Michelle and I know how overwhelming planning a wedding can be since we planned our wedding ourselves without a planner. So, we wanted to put these tips out for everyone who might be doing the same thing! Even if you do have a wedding planner, make sure these times line up to what we or your photographer recommends. We thought it would be great to have a resource out there that helps you plan what your wedding day will look like so that you give us (or the photographer you choose) enough time to capture those moments you want perfectly! 

We want you to enjoy every minute of your wedding day and it should flow effortlessly and evenly. Consider the events below when planning your wedding day and feel free to plan out more time for the things that are really important to you (or less for the ones that you don’t care about so much!)  


30 minutes to 1 hour

Everything from shoes to jewelry to invitations, you’ve put a lot of thought into everything that you put into your wedding so we want to capture that. 

Getting Ready: 

30 minutes to 1.5 hours

 Both of you. You may just want the final touches, getting into your dress, or putting on your tie and cuff-links. Or you may want these last moments with your friends before your married. Or you could want the moment you get to the bridal suite until you leave to get married! A lot of brides want shots of them putting on their lipstick or having their hair curled or the groom buttoning his shirt. However, keep in mind that we can always stage a lot of these pictures if you are pressed for time!

First Look / “No Look”:

15 minutes to 30 minutes

  We recommend this 100%! Whether you see each other or just hold hands with a door separating you, you may want to take a quiet moment together, without all the commotion. You can take this time to talk, hold hands, exchange gifts, pray, or let your emotions show in private. You may also want to consider that a first look allows you get almost all your photos done before the ceremony even starts. So once you are married, all you have to do is get the family photos and it’s time to celebrate and relax. But waiting to see each other until the ceremony is very traditional and sweet, so choose whatever you have your heart set on!

Wedding Ceremony: 

30 minutes to 1.5 hours

Depending on your beliefs, ceremony style, or just different components that are important to you, your ceremony may be short and sweet or you may have communion, songs, rituals, or readings. People often over/underestimate how long their ceremony might last, so take time to really time things out and consult your pastor/officiant about this.

Family Portraits:

1 hour (total)

 Regardless of if you see each other before or not, we do your immediate family portraits (parents, siblings, etc.) before the wedding ceremony, separately, so that the big family photos afterwards of both sides (aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents) are quick and easy. This lets your guests enjoy more of the cocktail hour (Or if you don’t have an official cocktail hour – this gives time for guests to mingle and grab some water). Plan on 30 minutes before the ceremony (15 minutes per side) and 30 minutes after the ceremony. This holds true unless you have a huge family then count on about 3 minutes per grouping of family members (aunt + uncle + bride + groom + cousin joe;  bride + groom + cousin joe) It is also a great idea to go ahead and plan out a list of the photos your want so we can keep the family photos going quickly and efficiently.

The Wedding Party:

30+ minutes

These people are obviously people you care about, so make sure you have enough time to get plenty of photos! If this is something that you have a lot of ideas for or you want an individual picture with each bridesmaid, consider allowing more than 30 minutes. If you just want a couple group shots, then 30 minutes should be fine. If you do a first look, we can do this before the ceremony with the whole wedding party. If not, we can do just the bride and bridesmaids/just the groom and groomsmen beforehand, then everyone together when the ceremony is over.

The Newlywed Couple: 

1 hour to 1.5 hours

This is one of the most overlooked times of the day! This is why you hire us, to photograph you two. This YOUR wedding day. The whole reason everyone has come together. Don’t cut yourselves short. We want to get the essence of the day, the emotions you both are feeling, and beautiful portraits that you, your kids, and your grandkids can look at and feel like they knew you and were there! 

Wedding Reception: 

2 hours to 5 hours

Of course you want pictures of your first dance, the cake cutting, and parent dances, but you may not need those embarrassing photos of your guests after they are having a little too much fun!  Most of the main events are done after a couple of hours but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything still worth photographing. We often get some of the most intimate dancing shots towards the end as the night is wrapping up. 


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