jada parrish
How to Manage a Wedding Day Timeline - Image Property of www.j-dphoto.com

How to Manage a Wedding Day Timeline

By Jada Parrish

Posted: 02/11/16
Category: Wedding Tips

One of the biggest challenges a wedding photographer faces on a wedding day is sticking to the timeline. There is SO much to photograph on a wedding day and time seems to move at super speed. This used to be something that would completely stress me out. I would feel frazzled trying to cram everything in to such a short amount of time. 

Over the past couple of years, I've found a couple of tricks that dramatically help with making wedding day timelines more manageable. 

I hope these simple tips help mitigate some of your stress and let you soak in more of the natural love and excitement of photographing your clients big day!


How to Manage a Wedding Day Timeline - Image Property of www.j-dphoto.com


1. Communicate

Be straight forward from the very beginning. It takes a little bit of time to pose large groups of people and capture gorgeous wedding portraits. We always write in our contract that we request 1 hour for portraits after the ceremony.

** Always be sure to mention that the 1 hour does not include travel time if traveling between ceremony and reception locations.


2. Ask for the Timeline Ahead of Time

1 month out from all of our weddings, I ask the bride to put together a wedding day timeline for us. I tell her what to include on it, and ask that she send it to us at least 2 weeks prior to their wedding date.

If I receive the contract and notice she has tried to cram too much into a short period of time, I will let her know and offer an alternative solution. Being on the lookout for potential problems with the timeline ahead of time and resolving them well before the wedding will make your life so much easier. I always make it my goal to be slightly ahead of schedule and never behind.


3. Suggest an Arrival Time

We have found that the more photos you can get taken before the cereomy starts, the better.  We always suggest that we arrive 3 hours before the start of the ceremony. Of course the final decision is always up to the bride, but I always let her know what my recommendation is.

During those 3 hours, I photograph all of the bridal details, getting ready shots, bridesmaid photos, and bridal portraits. While I am doing this, David is with the groom + groomsmen doing the same thing.  Having all of those photos taken before hand, will greatly cut down on time needed for photos after the ceremony.

If the bride and groom want to do a first look, even better! You will also have time to get some nice couples portraits taken of the two of them.


4. Keep Family Photos Organized

In addtion to asking for a wedding day timeline 1 month out, we also ask for a family photo shot list. I ask the bride + groom to write exactly who they would like in each family photo, so I can just call their names out and move quickly through those shots.

I also let them know that we recommend keeping these photos limited to immediate family and grandparents. When you start to add in aunts, uncles, cousins, and family friends it starts to take way too long. 

If they have any large group photos they want with extended family memers I ask them to write those down on a separate list. At a point during the reception, I get the band or DJ to announce those photos and quickly take them.


I feel like as a wedding photographer it's your job to educate the bride and groom a little bit. Remember, they most likely have never gotten married before and all of this is new to them. You on the other hand have probably been involved in more weddings than you can count. It's always ok to offer up suggestions to help make their wedding day run as smoothly as possible. Just remember the final decision is always theirs!!

Category: Wedding Tips

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