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Wedding Day Timeline: From a Film & Photo Team

Wedding Photographer & Filmmaker, Wedding Day Timeline

Let’s have a chat about wedding day timelines.

You’re engaged and you’re wondering what your wedding day is going to look like. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back.

It never fails: after being in this industry for nearly six years, wedding day timelines roll off my tongue as if it’s the easiest question I’ve ever answered in my life yet every client I create a timeline for is overjoyed with the fact that I just wrote out their entire day in a matter of five minutes. It’s the little things and today, I’m going to share with you the wedding day timeline secrets you’re all wondering. Stay with me, as I’m going to share with you a few different scenarios for the day of timeline and even if you have chosen to do a first look or not, I would still give it a read to make sure your day plays out the way you want to. Typically, your timelines are based a lot upon your photo + film needs throughout the day. Of course, if your ceremony begins at a different time, you can adjust as needed. If you have specific needs outside of the given example timelines, don’t hesitate to contact us so that we can help serve you.

These timeline scenarios have been looked over by the talented Drew Litty, CEO of The Litty Film Company, now business partner with SIX.FOUR.

Wedding Day Timeline – Traditional

This timeline would be used if you have hired both a photographer and a filmmaker on your wedding day, from both myself as a photographer and Drew Litty with The Litty Film Company. Note that this timeline works without a filmmaker too but please make sure to allow time for both creatives to tell your story. 

1:00 Filmmaker Arrives, Begins Setup
1:30 Photographer Arrives – Begins Detail Shots
(bring invitation and place all special items in a box and have both dress and florals ready)
2:00 Bride + Bridesmaids Get Ready
2:20 Groom + Groomsmen Get Ready/Toast
2:35 Groom – Letter Reading
(bridesmaids should be dressed before bride is dressed)
3:00 Bride – Letter Reading
3:10 Bride in Gown
3:30 Pre-Ceremony Photos Conclude
(if the bride would like a first look with dad, this is when she would schedule that)
4:00 Ceremony Music Begins/Guests Arrive
4:30 Ceremony Begins
5:00 Ceremony Ends, Family Formals Begins
5:15 Wedding Party Portraits
5:30 Wedding Couple Portraits
6:00 Reception Introductions
6:20 Dinner is Served
(at this point, the DJ will take the lead and reception special events are scheduled loosely)
7:15 Cake Cutting
7:25 First Dance, followed by other special dances
7:40 Toasts
8:00 Bouquet Toss, Garter Throw (optional)
8:20 Optional Sparkler Photo Opp
(because some of the guests will leave before wedding couple, placing the sparkler photo opportunity at dark will allow the majority to take part in this celebration)
8:20 Party Time – Photographer/Filmmaker leave after special events and some dancing

Pro Tip: Allow 5-10 minutes for sunset photos during your reception. This time of day offers you fantastic lighting outside and taking a few minutes away from your guests after they are fed is no big deal. The timing of this depends on the time of sunset on your wedding day.

Wedding Day Timeline – Catholic

This timeline would be used if you have hired both a photographer and a filmmaker on your wedding day that includes a catholic ceremony, from both myself as a photographer and Drew Litty with The Litty Film Company. Note that this timeline works without a filmmaker too but please make sure to allow time for both creatives to tell your story. 

