Jessica Scott Photography

Wedding Timeline 101

WeddingJessica ScottComment


great photos start with great lighting, and a great timeline is centered around that.


Wedding timelines can be so stinking hard to figure out (can I get an amen?!), and with all the other wedding planning details there are to take care of, the timeline usually gets pushed to the side until the last minute. However, a timeline is potentially one of the most important parts of your wedding day. I tell every one of my clients that great photos start with great lighting, and a great timeline is centered around that. I love meeting with my brides about a month before their wedding to 1. be all girlie about the wedding day 2. go over the events of their wedding and 3. make sure the proper amount of time is allotted for images and that the most important images are taken in the best possible lighting.

After we have taken a moment to squeal about the fact that their wedding is only a month away and chat about how the wedding planning is going, here are a few things we discuss about planning a proper timeline: 

Sunset Time. We start by figuring out when the sun sets. Usually the 2 hours leading up to the sun set has the very best light of the day. The closer it gets to sunset, the better the light becomes. It’s warm, soft, and filters through the trees — it’s dreamyFiguring out the sunset time will help in knowing when to schedule events in order to have the best light for the ceremony (if it’s outdoors) and for the portraits that will come afterwards. 
SIDE NOTE: I usually discuss suggested ceremony time right after a couple books me so they can have that information for their invitations, etc.

Portraits. Wedding day portraits are more than just snapping a few quick photos before and/or after the ceremony. These images are the ones that my couples will hang in their house, send to family members, and cherish the rest of their lives. Because of this, it is so important to make sure there is plenty of time allowed after the ceremony (or before if there is a first look) to get wonderful images. I like to think of these images as a way for the bride and groom to get away from it all, enjoy one another, and celebrate before they get swept away in their big day. Between pre-ceremony portraits and post-ceremony portraits, I usually spend about 90 minutes total capturing them.

Details. Another thing to keep in mind is time for detail shots. I know that some of you may be thinking “but who really cares about those?” and I’m here to tell you that they matter a ton. Aside from remembering all those fun details of the big day, I could go into a slew of other reasons why these are important to capture—including the fact that they do wonders for a wedding album. To properly document these details (bridal details, groom details, ceremony details, invitation suite, reception details, etc), it usually takes about an hour. 

Exit. Once we have figured out how many hours we will be spending getting details, portraits, ceremony, etc., my couples and I decide whether or not they want me there for their grand exit. I sometimes suggest that couples do an exit out of the ceremony in order to spend their time on areas that are more important to them. 

After we have discussed all these elements of the wedding day, we can properly form a timeline that meets the bride’s needs and makes sure that her images will turn out beautifully.

Above all, the main thing to take away from this is to consult with your photographer. Not only will your photographer love you for it-- whether it's me or someone else--they will have great insight on how to make your wedding day what you have always dreamed of.