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Your Guide to the Ideal Wedding Photography Timeline!

Every wedding is different so it is difficult to pinpoint an exact timeline template. With that said, there are ideal time frames you may want to consider when planning your wedding day. A few of these time frames might seem long on paper, however, your wedding day will fly by.

It is also important to keep in mind that weddings have hiccups. The hiccups will cause the wedding to run a little behind schedule. THIS IS NORMAL!

When you book your wedding with us, we will make sure that your time spent with us runs efficiently, on time, and above all else, FUN!

This guide to the Ideal Wedding Photography Timeline also applies to Videography, as we work as a tandem.

Let’s get started!

Ring, Dress, Shoes & Other Details

Ideal Time: 30 Minutes
Ideal Time of Day: Morning
Ideal Location: Getting Ready Location

Guidance: Having at least 30 minutes for details will ensure that we have plenty of time to get that perfect photo of your rings, dress, shoes, bouquet, and everything else.

Having all of your details in one place that you want to be photographed before we get there is also advised. Remember, we want to keep things running as smoothly as possible!

Morning Prep

Ideal Time: 60 Minutes
Ideal Time of Day: Morning / Early Afternoon
Ideal Location: Getting Ready Location

Guidance: Having about 60 minutes gives us ample time to get those close up shots of your  makeup, hair, candid moments, bridesmaids and groomsmen. This has been one of the most emotional times leading up to the ceremony as this is the time where your parents and bridal party will see you for the first time.

Our lead photographer Jen will be with the girls in the morning and our second shooter Nick will be with the guys. While it does not take the guys more than 60 minutes (usually) there are still great moments in this time between the groom and his parents & groomsmen.

First Look

Ideal Time: 30-45 Minutes
Ideal Time of Day: Morning / Early Afternoon
Ideal Location: Ceremony Venue, Garden, Area with Natural Light

Guidance: While optional, the first look is gaining popularity with our couples. What is the first look? Simply put, it is where the Bride & Groom get to enjoy seeing each other for the first time on their wedding day prior to the ceremony.

Even though the actual “first look” might only take 5-15 minutes, the rest of the time is spent arranging & directing the first look, and a few basic portraits of the Bride & Groom. We have also accounted for travel delays if your first look is planned for a different location.

Ceremony Detail & Venue

Ideal Time: 30 Minutes
Ideal Time of Day: Morning / Afternoon
Ideal Location: Ceremony Site

Guidance: It is very important that we arrive at your ceremony site at approx. 30 minutes prior to the start time. We utilize this time to ensure our cameras are adjusted to light and plan out the most ideal positions to get those stunning ceremony photos.

Generally, we capture the complete ceremony set up prior to your guests being seated as this preserves the scene at it’s best.


Ideal Time: 30 Min – 1 Hour 30 Min
Ideal Time of Day: Morning / Afternoon
Ideal Location: Ceremony Site

Guidance: Everything up until now has led up to this point of your wedding day. Some might call it one of the biggest day’s in your life. We tend to take the fly on the wall approach to weddings. We are NOT “all up in your grill” We have the necessary gear that will allow us to not interfere with your ceremony. The last thing your guests want to see is someone roaming around the alter / arch distracting everyone from your big day. As an added bonus, we also shoot in silent mode so your guests can hear everything you say to each other rather than “click, click, click”

Formals (Family & Friends)

Ideal Time: 30 Min – 45 Min
Ideal Time of Day: Afternoon
Ideal Location: Ceremony Site

Guidance: You just had your beautiful wedding ceremony, what’s next? Formals with family & friends! While the timing for formals vary from wedding to wedding, we try to get everything done as soon as possible. Especially if there are little’s at your wedding. Generally, we tend to work with Grandparents and any little ones first, then move on to immediate family members and friends. Once booked with us, you will receive our comprehensive Photo Planner. This is where you can make your list of important people to photograph. It is during this time where we fulfill that list.

We also suggest appointing someone from both sides of the family who is not in the bridal party to help round people up.

Wedding Party Session

Ideal Time: 30 Min – 45 Min
Ideal Time of Day: Afternoon
Ideal Location: Ceremony Site, Park

Guidance: Formals just wrapped up. We now take you and your bridal party away to just focus on the bridal party. We do this first as we have encountered a couple of weddings where the bridal party has to leave to finish reception set up, taxi guests to the reception, etc.

Bride & Groom Session

Ideal Time: 30 Min – 60 Min
Ideal Time of Day: Afternoon
Ideal Location: Garden, Beach, Mountain Side, Park, Anywhere with Natural Light

Guidance: Bride & Groom Session should be around the 1-hour mark. This is the time where we capture those “Instagram bangers” These are the photos you print to hang in your living room.

Not sure how to pose? We got you covered as we will direct you.

Reception - Detail & Venue

Ideal Time: 15 Min – 30 Min
Ideal Time of Day: Afternoon / Early Evening
Ideal Location: Reception Site

Guidance: While it is ideal to photograph your reception venue & details without guests, we know this is not always possible. We will work around your guests if need be.

Similar to the ceremony details, this is the only opportunity we have to capture the beauty of the reception site prior to guest arrival.

Reception - Speeches

Ideal Time: 30 Min – 45 Min (No real ideal time allotment here. It takes as long as it takes)
Ideal Time of Day: Early Evening / After Dinner
Ideal Location: Reception Site

Guidance: There is no real guidance on speeches. We capture whoever is giving the speech along with crowd reactions.

Reception - Formal Dances

Ideal Time: 15 Min – 20 Min (Depends on how many dances you have)
Ideal Time of Day: Evening / After Dinner
Ideal Location: Reception Site

Guidance: This is generally the point where all of the “hard stuff” is done. It is time to kick back, relax and dance the night away. Leading off the dance is your formal dances. Traditionally, the standard format goes a little something like this…

Bride & Groom Dance
Bride + Father Dance (Can be consolidated into one dance with Groom + Mother)
Groom + Mother Dance (Can be consolidated into one dance with Bride + Father)
Bridal Party Dance
Open Dance Floor

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this article. We hope this blog post will give you a little insight into a “traditional” wedding day timeline.

As this is the Ideal Wedding PHOTOGRAPHY Timeline, it can also be used for Videography as well.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask! Head on over to our contact page and ask away!

– Nick & Jen Taylor

Proudly Serving Alberta, B.C. & Saskatchewan

Iuliia & Chris - Osoyoos BC Wedding Photographer - Watermark Beach Resort - Osoyoos, British Columbia - July 13, 2023 - Pulse Productions Inc
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