Sample Wedding Day Timeline

Tips + Tricks

Sample Wedding Day Timeline

Sample Wedding Day Timeline

Need a few tips for putting together your wedding day timeline? It can be tough to know how long each event should be, how much time you should set aside for photos, etc. After capturing and being apart of almost 50 weddings, I’m here to drop some knowledge on you about wedding day timelines! Let’s jump right in.

Based on 8 Hours of photography coverage, here’s a sample wedding day timeline:

  • 12:00 Start Hair & Makeup
  • 1:30 p.m. Photographer Arrives
  • 2:00 p.m. Hair & Makeup is complete
  • 2:30 p.m. Put on Dress // Reveal to bridesmaids
  • 3:00 p.m. First Look
  • 3:15 p.m. Couples Portraits
  • 4:00 p.m. Bridal Party Photos
  • 4:30 p.m. Back to bridal suites, time to freshen up
  • 5:00 p.m. Ceremony
  • 5:30 p.m. Ceremony ends // cocktail hour starts
  • 5:35 p.m. Formal family photos
  • 6:30 p.m. Guests are seated
  • 6:40 p.m. Entrances into reception
  • 6:45 p.m. Speeches & dinner
  • 7:30 p.m. Sunset Portraits
  • 7:45 p.m. First dance // parent dances
  • 8:00 p.m. Dance floor open to guests
  • 9:30 p.m. Photographer leaves // party keeps going!!

Okay, that was a lot of info all at once!! Let me break it down for you.

Hair & Makeup

This is something you’ll want to coordinate with you hair & makeup artists that you’ve hired, but typically a bride’s hair and makeup takes about two hours combined (on average). If you’re looking for a hair or makeup artist in the Michigan area, be sure to check out my favorite vendors in Michigan here.

First Look

As a wedding photographer, I love a first look for tons of reasons (so much I even wrote a blog post about it). If you’re not doing a first look, you can transfer this time for photos to after the ceremony! Keep in mind, you’ll want about 1.5 hours for the bridal party & couples photos, and 30 minutes for family formals.


Speeches typically don’t take longer than 15 minutes, but make sure the people giving a speech know that they have a time limit! Although speeches are super great and sentimental, there’s nothing worse than a best man jabbering on & on & on for 20 minutes about drunk memories!!

Your Day is All About You

Don’t forget to make time for what’s important to you!! I wanted to provide this sample wedding day timeline as guidance for constructing your own – but be sure to prioritize the moments that are meaningful to you + your fiancé. If you want to set aside 10 minutes to be alone with each other, then DO IT. At the end of the day, your wedding is your wedding and don’t waste your date trying to please others.

Looking for more wedding day tips? Check out my blog for brides here!

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