1:30 Photographer Arrives – Begins Detail Shots
(bring invitation and place all special items in a box and have both dress and florals ready)
2:00 Bride + Bridesmaids Get Ready
2:20 Groom + Groomsmen Get Ready/Toast
2:35 Groom – Letter Reading
(bridesmaids should be dressed before bride is dressed)
3:00 Bride – Letter Reading
3:10 Bride in Gown
3:30 Pre-ceremony Photos Conclude
(if the bride would like a first look with dad, this is when she would schedule that)
4:00 Ceremony Music Begins/Guests Arrive
4:30 Ceremony Begins
5:30 Ceremony Ends, Family Formals Begins
5:45 Travel to Reception Location
6:10 Wedding Party Portraits
6:30 Wedding Couple Portraits
7:00 Reception Introductions
7:20 Dinner is Served
(at this point, the DJ will take the lead and reception special events are scheduled loosely)
8:15 Cake Cutting
8:25 First Dance, followed by other special dances
8:40 Toasts
9:00 Bouquet Toss, Garter Throw (optional)
9:20 Optional Sparkler Photo Opp
(because some of the guests will leave before wedding couple, placing the sparkler photo opportunity at dark will allow the majority to take part in this celebration)
9:20 Party Time – Photographer/Filmmaker leave after special events and some dancing

Pro Tip: Allow 5-10 minutes for sunset photos during your reception. This time of day offers you fantastic lighting outside and taking a few minutes away from your guests after they are fed is no big deal. The timing of this depends on the time of sunset on your wedding day.

Wedding Day Timeline – First Look

This timeline would be used if you have hired both a photographer without a first look and a filmmaker on your wedding day, from both myself as a photographer and Drew Litty with The Litty Film Company. Note that this timeline works without a filmmaker too but please make sure to allow time for both creatives to tell your story. 

12:00 Photographer Arrives – Begins Detail Shots
(bring invitation and place all special items in a box and have both dress and florals ready)
12:30 Bride + Bridesmaids Get Ready
1:00 Groom + Groomsmen Get Ready/Toast
1:15 Groom – Letter Reading
(bridesmaids should be dressed before bride is dressed)
1:40 Bride – Letter Reading
2:00 Bride into Gown
2:30 First Look
2:40 Wedding Couple Portraits
3:10 Wedding Party Portraits
3:30 Pre-ceremony Photos Conclude
(if the bride would like a first look with dad, this is when she would schedule that)
4:00 Ceremony Music Begins/Guests Arrive
4:30 Ceremony Begins
5:00 Ceremony Ends, Family Formals Begins
5:15 Reception Introductions, Couple Joins Cocktail Hour
(couple has the choice to either join cocktail hour and visit with guests before dinner but can also choose to begin dinner after reception introductions)
6:15 Dinner is Served
(at this point, the DJ will take the lead and reception special events are scheduled loosely)
7:15 Cake Cutting
7:25 First Dance, followed by other special dances
7:40 Toasts
8:00 Bouquet Toss, Garter Throw (optional)
8:20 Optional Sparkler Photo Opp
(because some of the guests will leave before wedding couple, placing the sparkler photo opportunity at dark will allow the majority to take part in this celebration)
8:20 Party Time – Photographer/Filmmaker leave after special events and some dancing

Timeline Pro Tips:

  1. If you can coordinate with your hair and makeup team to finish about 30-60 minutes after the photographer and filmmaker show up, you’ll be set for the pre-ceremony festivities. If you need help with coordinating this, just let us know!
  2. Allow 5-10 minutes for sunset photos during your reception. This time of day offers you fantastic lighting outside and taking a few minutes away from your guests after they are fed is no big deal. The timing of this depends on the time of sunset on your wedding day.
  3. Every wedding day is different and although these are pretty standard timelines, you are allowed to make changes, be different and also, it’s okay if it doesn’t go exactly as planned. Professionals are there to handle difficult situations and go with the flow of the day. After all, we just want to serve you well.
  4. Make sure you allot time for interviews when choosing film for your wedding day. We want you to relax and allow yourself to be vulnerable. It’s a big day, we get it, and we want you to be able to enjoy it.

Thanks for reading- we’ll be back soon with more fun resources for your wedding day <3

Ashley Stein (& Drew!)

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I'm a passionate mama, wife and friend who has learned the value of time through my journey as an entrepreneur. Like I value my time, I value the time of others too and it's my passion to help you through your journey efficiently and gracefully so that no time is wasted doing things that don't matter.

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