Planning Your Wedding Day Timeline


WHICH PACKAGE SHOULD YOU CHOOSE?


The last thing anyone wants on their wedding day is to be running behind. Rushing through a timeline due to poor planning only adds unnecessary amounts of stress on you, family members, and vendors.

Obviously you can’t plan for everything and situations WILL arise that will throw your timeline off a bit but with careful planning and foresight, these situations will hardly cause a ripple in your plans.

In this blog post I’m going to run through some general timelines for the different packages I offer. These aren’t timelines you HAVE to use (though you certainly can if you want to!) but rather, timelines to draw inspiration from when planning your own day.

Before we delve into this, let me quickly touch on the topic of first looks.

Although I respect all wedding traditions and will never push you to have one, I will always recommend a first look for the following reasons:

1) It opens up your timeline

When you opt out of a first look, all your photos (ALL of them — portraits, wedding party, family and groups shots, etc) will happen after your ceremony and mostly during cocktail hour. Expect all of these to take a minimum of one hour with me grabbing you later on during the reception for an additional 30 minutes of portraits. This is a lot of smiling for an hour. Start prepping those cheeks now. Also, you (and a good number of your guests) will miss cocktail hour — boohiss.

2) It calms those jitters

Seriously. You don’t realize what a bundle of nerves you’ll be until your wedding day. Having the opportunity to see one another in a private, intimate setting prior to the ceremony will take a buttload of weight off your shoulders.

3) You’ll get better photos

Trust me on this one. While the groom-reaction-shot as you’re walking down the aisle is pretty stellar, I won’t be able to capture those tears quite as well when trying to dodge your future mother-in-law’s toes or trying my best not to back into the maid of honor. Doing a first look gives you a chance to really take it all in. You can hug him. He can tell you how incredible you look. You can laugh. And cry. Together. Also, think about it. When are you more likely to let those genuine emotions take over? When it’s just the two of you in an intimate setting or when you have 200 pairs of eye balls watching your every move?

4) Privacy!

I know your family and friends are a huge part of your day but I highly recommend keeping your first look as private as possible! This should be a time set aside just for you and your fiancé (and me). This is the moment where you see you future spouse for the first time and it should be a moment you treasure together forever.

Because I’m such a huge advocate for first looks, all my mock timelines below will include an example WITH a first look and an example WITHOUT a first look.


Feel free to scroll down to the hourly coverage you want to use for your own day!

4 HOUR PACKAGE

This half-day package is great for week-day elopements and small winter weddings. Because of it’s shortened timeline, it can only be used Monday through Thursday during the months of May - December. During the winter months of January - April, when the days are short and the weather frigid, this package can be used any day of the week for your elopement or small wedding.

With this package, I recommend having me start 90 minutes before you put your dress/suit on. This gives me enough time to photograph both of you (if you’re getting ready separately) and any specific wedding details before a first look.

During your first look, I’ll grab all of your formal portraits so plan for approximately 30 minutes for these if we’re staying on site or close to your ceremony location.

If you have a wedding party, they’ll join us at the end of your formal portraits and we’ll knock all these shots out before your ceremony!

Because I am an over-preparer and want to make sure you have time to freshen up before your ceremony, I plan for a 30 minute window between portraits and the start of your ceremony. This gives you two a minute to relax, use the bathroom, freshen up, etc. before your big debut! Also during this time I can grab those important ceremony details and shots of the guests as they arrive.

Depending on how long your ceremony is, expect me to stay 30-60 minutes after it. This allows time for family photos (best taken immediately following the ceremony before everyone heads for the bar!) and a few minutes of reception coverage.

Examples:

WITH FIRST LOOK

2pm — Whitney begins with getting ready photos & detail shots 2 - 2:30pm — Whitney with groom 2:30 - 3:30pm — Whitney with bride 3:45pm — First look

3:45 - 4:15pm — Couple’s portraits 4:15 - 4:30pm — Wedding party photos 4:30 - 5pm — Couple hidden away, Whitney grabs ceremony detail shots & photos of guests

5 - 5:30pm — Ceremony 5:30 - 6pm — Family photos

6pm — Whitney finished

WITHOUT FIRST LOOK

1pm — Whitney begins with getting ready photos & detail shots 1 - 1:30pm — Whitney with groom 1:30 - 2:30pm — Whitney with bride 2:30 - 3pm — Whitney grabs ceremony detail shots & photos of guests

3 - 3:30pm — Ceremony 3:30 - 4pm — Family photos 4 - 4:15pm — Wedding party photos 4:15 - 5pm — Couple’s portraits

5pm — Whitney finished

Here are a few full galleries from weddings that used the 4 hour package!

Michelle & Brian at the Lake Placid Lodge

Emily & Dan at the Lake Placid Lodge

Caitlin & Leif at Point au Roche


6 HOUR PACKAGE

A six hour timeline works great for those wanting minimal reception coverage. Oftentimes the couple relies on friends and family to record the events happening after the ceremony and prefer me to focus on the beginning part of the day.

Examples:

WITH FIRST LOOK

1pm — Whitney begins with getting ready photos, detail shots, venue shots, etc.

3:15pm — Couple begins to get dressed

3:30 - 3:45pm — Individual portraits

3:45 - 4:15pm — First look & couple’s portraits

4:15 - 4:30pm — Wedding party photos

4:30 - 5pm — Couple hidden away, Whitney grabs ceremony detail shots & photos of guests

5 - 5:30pm — Ceremony

5:30 - 6pm — Family & group portraits

5:30 - 6:30pm — Cocktail hour

6:30pm — Guests seated, couple announced right into first dance

6:40pm — First dance

6:45pm — Parent dances 7pm — Whitney finished

WITHOUT FIRST LOOK

2pm — Whitney begins with getting ready photos, detail shots, venue shots, etc.

