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The Perfect Wedding Timeline if You are NOT Doing a First Look - Image Property of www.j-dphoto.com

The Perfect Wedding Timeline if You are NOT Doing a First Look

By Jada Parrish

Posted: 07/29/19
Category: Wedding Tips

Not doing a a first look? Don't worry we have you covered! 

Putting together your wedding timeline can be a little stressful. You want your wedding day to flow as naturally as possible while simultaneously making sure you have plenty of time for everything and are able to thoroughly enjoy your big day. 

Here is the perfect wedding timeline if you are having an 8+ hour wedding day and are NOT doing a first look.

To simplify things, we will just say the ceremony is scheduled for 5:00pm, but you can adjust accordingly if your ceremony will begin at a different time.


2:00pm: Photography begins

  • Snap a few photos of hair + makeup being done

2:10pm: Begin detail shots

  • I usually start with the wedding dress then I photograph the invitation suite, rings, bouquets, jewelry, shoes, veil, perfume, etc

2:30pm: Bridesmaids get dressed

  • I like to have the bridesmaids get dressed before the bride so that they look nice and can help the bride get dressed

2:40pm: Bride gets dressed

  • I usually have the bride's mother or maid of honor help her into her wedding dress
  • Then I take photos of all the bridesmaids assisting

3:00pm: Start the groosmen photos

  • David and the groomsmen will head outside to start their photos

3:30pm: Bridesmaid Photos

  • Once the groomsmen have finished their photos and are out of sight, I will take the bride + bridemaids outside to begin their photos

4:00pm: Finish all Photos

  • Wedding party returns to the bridal suite for last minute touchups and a few minutes to relax
  • David and I photograph the untouched ceremony setup before guests arrive

4:30pm: Guests begin to arrive

  • David and I photograph guests entering and get in place for the ceremony

5:00pm: Ceremony begins

  • Most ceremonies last about 30 minutes
  • We will discretely photograph the entire time

5:30pm: Ceremony ends

  • Bride + groom exit
  • Wedding party + family exit
  • Make sure all family + wedding party + bride and groom head to a secluded location when they exit that is away from the wedding guests
  • Do not let members of the family or wedding party wander off

5:35pm: Guests head to cocktail hour

  • It is best to create a separate space for cocktail hour that is different than the reception space

5:40pm: Start family photos

  • We will begin formal photos with your immediate family and grandparents (if you have any photos with friends or extended family you want taken, we can take those during the reception) 
  • We will take all photos you have requested on your family photo shot list
  • Once we finish family photos, the family can head to cocktail hour

6:00 pm: Full Wedding Party Photos

  • We will photograph the entire wedding party together and do a few different poses
  • Once we finish these photos, the wedding party can head to cocktail hour

6:15pm: Couples portraits

  • We take photos of the bride and groom in several different poses at different spots around the venue

6:35pm: Finish all photos

  • Grab a drink, get your dress bustled, and prepare to be introduced
  • David and I will head into the reception and photograph the untouched reception setup before guests enter

6:45pm: Guests enter the reception and take their seats

  • Wedding party is introduced
  • Bride + Groom are introduced

6:55pm: Bride + Groom share their first dance

  • Father/Daughter + Mother/Son dances ----- you can choose to do these later in the evening, it is just my personal preference to do them at the beginning
  • Welcome Toast AND/OR blessing

7:10pm: Dinner

  • Depending on if you are having a plated, buffet style, or family style dinner - the timing of dinner will vary

8:00pm: Toasts begin

  • Usually the Father of the Bride, Maid of Honor, or Best Man give a toast

8:15pm: Cake cutting

8:20pm: Dance floor opens

  • If you are planning to do a bouquet/garter toss, you can do it at any point after the dance floor has opened
  • If you have any large photos you would like with friends or extended family (EX: Everyone who went to UVA), have the band or DJ announce it at a time they think is appropriate

9:00pm: Late night snacks

  • If you plan on serving any late night snacks like sliders, tacos, pizza, etc. this is the perfect time

9:30pm: Last call for alcohol

9:50pm: Last dance 

  • Start the last dance a few minutes early to avoid running overtime with your photographer, videographer, and other vendors. It takes guests much longer than you'd think to gather their belongings and line up for a send-off

10:00pm: Send-off

  • Have fun with your send off! Consider doing sparklers, glow sticks, streamers, bubbles, or rose petals
  • Make sure to walk through the send off. Stop in the middle and at the end for big kisses - these make great photo ops!


Category: Wedding Tips

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