if possible.
  • Access to outdoor areas with open shade is ideal.
  • Budget your 8 hours backwards - start with the time of the cake cutting, and count 8 hours backwards to determine what time your photographer should meet you.
  • If you are traveling to a few different locations, be sure to keep travel time in mind within your timeline.
  • More than anything, as your photographer, I want to be a resource to you! If you have any questions about timeline planning, please reach out. :) 
Grafton Inn Vermont Wedding Photographer Sweet Alice Photography 106.jpg

The Details

Timeframe: 30 minutes

These shots are typically taken at the beginning of the day, while you and your awesome people are still getting ready.


Getting Ready

Timeframe: 60 - 90 minutes

This is the perfect amount of time to get some fun shots of you and your people getting ready before your big reveal.


First Look and Couple Formals

Timeframe: 45 - 60 minutes

Please be sure to give yourself a buffer of at least 30 minutes before the start of your ceremony so that we can tuck you safely inside and you can have a few minutes to relax before y’all get yourselves married! If you are waiting to do your couple formals after the ceremony, budget 45 minutes.


Wedding Party

Timeframe: 30 minutes

We typically do not do too many wedding party image variations, but we will be sure to create images of:

  • The entire wedding party with the couple
  • Each partner’s respective party (ie, bride with bridesmaids, groom with groomsmen)
  • One on one photos with each member of each partner’s respective party
  • And some celebration shoots - woohooooooo!


Timeframe: 45 - 60 minutes (depending on how many family groupings you have)

We limit our family shots to 15 groups maximum so that you can enjoy the awesome day you have spent so long planning! 15 groups usually encompasses immediate family and grandparents.



Timeframe: 3 - 4 hours

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, working backwards from the cake cutting regarding your 8 hours of coverage is the best way to measure your day; reception coverage of 3 to 4 hours perfectly encapsulates all of the important dances (first dance, father/daughter, mother/son), toasts, family/wedding traditions (bouquet toss, garter toss), and cake cutting with some fun shots of you and your guests boogying down, as well. ;)


Now that you have your guidelines, you can create your perfect timeline for your absolutely perfect day. :)