3:15pm — Couple begins to get dressed

3:30 - 3:45pm — Individual portraits

3:45 - 4:15pm — Separate wedding party photos

4:30 - 5pm — Couple hidden away, Whitney grabs ceremony detail shots & photos of guests

5 - 5:30pm — Ceremony

5:30 - 5:45pm — Family & group portraits 5:45 - 6pm — Wedding party photos

6 - 6:30pm — Couple’s portraits

5:30 - 6:30pm — Cocktail hour

6:30pm — Guests seated, couple announced right into first dance

6:40pm — First dance

6:45pm — Parent dances

7pm — Dinner

7:15pm — Toasts

7:45pm — Sunset portraits with couple 8pm — Whitney finished

Here's are full galleries from weddings that used the 6 hour package!

Emma & Neil on Whiteface Mountain

Alexis & Leif at Vesco Ridge Vineyard


8 HOUR PACKAGE

An eight hour timeline manages to cover all the bases on a typical wedding day! This timeline looks similar to the six hour day with the exception being more time is added at the end for reception coverage.

Examples:

WITH FIRST LOOK

1pm — Whitney begins with getting ready photos, detail shots, venue shots, etc.

3:15pm — Couple begins to get dressed

3:30 - 3:45pm — Individual portraits

3:45 - 4:15pm — First look & couple’s portraits

4:15 - 4:30pm — Wedding party photos

4:30 - 5pm — Couple hidden away, Whitney grabs ceremony detail shots & photos of guests

5 - 5:30pm — Ceremony

5:30 - 6pm — Family & group portraits

5:30 - 6:30pm — Cocktail hour

6:30pm — Guests seated, couple announced right into first dance

6:40pm — First dance

6:45pm — Parent dances 7pm — Dinner

7:30pm — Toasts

7:45pm — Sunset portraits with the couple

7:45pm — Dance floor opens up

9pm — Whitney finished

WITHOUT FIRST LOOK

1pm — Whitney begins with getting ready photos, detail shots, venue shots, etc.

3:15pm — Couple begins to get dressed

3:30 - 3:45pm — Individual portraits

3:45 - 4:15pm — Separate wedding party photos

4:30 - 5pm — Couple hidden away, Whitney grabs ceremony detail shots & photos of guests

5 - 5:30pm — Ceremony

5:30 - 5:45pm — Family & group portraits 5:45 - 6pm — Wedding party photos

6 - 6:30pm — Couple’s portraits

5:30 - 6:30pm — Cocktail hour

6:30pm — Guests seated, couple announced right into first dance

6:40pm — First dance

6:45pm — Parent dances

7pm — Dinner

7:15pm — Toasts

7:45pm — Sunset portraits with couple 8pm — Open dance floor

9pm — Whitney finished

Here are a few full galleries from weddings that used the 8 hour package!

Meg & Steve at Oak Mountain

Kelly & James at an AirBnB in Wilmington


10 HOUR PACKAGE

A ten hour timeline allows for additional time for couple’s portraits, especially great if you want them taken at a separate location away from where your wedding is being held. Similar to the six and eight hour days, you’ll notice a larger window for portraits before and after the ceremony.

Examples:

WITH FIRST LOOK

11am — Whitney begins with getting ready photos, detail shots, venue shots, etc.

12:30pm — Couple begins to get dressed

12:30 - 12:45pm — Individual portraits

12:45pm — First look

12:45 - 2pm — Couple’s portraits

2 - 2:30pm — Wedding party photos

2:30 - 3pm — Family & group portraits

3 - 3:30pm — Couple hidden away, Whitney grabs ceremony detail shots & photos of guests

3:30 - 4pm — Ceremony

4 - 5pm — Cocktail hour

5pm — Guests seated, couple announced

5:10pm — First dance

5:15pm — Parent dances

5:30pm — Dinner

5:45pm — Toasts

6pm — Dance floor opens

7 - 7:45pm — Sunset portraits with the couple

8pm — Open dance floor

9pm — Whitney finished

WITHOUT FIRST LOOK

12pm — Whitney begins with getting ready photos, detail shots, venue shots, etc.

1:30pm — Couple begins to get dressed

1:45 - 2:15pm — Individual portraits

2:15 - 3pm — Separate wedding party photos

3 - 3:30pm — Couple hidden away, Whitney grabs ceremony detail shots & photos of guests

3:30 - 4pm — Ceremony

4 - 4:30pm — Family & group portraits

4:30 - 5pm — Wedding party photos

4 - 5pm — Cocktail hour

5pm — Guests seated, couple announced

5:10pm — First dance

5:15pm — Parent dances

5:30pm — Dinner

5:45pm — Toasts

6pm — Dance floor opens

7 - 8pm — Sunset portraits with the couple

8pm — Open dance floor

10pm — Whitney finished

Here are a few full galleries from weddings that used the 10 hour package!

Stanzi & Evan at a Private Estate in Lake Placid

Courtney & Brandon at Jimbo's on the Point

Caitlin & Matt at the Mountain House in Keene


Again, these are just general timelines I send to couples when we first start planning out their day! Nothing is ever set in stone and timelines shift and move according to what your needs are. If you're working with a wedding planner who's helping you plan out your day, that's fantastic! We'll work closely together to make sure everything you want covered is photographed and you'll receive the best light possible in every situation!

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