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Wedding Day Timeline Examples

Updated: Feb 21, 2023

It's no secret that the key to a wedding day that runs smoothly is a well planned out timeline. Organizing your entire day from start to finish is difficult and intimidating, especially if its your first wedding, which for most folks it is. Its virtually impossible to find a blue print online with the perfect timeline... until now! Below are 5 examples that will guarantee effortless wedding planning.


Pictured above are Amy and Alex during their elopement photography at the Hennepin County Government Center. | Emilys Photography


Timeline 1

The Basic Summer Wedding.


This is an example of an August wedding, where sunset is at 8pm, in Minnesota, and the Getting Ready takes place at the SAME location as the wedding.


9:30am Breakfast - wedding party eats together or separate but either way, Do NOT skip brekky.

10:30am Taking a shower is definitely a good move.

11:30am Getting Ready Begins - at least for the humans that need makeup/hair done.

12:00pm Photographer Arrives - my favorite part!

  • Side Note. If groomsmen are getting ready in a separate location, then photographer will get "Mock" Getting Ready photos once they arrive. This can apply for both bridesmaids too if, for example, they are getting hair ready at a salon instead.

1:00pm First look - I will grab the groom and lead him to the right spot.

1:15pm Couples Portraits.

1:45pm-2:15pm Wedding Party Portraits - including ring bearer and flower girl, ushers, etc.

2:15pm is for bride and groom to relax before the ceremony - I'll be taking candids at this time.

3:00pm Ceremony - Yay!

3:30pm Receiving line starts - I suggest not skipping this step, so that we can begin formals on time.

3:45pm Family Formals - I highly suggest making a detailed shot list in advance.

4:30pm Immediate Family + Bride and Groom join the rest of the guests at cocktails hour.

5:30pm Grand Entrance and welcome speeches.

6:00pm Dinner.

7:00pm Sunset Pictures with wedding party, and eventually just the Bride and Groom.

7:30pm First dance(s).

  • Pro Tip. If you want fun dancing captured, add an hour or two to your photo package. I find that a 10-12 hour day is much more relaxing for the Bride and Groom and feels less rushed. You don't want your big day turning into a giant photoshoot.

8:00pm Photographer Departs, dancing/drinking continues.

10:00pm DJ leaves, clean up begins.


Pictured above is Malissa from her and Owens Summer 2022 wedding. These were sunset photos we scheduled right after dinner!


TIMELINE 2

My Favorite Summer Wedding.


Again, an August wedding, so sunset is at 8pm and the getting ready takes place in the SAME location as the wedding. Only difference is instead of 8 hours worth of photography, its 10 hours.


9:30am Breakfast - Again, don't skip brekky!

10:30am Taking a shower is the way to go.

11:30am Getting Ready Begins - at least for the humans that need makeup/hair done.

12:00pm Photographer Arrives

If groomsmen are getting ready in a separate location, then photographer will get "Mock" Getting Ready photos once they arrive. This can apply for both bridesmaids too if, for example, they are getting hair ready at a salon instead.

1:30pm First look and couples portraits.

2:00pm Wedding Party Portraits - including ring bearer and flower girl, ushers, etc.

2:30pm is for bride and groom to relax before the ceremony - I'll be taking candids at this time.

3:00pm Ceremony

3:30pm Receiving line starts - I suggest not skipping this step, so that we can begin formals on time.

3:45pm Family Formals - I highly suggest making a detailed shot list in advance.

4:30pm Immediate Family + Bride and Groom join the rest of the guests at cocktails hour.

5:30pm Grand Entrance and welcome speeches.

6:00pm Dinner.

6:45pm Speeches

7:05pm Sunset Pictures with wedding party, and eventually just the Bride and Groom.

8:00pm First Dance(s)

9:00pm Sparkler exit, or bubbles if you want to get creative.

9:30pm Fun dancing and drinking begins.

10:00pm Photographer leaves

11:30pm DJ leaves, clean up starts - you can pay the venue extra to stay for longer.


