Planning Wedding Photo Opportunities

Create Your Wedding Photography Timeline

Planning Wedding Photo Opportunities

Build Your Wedding Photography Timeline

One of the biggest mistakes a couple can make on their wedding day is not allowing enough time for all the moments you want to include in your day and in your wedding photos. Use this wedding day timeline as a guideline to make sure you don’t miss any wedding photo opportunities. Here are some estimates on how long it takes to:

  • Get ready
  • Take pre-ceremony pictures
  • Rundown ceremony events
  • Proper time for romantics
  • Capture the reception

 There isn’t a right or wrong way of how your wedding day should go, but this is the typical order of events.

WATCH: Facebook Live – How to Build Your Wedding Photography Timeline

wedding day timeline

Hair and Makeup

Bride: Allow two hours. Have your stylist put in and secure the veil if you are wearing one.

Bridesmaids: Allow 60 minutes per bridesmaid. This may take less time if multiple stylists are working with your bridesmaids at the same time.

PRO TIP: Add in travel time if you have to go to a salon and come back to the ceremony location. Hair and makeup always goes faster when done at the salon due to the convenience of the facility and setup

First Look

Allow 30 minutes for your first look for the bride and groom only. The first look is when the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony and is increasingly common.  It gives couples a chance to connect privately beforehand, and gives your photographer some great pictures in a much more relaxed way.  You may want to extend the time to allow great bridal party shots.  Since most of your important wedding day pictures can be captured during this time, another advantage to The First Look is that you’ll be able to spend your cocktail hour with your guests.

Pre-Ceremony Pictures

Groom and Groomsmen: 60 minutes before the ceremony.  The pre-ceremony images of the groom are often captured at the church, but any location of your choice can be used. Your wedding photographer will typically photograph the groom’s attire, images with groomsmen and family, pinning of boutonnieres, and other detail shots. If you have specific requests for the groom’s images, be sure to share them with your photographer.

Bride and Bridesmaid: 90 minutes before the ceremony.  Hair and make-up is completed or near completed when photography and videography begins. The photographer will typically spend 1/2 hour photographing details and candids. The remaining time is spent capturing attendants, family and planned images of the bride. Be sure to convey your comfort level with having someone in the room as you get ready to your wedding photographer. Together, you and the photographer should develop a list of images and special items you would like the photographer to capture during this time.


Service Length: 60 minutes.

Your service length may vary depending on whether you are including any religious traditions, but allow time for seating of guests and their departure from the ceremony. Ceremonies not at a church tend to average 30 minutes.

Family Pictures After the Ceremony: 30 minutes.

Many churches limit the amount of time you have to capture formal altar images. Because time must be used effectively, assigning a friend to help gather groupings is most helpful. Work with your photographer to develop a list of images that should be captured at the ceremony location and those that can be done at the wedding reception.

Romantics: 60-90 minutes.

The time between your ceremony and reception is the time that your wedding photographers artistic abilities can really shine. Whether you are interested in traditional, photojournalistic or artistic images, develop a plan for what images you would like to capture of you as a couple, with and without the bridal party. If you like images with an urban or natural background, you and your wedding photographer can discuss locations that match your creative vision. You should also discuss poses that you’ve seen in the past that appeal to you – and those that don’t too.  Remember to factor travel time and events around the locations you are visiting.


mike staff productions wedding DJ reception

Ideal length: Plan on six hours. This may sound like a long time, but there are many moving pieces to fill

that time and it will go by fast! This time includes the cocktail hour entrance of the bride and groom, bridal party entrance, cake cutting, dinner, toasts, first dance, and mingling and dancing with guests.

  • Everyone Get Dancing: Open up the dance floor, and get the music going!
  • Bouquet/ garter toss: You can do this as you feel comfortable, and if you aren’t doing it- not a big deal.
  • Late-night snacks: After all the dancing a snacks are always appreciated.
  • Farewell: Be sure to have an exit strategy or plan. It can be simple or elaborate. Sparklers, fireworks, or just climbing in a classic car.

Mike Staff Productions has over 25 years of experience and would love to help you coordinate the photographer, videographer and DJ to capture all the special moments.

Mike Staff Productions: Trust Our Reputation! Love Your Wedding.

Mike Staff Productions is a different kind of wedding DJ Company.  It was founded in 1986 by former 101.1 WRIF on-air personality, Mike Staff. Staff made sure the company was built on a foundation of quality, experience, and unsurpassed client satisfaction.

“I refuse to accept payment from a client who doesn’t feel as if we exceeded their expectations”, says Mike. “First and foremost, we take care of the client. Everything else will fall into place naturally”.

Why We’re Respected

  • We offer award-winning DJs, Photographers and Videography services.
  • Mike Staff Productions is referred by dozens of wedding venues, wedding professionals and most of all, thousands of past clients.
  • Our “Money Back Guarantee” is unprecedented in the industry, proving that there is no substitute for quality and integrity.

Ready to bring your wedding to life? Mike Staff Productions is here to help with any of your wedding planning questions! Feel free to give us a call (877.689.0777) or email us at [email protected]   love your wedding

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