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We all know the phrase- “teamwork makes the dream work”. And nothing can be further from the truth. How many times we've seen things go south at a wedding? Nearly all of them. Some minuscule, where it didn’t make an impact. Sometimes we’ve seen major changes happen on the fly. Other times, which is rare, the wedding sadly falls apart. We hate for plans to change given the fact that most couples work ten times as hard and spend thousands to have their dream wedding. This is our guide for couples planning their timeline process so that whoever is a part of the team can enjoy the planned dream wedding stress-free.

*Note. This will not work for all types of weddings. Use this as a guide to building your own timeline with your significant other, planner, coordinator, or person-in-charge.

Bride and groom walking, holding hands, and sharing a laugh.
Monica & Marquise enjoying a walk together.

Getting Ready For The Wedding Day

Time: 3-4 hours

Plan capture time: 1-2 hours

The beginning of the day sets the tone for the entire day, so let's get this right. This moment should be a calm one. Not one where you feel like you're scrambling or anxious and not present. If you're feeling overwhelmed with knocking things off your checklist, it's okay to designate duties to your trusted bridesmaids or groomsmen while you have a refreshing pick-me-up. Communicate to your makeup and hair team (and to the people you're getting ready with) to de-clutter the space for amazing captures.

*Consider Travel Time

Time: n/a

Capture time: varies

The biggest thing to consider here is the time it takes to travel from the hotel or house to your venue. If you're getting ready at the venue then there's not much to worry about. Even while traveling, do something fun like toasting champagne and for the guys a round of beers.

Indian couple sharing a sunrise moment.
Ami and Neil sharing a sunrise first look.

First Look With Your Soon-To-Be Spouse

Time: 10 minutes

Capture time: 5 minutes

If this is happening at your wedding, your photo/video team with the help of your planner/coordinator will find a secluded location for this to happen. The question for you is if you would want this to be just an "us" thing or if close friends/family are allowed to witness happiness from a distance.

First Look with Parents, Bridesmaids, or Kids

Time: 10 minutes

Capture time: 5 minutes

Why should you do a first look with your parents or simply with anyone other than the person you're marrying? It's just another way to say "thank you" to your parents. With your girls, it's a way to feel the ultimate love and much-needed adulation before getting married. Think of it as an acknowledgment energy booster to get you pumped right before your first look with your soon-to-be-husband.

When The Wedding Guests Begin To Arrive

Time: 15 minutes

Capture time: Various

During this time, guests are signing in. They might be grabbing a drink, mingling, or greeting family that they haven't seen in some time. Your choice of music is played to provide a great atmosphere. Your photo/video team should capture little gems during this time.

The Processional And Your Walk Down The Aisle

Time: 8 minutes + another 3 for the Bride to settle.

Capture time: the entire time.

We've seen this play out in more ways than one. It's been comical, serious, heart-warming, breathtaking... pretty much anything you can imagine. All we can say is- have fun, be present, and enjoy this fantastic moment especially if you're seeing each other for the first time.

Bride and groom kissing after announced husband and wife.
Bryanna & Rick Announced as Husband and Wife.

The Ceremony

Time: 25-30 minutes

Capture time: the entire time.

Make this your own. Yes, have the traditional vows, rings, readings, prayer, etc. but do something different. Something you will remember. Something that says something about your journey. Something so deep that it leaves your guests feeling the love you feel for each other.

The Recessional

Time: 3 minutes

Capture time: the entire time.

Once you've been announced as husband and wife, proceed with your first kiss. Then take the time to soak it in for a moment before making your leave. Have another kiss right at the end of the aisle for a gorgeous shot of your loved ones celebrating you.

Group Photos At The Ceremony Site

Time: 30 - 45 minutes

Photo capture time: the entire time.

Video capture time: varies.

To make things smooth and fast. Have a list of combinations of guests, friends, and family. Then slowly release them one by one into the cocktail area.

Short Portrait Session

Time: 15 minutes

Photo Time: 15 minutes

Video Time: 15 minutes

Anytime you have photography and video capturing moments like this, make sure you introduce them to one another before they meet in person at the wedding. Why? It's important to do things in synch or for your team to take turns so that time is not extended for this part of the day. In addition, it won't be fair if photography gets this part in and video doesn't, or vice-versa. Remember one service is not above the other. You're hiring both to capture flawless moments and preserve memories.

Cocktail Hour

Time: 60 minutes

Capture time: varies.

This might coincide with your portrait session. Ensure your photographer and videographer has a second shooter to capture moments that you're not able to see. Unless your timeline is spaced out evenly so that your main photographer or videographer can capture the cocktail without missing a beat.

Grand Entrance

Time: 5-10 minutes

Capture time: the entire time.

Once everybody takes their seats, all eyes will be on the two of you. Make this a fun, memorable moment with a great dance or pumped-up bridal party for your vendor team to capture the spirit of your closest friends or family.

Bride and groom sharing their first dance in front of guests.
Diana & Sam Having Their First Dance.

First Dance

Time: 3 minutes

Capture time: the entire time.