Pictured above is Elizabeth and her bridesmaids having girl talk at their Airbnb during the getting ready - and yes, this was posed or what I like to call candid posed, a.k.a "look at each other with wine and laugh really hard", yes I am one of "those" photographers.


Timeline 3

The Winter Wedding


This is a wedding set in February, when the sun sets by 6pm. Winter is interesting because we get Twilight, which is the period of time between sunset and sunrise where the sky isn't completely dark. It typically has this stunning pinkish arch illuminating the atmosphere. I consider Twilight one of the best parts of Winter, especially for photography.


9:30am Breakfast and shower

11:30am Getting Ready Begins - at least for the humans that need makeup/hair done.

12:00pm Photographer Arrives - my favorite part!

  • Side Note. If groomsmen are getting ready in a separate location, then photographer will get "Mock" Getting Ready photos once they arrive. This can apply for both bridesmaids too if, for example, they are getting hair ready at a salon instead.

1:00pm First look - I will grab the groom and lead him to the right spot.

1:15pm Couples Portraits.

1:45pm-2:15pm Wedding Party Portraits - including ring bearer and flower girl, ushers, etc.

2:15pm is for bride and groom to relax before the ceremony - I'll be taking candids at this time.

3:00pm Ceremony

3:30pm Receiving line starts - I suggest not skipping this step, so that we can begin formals on time.

3:45pm-4:15pm Family Formals, following that is cocktail hour

5:00pm Sunset Pictures with wedding party, and eventually Bride and Groom solo.

5:30pm Dinner - Sunset photos take less time because of the cold.

6:30pm Cake cutting and speeches

7:00pm First Dance(s)

7:30pm Fun dancing/drinking begins.

8:00pm Photographer leaves

10:00pm DJ leaves, clean up begins.


TIMELINE 4

A Short Wedding


This timeline is for a wedding set in May. This is for the type of bride that honestly doesn't care about random traditions like cake cutting or getting ready photos. She doesn't even like cake, maybe she chooses a cupcake stand instead. She does, however, prioritize time spent with her family and wants the photos to reflect how candid the event is. She chooses to to have the ceremony later in the day and not spend too much time on formal photos.


11:00am the day starts, getting ready begins but is done at home, a half an hour drive from the venue.

2:00pm Set up at the venue begins.

3:00pm Photographer arrives.

5:00pm Ceremony.

5:30pm Family photos.

6:00pm Couple joins everyone at cocktail hour, photographer takes candids of everyone interacting, as well as group photos of guests who ask.

6:30pm Dinner Begins. Bride and groom opt out of a grand entrance. It's just not their thing.

7:00pm Speeches.

7:30pm Dessert table opens for grabs.

8:00pm Sunset wedding party and couples photos.

8:30pm First Dance(s), followed by the "shoe" game.

9:00pm Fun dancing and drinking starts.

10:00pm Photographer leaves.

11:30pm DJ leaves and clean up begins.


Pictured is Lisa and Jason at their Lakewood Cemetery wedding on October, 2022.


TIMELINE 5

Traditional First Look During The Ceremony


This is a wedding set in October, when the sun sets by 6pm. A Fall wedding is the dream, gorgeous colors and ideal temps. The weather is the perfect in-between because its no

longer humid like it was in August and its not dry and cold like February. Fall is also the least rainy season, which is a huge benefit. Pro tip, if you're getting married in Minneapolis, try to avoid June since its the rainiest month. Overall, September-November are the most popular months for weddings because they supply hearty in-season foods, alluring blooms and a moody foliage.


For this timeline, we are doing an evening ceremony, and a traditional first look with a 12 hour photography package, ceremony is also longer as prayers and speeches will take place. This is for the type of bride who has been dreaming of her wedding day for a while, she knows what she wants, and that is to have the perfect wedding day. She expects a lot from her Maid of Honor and has a huge wedding party.


9:00am They day begins: eat, shave and shower. Don't forget to grab your shower mimosa.

11:00am Getting Ready Begins.

