Crafting an Easy Wedding Photo Timeline

Hey there, couples and photography enthusiasts! It's Magdiel, your go-to wedding photographer and storyteller in DFW. With seven amazing years and over 250 weddings captured, we often find wedding timelines that miss the importance of allowing time for creating lasting memories. Your wedding memories are a significant investment for your big day, the only one that lasts a lifetime.

Today, I'm sharing a simple wedding photo timeline that you can just copy and paste to help you craft unforgettable moments!

Have you ever heard of the 5/30 rule?

I stumbled upon it recently, and Liz Courtney Photography summed it up perfectly, stating, "It’s the rule that accounts for things that typically take 5 minutes in real life that will take 30 minutes on a wedding day. It also means that 30 minutes on a wedding day will feel like 5 minutes."

As a wedding photographer, this resonates with me a lot.

I plan to structure this simple timeline in 30-minute increments.

Let's set the beginning of our timeline at hour 00:00, using the wedding ceremony as our reference point and considering its expected duration. From here, we'll craft a timeline for pre-ceremony and post-ceremony events, presented in a user-friendly format that you can effortlessly copy and paste to kick off your own planning.

For those envisioning captivating golden hour photos, it's crucial to schedule the ceremony time in line with the sunset. Ideally, aim to wrap up the ceremony 60-30 minutes before sunset.

"While this is a traditional wedding timeline, you can effortlessly customize it to include a couples' first look before the ceremony. Ready to begin?"

Traditional Wedding Timeline

Before the Ceremony:

  • -3:00 Hours (Photographer Arrives): The photo and video team arrives and familiarizes themselves with the venue, finding their place and scouting locations.
  • -2:30 Hours (Details Photos): The photographer starts capturing detail shots while the bride is getting her final makeup and hair touches.
  • -2:00 Hours (Bridal Prep): Commence capturing moments of the bride and bridesmaids in their robes before getting dressed. This is an ideal time for group pictures, perhaps a champagne toast, and some candid moments.
  • -1:30 Hours (Groom Prep): Transition to document the groom's and groomsmen's preparation.
  • -1:00 Hour (Bride is Dressed): Photographers return to the bride's suite to capture extra getting-ready photos. This is a good moment for the mother of the bride to help with final touches on the dress, hair, or makeup. Consider a dress reveal to the bridesmaids and a first look with the father of the bride.

Note: If you want to have a private first look, just move the timeline 15-30 minutes earlier in case you also want to do couple portrait here.

  • -0:30 Minutes (Guests Seated): Guests start to arrive and take their seats. Photographers and videographers transition to the ceremony site to set up and be ready.


  • 00:00 Hour (Ceremony): Before the ceremony begins, here are some tips. Ask the officiant to step to the side before calling for the kiss. Also, allow time and distance between each member of the bridal party when coming down the aisle to allow time for more pictures. Brides, this is your moment; don't rush your way down the aisle. This way, you allow for more photos of your entrances and the groom's reaction.

After the Ceremony:

  • +0:30 Minutes (Ceremony End, Cocktail Hour starts): Ceremony concludes; guests proceed to the reception. It's time for family formal pictures. Keep it simple by including only immediate family at this time. Extended family and friends' photos can be taken at any time during the reception.
  • +0:45 Hour (Bridal Party Photos): This is the time for the couple to take photos with their lovely bridal party. Here you can do one-on-one shots of the bride and bridesmaids as well as the groom and groomsmen, formal group pictures, and don't forget those fun and silly poses.
  • +1:00 Hour (Golden Hour): This is my favorite time of the day. You both are now relaxed. Your journey as husband and wife just started; let's make it memorable, creating memories for a lifetime.
  • +1:30 Hours (Cool Down): You may want to have a little private break to cool down and relax before the party starts.
  • +2:00 Hours (Reception Begins): It's time for the grand entrance. The bridal party lines up, and then Mr. & Mrs. do their big entrance, leading directly to special dances.
  • +2:30 Hours (Dinner Time): Allow enough time for guests to enjoy their dinner before starting speeches and toasts; this is a noisy time, and your guests will barely pay attention.
  • +3:00 Hours (Speeches and Toasts): It's recommended that the person doing speeches have them written beforehand, especially if you hired a videographer. These can be meaningful audio and video elements for your film.

I'm pretty sure you can take it from here. Just consider how many hours of photo and video coverage you booked so that all the most important moments of your reception are very well documented before your photo and video team is dismissed.

If you want more tips and details, take a look at the blog bellow.