Having your first dance right after your entrance will make a great transition from one energetic moment to a subtle and sweet moment. If you have stage fright, keep eye contact with your partner and tune into the moment. Then everyone will disappear and it'll feel like it's just the two of you.


Time: 15-20 minutes

Photo time: varies.

Video time: the entire time.

Toasts can vary for each speaker. We recommend each person you allow to speak tell a different story. It allows videographers to tell your story as a whole starting from the beginning of your relationship to where you are now and where you're going in the future. It's also wise to choose people who have great candor and can express your story in a powerful way while entertaining your guests. We recommend finding a DJ who is willing to work with your videographer so that they can obtain great audio from the mixer or speaker. There have been situations where the DJ forgets to let the photo/video team that speeches are going to happen. It takes time especially for videographers to get ready for this moment. Being on the same team will surely make this work.

Traditional Dances

Time: 6 minutes

Capture time: the entire time.

If you're having a traditional dance with your parent, we recommend choosing music they will enjoy too. This part will also be a great transition from attention on the dance floor to opening up the dance floor.

Cake Cutting

Time: 5 minutes

Capture time: the entire time.

To smash or not to smash? Choose wisely so as to not upset your partner. Coordinators remember to bring a plate with utensils with a cutting knife, a serving pointed spatula, and an extra napkin just in case it gets messy.

Bouquet Toss & Garter Toss

Time: 10 minutes

Capture time: the entire time.

What a fun way to include your non-married guests in the fold. All we can say this late in the evening is to enjoy the moment and don't forget to take a photo with the winners.

Bride and groom walking and holding hands with veil hanging below.
Amanda and Cullen Walking Back After Taking Sunset Photos.

Sunset Session

Time: 30 - 60 minutes

Capture time: the entire time.

Just like your portrait session, ensure your vendors are on the same page about this before the wedding. It may feel like you have all the time in the world, but sunsets go rather fast. And it will never be enough. Just know that this moment is one of the real last moments of just the two of you in a secluded location. Savor the moment.


Time: 3 - 4 hours

Capture time: varies.

Bustle up, let loose, and have a ton of fun!

Last Dance

Time: 3 minutes

Capture time: the entire time.

Whether this is a moment for just the two of you or inviting all the lovely couples to the dance floor to slow it down one last time, embrace this moment of serenity.

Grand Exit

Time: 5 minutes

Capture time: the entire time.

If you decide to have a grand exit, make it fun! The last moment of the night deserves a last burst of energy from your guests. Include sparklers if you can, bubbles, lights, smokes, flower petals, etc. get creative! Some couples exit in a luxurious car for a grand send-off.

Now that you have a clear idea of what to include in your timeline and how to time it accordingly, check out the recommended timelines below and use it as a guide to making your own with your planner, coordinator, or partner.

Bride and Groom at Canyon Overlook at Zion National Park.
Hanneh & Matt in the Final Moments of Their Wedding Day


9:00 am - vendors arrive at the venue

11:00 am - media team arrives at groom's suite

12:00 pm - bride finishes getting ready

12:30 pm - bridal puts on the dress

12:45 pm - first look with father

1:00 pm - first look

1:15 pm - letter reading/prayer

1:00 pm - guests arrive, sign in, and find seats

1:30 pm - processional

1:35 pm - ceremony

2:05 pm - ceremony ends

2:10 pm - group photos

2:15 pm - cocktail hour

3:00 pm - guests find seats

3:15 pm - grand entrance

3:20 pm - first dance

3:25 pm - dinner begins

4:00 pm - toasts

4:30 pm - father/daughter dance & mother/son dance

4:40 pm - open dance floor

5:00 pm - cake cutting

5:15 pm - sunset portraits

6:00 pm - garter/bouquet toss

7:00 pm - last dance

7:15 pm - grand exit


10:00 am - vendors arrive at the venue

1:00 pm - media team arrives at groom's suite

2:00 pm - bride finishes getting ready

2:30 pm - bridal puts on the dress

2:45 pm - first look with girls

3:30 pm - first look

4:00 pm - guests arrive, mingle, grab a drink

4:30 pm - processional

4:35 pm - ceremony

5:00 pm - ceremony ends

5:05 pm - group photos

5:10 pm - cocktail hour

6:00 pm - guests find seats

6:15 pm - grand entrance

6:20 pm - first dance

6:25 pm - buffet

7:00 pm - toasts

7:30 pm - father/daughter dance & mother/son dance

7:40 pm - open dance floor

8:00 pm - cake cutting

8:15 pm - sunset portraits

8:45 pm - garter/bouquet toss

9:45 pm - last dance

9:50 pm - grand exit


1:00 pm - Photographers arrive

1:30 pm - Getting Ready Photos

2:45 pm - First touch, prayer & First Look with Bride’s Father

3:00 pm - Ceremony

3:30 pm - Photos with family and friends

4:00 pm - Cocktail/Reception/Hangout

  • First Dance, Father/Daughter Dance, Mother/Son Dance

  • Speeches

  • Cake Cutting

5:30 pm - Eat & Freshen Up

6:00 pm - Leave for the hike

7:00 pm - Hike & photos until the sun sets

Do you need photography, videography, a photo booth, or rentals for your wedding? Check out our websites for more:


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