The Ultimate Wedding Day Photo Checklist

Mr and Mrs Calhoun 7 (1 of 1)

Congratulations,  YOU are getting married!

“How much time should we plan for wedding photography?”

If you’re feeling lost when it comes to working out your wedding photography timeline, you’re not alone! I get asked this question from nearly every couple I have worked with, and I am here to offer you all the advice I have to give. Long story short, come your wedding day, time will fly by. I can promise you this. Too much time or boredom is never the issue. The greatest piece of advice that I can offer is to work in more time than you anticipate needing, wherever possible. I have seen and heard about wedding preparations going 30 minutes, 1 hour, even multiple hours behind schedule. When makeup artists arrive late, hair takes twice as long as expected, or sudden traffic brings everything to a screeching halt, it isn’t usually the ceremony or reception that get pushed back. It’s the formal photography that takes the hit. Which stinks.

Here’s the good news: A good photographer will know how to run with the punches, and you don’t have to panic!

That being said, a good photographer will also offer any experience morsels in the planning to help make that time hit as minimal as possible. That is what I am here to do. I’ve drafted up multiple wedding timelines for different size events that I cover. This timeline varies of course with the size of your event. We will go over this together for help with creating your own wedding timeline!


A FEW GENERAL WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY TIMELINE TIPS: Remember this is important for you to do.

  • Make sure that wedding party and family members know ahead of time exactly where and when to be ready and dressed for photos. Having to track down the rogue groomsman or understandably a slow-moving grandparent can really suck up time, quickly.
  • If you are not doing a first look and you would like to save time between the ceremony and reception, it never hurts to do the bride/bridesmaid photos and the groom/groomsman photos before the ceremony, separately. That way, you can just get the group together after the wedding for a few photos all together, which can save a lot of time!
  • I highly advise that you avoid planning any formal photography within 1 hour of the ceremony. During this time, you two should be taking care of out fit touch ups, putting your feet up, and getting into a good place (physically, emotionally and mentally) to walk down the aisle and marry your best friend. This can vary however depending on the uniqueness of your wedding and your timeline needs.
  • Make sure to incorporate start and stop times for your wedding photographer into your wedding timeline. This is mostly to be sure that you know exactly the coverage you’ll be getting. But we will go through that during your consultation and with your package that you choose that fits your wedding needs, the best! So don’t worry. The last thing you want to do is accidentally schedule your first dances at 7 when your photographer leaves at 6.


IMPORTANT NOTE: The time estimations below do not include travel times. Of course on the obvious side, additional time for travel would include transportation between locations, such as bus & car rides etc.. But don’t forget to also factor in additional time for smaller, seemingly insignificant times it would take to travel from one point to another —- such as a walk from a second story bridal suite to a courtyard outside. You’d be surprised how much time a big wedding dress and heels can add-on to even a short walk! Simply put, when planning your timeline, plan on being at the spot, ready to take photos for your photo “start times”. So if this involves a 400 yard walk across something like a field outside of a barn, best to put that in the timeline, too. I promise, promise, promise. The more detailed you get with your timeline, the smoother your day will go! I can guarantee you will thank yourself in the end.

Please keep in mind though that all wedding timelines are highly variable depending on:

  • The amount of coverage you decide to schedule with your wedding photographer. Each package you choose is different – so keep that in mind! You can’t have a package for 12 hour coverage with all the stops crammed into a package meant to hold only 4 hours etc. You get the idea.
  • The number of people involved.
  • The readiness and cooperation of people involved.
  • The number/variety of shots you would like in a given group. The more variety — the longer this will take.
  • and really, the overall smoothness of the day.


If you feel like its going to be a tight squeeze, it never hurts to buffer in more time


by Ashley Jenkins