11:30am Photographer arrives and starts detail shots - wedding dress, venue, invites, shoes, etc.

12:00pm Lunch is delivered so everyone can snack. Usually a sandwich place.

12:30pm Bridesmaids getting ready and group photos.

1:30pm-2:30pm Groomsmen getting ready and group photos.

3:00pm Ceremony.

4:00pm Receiving line.

4:15pm Family Photos.

5:00pm Wedding Party Photos Couples Portraits.

6:00pm Wedding party, bride and groom enter reception for the Grand Entrance.

6:30pm Welcome speech and then dinner begins.

7:30pm Speeches by MoH and best man, as well as any family.

8:00pm Cake cutting/dessert photos.

8:30pm First Dance(s).

9:00pm Fun dancing/drinking begins.

9:30pm Mock Sparkler Exit. Then back to dancing.

10:30pm Photographer leaves.


Pictured is Laura and Anu during their indoor portraits at the Lumber Exchange venue in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


BASICALLY, there are a ton of ways to organize a wedding timeline, even with these samples a bride and groom would need to edit it to compliment their perfect experience. Key things you need to decide before starting to organize the timeline is: do you want a first look at the ceremony or in private, what time the sun sets on your date, how long the ceremony will last, and whether or not you want candid dancing photos.


ALSO, don't forget to check out Emilys Photography out on Facebook and Instagram.

 

Looking for a wedding photographer near Minneapolis, Minnesota? I might be your girl!


My name is Emily when I shoot I want to blend in and capture all the real moments and people that make each wedding day special. I love to show the natural connections between people and strive to not only tell the story of your wedding day, but of your love.​​​​​​​


P.S. bonus points if your a dog person who wants to include their fur-baby in the wedding or engagement ! Check out my work here. Inquiries may be sent to Hello@EmilysPhotography.Blog


Thank you stopping by my blog, I hope to hear from you soon.




Locations I photograph at: Bloomington, Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Champlin, Chanhassen, Corcoran, Crystal, Dayton, Deephaven, Eden Prairie, Edina, Excelsior, Golden Valley, Greenfield, Greenwood, Hanover, Hopkins, Independence, Long Lake, Loretto, Maple Grove, Maple Plain, Medicine Lake, Medina, Minneapolis, Minnetonka, Minnetonka Beach, Minnetrista, Mound, New Hope, Orono, Osseo, Plymouth, Richfield, Robbinsdale, Rockford, Rogers, St. Anthony, St. Bonifacius, St. Louis Park, Shorewood, Spring Park, Tonka Bay, Wayzata, Woodland, Saint Paul , Arden Hills, Blaine, Falcon Heights, Gem Lake, Lauderdale, Little Canada, Mapl, 55407, 55311, 55423, 55369, 55408, 55406, 55428, 55411, 55443, 55418, 55416, 55347, 55422, 55414, 55419, 55426, 55404, 55429, 55343, 55316, 55417, 55446, 55412, 55430, 55447, 55ewood, Mounds View, New Brighton, North Oaks, North Saint Paul, Roseville, Saint Anthony, Shoreview, Spring Lake Park, Vadnais Heights, White Bear Lake. 55427, 55345, 55305, 55410, 55331, 55441, 55431, 55403, 55344, 55391, 55437, 55438, 55444, 55346, 55413, 55364, 55405, 55374, 55435, 55445, 55436, 55442, 55409, 55454, 55424, 55425, 55439, 55401, 55340, 55359, 55356, 55455, 55327, 55373, 55415, 55357, 55375, 55341, 55384, 55450, 55402, 55467, 55111, 55168, 55171, 55323, 55348, 55361, 55392, 55393, 55440, 55458, 55460, 55459, 55468, 55472, 55470, 55474, 55478, 55483, 5480, 55485, 55484, 55487, 55486, 55488, 55570, 55569, 55572, 55571, 55574, 55576, 55578, 55577, 55579, 55592, 55593, 55596, 55595, 55598, 55597, 55599, 55479


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Awesome job, Em!

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