With all the suppliers involved, planning a wedding day can seem rather confusing and daunting. Having a stress-free wedding day becomes possible when everything runs on time. Since everything has to work in sync planning the photography timeline will help streamline not only the photography flow, but also other wedding supplier timelines as well.

Here we have put together a guideline to give you a rough idea of how long each part of the day will take to photograph. We have been using this formula for years. If you don’t have a wedding coordinator this timeline can be extremely helpful.

Whilst we refer to this as the “photography” timeline it is equally applicable for videography. Whether you have two separate service providers or a single team capturing both photo and video, it is a lot easier and more efficient when everyone works off the same timeline.


Al-Ru Farm, DreamTeamImaging, Best Wedding Photographers Adelaide

Allow Travel & Extra Time

When you build the timeline don’t forget to add travel time from one location to the next.  Allow a buffer between critical moments in case unexpected delays take place. Delays can happen due to bad weather, traffic, dress malfunction, hair and makeup delays or any other beyond your control reasons. You won’t believe how small things can take up a lot time on the wedding day.

Groom Prep ~ 1 Hour

Photographing groom prep usually comes first, since the groom and groomsmen need to get to the ceremony location much before the girls.  This can be adjusted depending on each couple’s requirements.

You might think one hour is way too much time for the boys to get ready. You won’t believe how much time it takes to wear ties and pin the lapel flowers if the boys are not used to wearing ties every day.

Bride Prep ~ 1.5 Hours

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Bride and bridesmaids usually has an early start with makeup and hair. It is ideal to have hair and makeup to be completed by the time the photographers arrive. However, if you like make-up photos, request the makeup artist to do the final touch ups about 15 minutes after the photographer arrives. You can ask the makeup artist how much time is needed for each person and work backwards when booking times for hair and makeup. We can’t stress enough how important it is to have hair and makeup run on time. Delays in bride prep means pushing back the start of the ceremony. This results in less time to do the couple photo session which needs to be done before entering the reception.

Allow extra time to get into your dress, especially if the dress has a lace tie back. This always takes more time than you think.

Pre Ceremony ~ 15 Minutes

Ideally photographers prefer to arrive at the ceremony location before the guests are seated, to get a few shots of the ceremony set up and also take a few shots of your family and friends arriving and mingling. This also  gives the photographer the opportunity to chat to the celebrant and know exactly how the ceremony is going to take place.

Ceremony ~ 30-45 Minutes

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Some ceremonies can finish in 15 minutes, some can go for 30 minuets and others for much longer. Speak to your celebrant or priest about the duration of the ceremony so that you can allow the right amount of time for the ceremony.

Post Ceremony Hugs ~ 15 Minutes

Once you walk down the aisle it is always nice to have extra time to be congratulated by your loved ones.  This is when all the hugs and kisses start to flow. You don’t want to miss this chance. Some of the best emotional moments are captured during this time.

Group Photo ~ 10 Minutes

One big group shot of everyone is a great idea. Depending on how many guests you will have at your ceremony this can take some time to gather people and move them to a specific area. Guests are usually chatting with each other and having fun so gathering them can be a task. This photo is not a must!

Family Photos ~ 30 Minutes

Family photos on a wedding day are so important and we know that you will really appreciate them too. These become more and more valuable as time passes. To help the photographer, pre prepare a list of must have photos beforehand.  It will be best if you can get someone from your family (with a loud voice) to help the photographer with this list. Having a list ensure that you don’t miss any important shots.  Keep the photo list short and simple. If you have a long list of friends who you would like to take photos with then this can always be done during the reception if time is limited soon after the ceremony.

Bridal Party ~ 30 Minutes

This is where you can have fun with your entire bridal party. You can be your selves and let go and the photographer is there to capture those moments and interactions.

Couple Session ~ 30 Minutes

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Once the bridal party pictures have been completed it is time to get the all important pictures of the two of you. Ideally it will be very helpful if it just the two of you and the photographer. This means a lot less distractions from the bridal party allowing the photographer to capture some amazing intimate interactions between the two of you. These natural moments are priceless!

If you are looking to have the couple session done at multiple locations the allocated time will have to be adjusted accordingly. Don’t forget to leave time for travel from one place to another.

Reception Details ~ 15Minutes

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Ideally photographers would like to end the couple session at least 30 minutes before the you enter the reception. This gives the you both a chance to freshen up and relax before commencing the evening formalities. This is the best time for the photographer to capture the reception details. Well before guests are seated, table settings are untouched and candles are lit.



Reception time means party time! Many reception venues will provide you with their timeline for the night.  Most venues will have coordinators  for this.


The exit is something you may or may not want captured. However, if you are having a sparkler exit make sure to slot that into the photography timeline. Just incase the photographer is not there until the end of the reception, make sure to have a few photos with sparklers and the bridal party captured before the photographer leaves.



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