How to plan your wedding photography timeline

Let’s talk wedding photography timeline! So you’re a bit confused between an unlimited package, a 10 hour package and you can’t quite figure out how long you might want me shooting at your wedding… I get it, it’s confusing.

I’ve put together this very simple blog post to give you a rough guide on planning your wedding timeline. Let me stress that every single wedding is different! We’ll work together to help you plan a timeline that really works for you. This is just a simple guide to what I recommend when my couples put together their wedding timeline.

The Biggest Advice for Planning Your Wedding Photography Timeline

Pad the timeline.

If you think something is going to take 30 minutes, plan 45. If google maps is telling you it’s a 15 minute drive, allow 25 minutes! Best case scenario, you run ahead of schedule and you have more time together or more time with your guests. Worst case scenario, you run late, panic, get all flustered and you have to leave early.

why i offer an unlimited package

If your budget allows, I’d always recommend that you take the unlimited package. Firstly, let me just explain what that means. When I say ‘unlimited’ I don’t mean that I’ll work for 18 hours straight, but it means that we’re not restricted by an 8 hour or 10 hour limit.

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how to plan your wedding photography timeline

Start with your ceremony start time, and work backwards. And then start with your ceremony end time, and work forwards. And don’t forget to check what time the sun will set that day! (You can always just type in ‘your date’ + ‘sunset time’ into Google and it will tell you!)


Typically, you should be dressed and ready a half hour before you need to leave for your ceremony venue. If you’d like the preparations and some portraits photographed (which I recommend), please budget that I arrive 1 to 1.5 hours before you need to leave for the ceremony. Double check your prep time with any other vendors (make up, hair etc). If you’re unsure, please give me a shout!

If your partner is also getting ready in the same location as you, I can alternate between you both. But if that’s the case, please allow 2 hours for this to take place. If your partner is getting ready elsewhere, please allow 45 minutes to an hour with them before I need to arrive at your prep. Remember to include travel time!


Include the travel time between where you got ready and your ceremony location. Again, pad the timeline here. Guests might still be arriving or fussing for the first 5 minutes. And don’t forget to allow time for the confetti, hugs and kisses afterwards! I recommend budgeting 45 – 60 minutes for the whole ceremony including confetti and congratulations!


To have more time for your couple’s session and to make it a pleasant experience, I really suggest limiting these groups as much as possible to ten or less. We can always grab more casual group shots later in the day. Depending on how quick or unruly everyone is – I recommend budgeting 20 – 30 minutes for this. I normally recommend doing this after the ceremony if possible, or during cocktail hour.


How much time you spend on your wedding party and couple’s photos is completely up to you. It’s really important to be aware of light when it comes to planning this. Ideally, we want this to be 1-1.5 hours before sunset. That’s not always possible, so on our call, we can come up with a plan that works for you.

If we’ve already done individual wedding party photographs early during prep time – you might want to skip out the wedding party photographs. If not, I would budget about 15-20 minutes to photograph the wedding party with the couple.

As you know, I really view the couple’s session as a chance for you to get a few moments just the two of you. At the very least – we need 20 – 30 minutes, but we can take it a bit easier and have a more relaxed session for about 40 minutes. All up to you! We can also see how you feel on the day!

If we’re travelling – don’t forget to include that in the time!


If your ceremony and reception are in the same spot, ideally, we need 1.5 hours between the end of ceremony and sitting down for dinner to do any group shots and the couple’s photos as well as some time for the two of you to relax and enjoy some time with your guests. (This doesn’t include any travel time).

During this time, I’ll also try to squeeze in photos of your table decor, guests interacting, cocktail mingling etc. If it’s really important that you grab photos of your guests mingling; you should allow more time for this here, or consider adding a second shooter.

Depending on your caterer and your entertainment for the evening – this part of the schedule is really up to you. You should allow 1.5 hours for the full meal, and add on time for your speeches too.


I always recommend that you do these all at once! That way you’re not constantly interrupting your guests to get their attention. Once everyone’s been herded to the dance floor, your cake cutting and first dance should only take about 10 minutes. If you’ve not chosen the unlimited package, I would grab a few dance floor snaps for about another 15-20 minutes.

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I can’t wait to hear from you! Seriously – I still do a happy dance whenever couples get in touch!