The Importance Of A Structured Wedding Timeline | Expert Advice

The Importance Of A Structured Wedding Timeline

Last time, our expert ‘wedding photography’ contributor Maria Sundin, spoke about “nailing your getting ready shots”, an important part of your wedding photo must-haves. Today’s post is all about the rest of the day – specifically, making the most of your photographer, which, my lovelies, all boils down to communicating your wedding timeline. Below, Maria offers some wedding time line tips.


Above:  Maria Sundin of Maria Sundin Photography / Image by smallpigart.

If you have hired a wedding planner or ‘on-the-day’ coordinator, it’s very likely that you have already discussed the all-important timeline, and that this information has been passed on to your photographer. But for those who don’t have a planner, I’m sure the tips below will be of great use.

Enjoying your cocktail reception, mingling with your guests before the evening reception and still having time for couple portraits and family formals requires a structured timeline and a pre-meeting with your photographer to go through all the timings and details.

Wedding Photography expert tips


As you plan all those all-important images you want, you should account for the following shots:

 Getting ready
 Detail shots of your dress, shoes, the rings, stationery, etc
 Exterior shots of the surroundings
 The ceremony set-up before guests arrive
 Guests arriving and mingling
 Your ceremony
 Couple photos with amazing sunlight
 Family formals
 The cocktail reception (including details, cake cutting, speeches and dancing)

Wedding Photography tips

That’s a lot of photos to consider. And in eight hours, photographers hardly sit down. We are focused throughout the day on ensuring we capture every single detail and shot you require. 

Wedding Photography tips

So I encourage you to get your photographer involved when planning your wedding timeline. We’re happy to help you create your timeline and advise on light – for example, tell you where the light will be coming from, or if you need a cover to get better shots during a ceremony at 2pm. We can advise on when the best light is and how much time you’ll need between your ceremony and cocktail reception. We’ll also suggest when you should hold your ceremony to get the most out of your photos and the time afterwards.

Did you know that most photographers ask for an hour and a half to take couple photos, but end up capturing those images in around 30 minutes due to time management issues? 


This session is the most important part of your day! If you get stunning couple photos in beautiful light, you’ll treasure them for years to come. We photographers value this time greatly, and we are trained to work with various personality types, in any light situation. We absolutely love gorgeous personal touches that tell a story about your wedding and about you.

Wedding Photography tips

If you talk to your photographer when putting together your timeline, he or she can tell you in a heartbeat that the best time for portraits is an hour before sunset. 

Wedding Photography tips


Every wedding I’ve ever photographed, except for one, has fallen behind schedule. When I plan a timeline with a couple, I expect the wedding to run at least 30 minutes late, so I always account for a little extra time. I also recommend planning for at least three hours of make-up and hair, giving yourself some breathing space before and just after to centre yourself, as things will roll fast once the day gets going.

I’m used to hearing couples state that “everything during our wedding took so much more time than we expected and the day went so quickly!”

If you have booked a photographer for eight or nine hours, I would advise you to have the couple photos taken before the sun sets. I would always recommend having casual shots with friends after the sun has set, as that way, you ensure you get all the important shots such as details, couple photos, family formals and bridal party during natural daylight and, if you have extra time, you can always get your fun shots with friends done after the sun has set

I hope the above tips help you plan your wedding timeline – remember, most photographers are happy to advise on this, and if you don’t show them a timeline, they’ll be glad to assist you in creating one.

Xx Maria xX

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