wedding ceremony on the grounds at Woodbine Mansion

The Ideal Wedding Photography Timeline

Wedding Planning


The wedding photography timeline is essential to creating a seamless day for all my couples. So, let’s discuss creating the ideal wedding photography timeline.

wedding ceremony on the grounds at Woodbine Mansion

Now that I’ve gotten several years of weddings under my belt I can tell you having a wedding photography timeline is crucial to having a smooth wedding day. Most of my couples hire wedding planners and I work closely with them on the photography part of the day. This ensures we get all the important photos of the day and everyone is on the same page. All the vendors need to know the photography timeline as well. For example, the hair and makeup artists need to know when to have hair and makeup completed. The florist needs to know when the brides formal portraits will be taken and have the flowers delivered on time…and so on.

To begin creating the ideal wedding photography timeline I must know three important factors in this order:

  1. What time is sunset?
  2. What time will the ceremony begin?
  3. Will the couple be doing a first look?


The timeline is then built around the answers to these three questions. The following timeline is built around 8 hours of wedding photography coverage, a sunset time of 5:37pm, a ceremony start time of 4:00 pm, and no first look.


Wedding Day Photography Timeline With No First Look

This is an example of an 8 hour wedding photography timeline

12:30 Photographers official contractual start time | Amy detail styling

1:30 Hair and Makeup Ends

1:45 Bridesmaids in pajamas photos

2:00 Bride into dress

2:30 Bride’s photo session with Amy + Second Photographer

2:45 Bride with Bridesmaids photos

3:00 Bride’s portraits wrap | bride rests inside + refreshes makeup

3:00 Groom’s photo session with Amy + Second Photographer

3:15 Groom with Groomsmen photos

3:30 Groom rests inside + refreshes | Guests begin to arrive | Ceremony + Reception decor photos

3:45 Ceremony call time

4:00 Ceremony start time

4:30 Ceremony ends

4:30 Family portraits + full wedding party portrait at ceremony site

5:00 Bride + groom portraits

5:37 Sunset

5:20 Guests enter reception

5:30 Bride + Groom enter reception

5:30 Grand entrance + first dances

6:00 Dinner

6:30 Toasts

7:00 Cake cutting

7:15 Open dancing

8:20 Formal Exit

8:30 Photography wraps


12:30 pm – Detail Styling

It’s no secret I love photographing the bride’s details. Capturing all the details the bride has meticulously curated is an important part of the wedding story. These photography snippets are important storytelling pieces and make incredible filler images in the final wedding album. I love to pair a solo photo of the shoes with a documentary photo of the bride slipping into them on the wedding day.

Ideal Wedding Photography Timeline


The Bridal Details Checklist

The following is a detailed list of all the items I include during the details portion of the day:


Here is an entire post dedicated to the bridal details.


1:45 pm – Bridesmaids in Pajamas

2:00 pm – Bride Gets Into the Dress



2:30 pm – Brides  Individual Photos

Ideal Wedding Photography Timeline


2:45 pm – Bride with the Bridesmaids

This portion of the day I will photograph the bride with all the bridesmaids, each individual bridesmaid, and any flower girls.

Ideal Wedding Photography Timeline


3:00 pm – Groom’s Individual Photos

Ideal Wedding Photography Timeline


3:15 pm – Groom with the Groomsmen

These are done the same as the bride and her bridesmaids.

3:30 – 4:00 pm Bride and Groom Rest and Refresh for Ceremony.

During this time I photograph the ceremony and reception decor and prepare for the ceremony.

Ideal Wedding Photography Timeline


4:30 pm – Family Formal Photographs + Full Wedding Party Photos at the Ceremony Site

Ideal Wedding Photography TimelineIdeal Wedding Photography Timeline


5:00 pm – Bride and Groom Portraits

These photos are the final formal portraits of the day and are strategically timed 30 minutes before sunset. This is why it’s so important to know when the sunset is on your wedding day. If you begin your ceremony too late in the day you will run out of precious daylight. I always recommend my couples plan there ceremony to start 1.5 – 2 hours before the sunset to allow enough time to capture all the formal portraits. This is especially important when the couple chooses not to do a first look.

8 hour wedding photography timeline


5:30 pm – Bride and Groom Grand Entrance and First Dances

Ideal Wedding Photography Timeline


6:00 pm – Dinner

Ideal Wedding Photography Timeline


6:30 pm – Toasts

Ideal Wedding Photography Timeline


7:00 pm – Cake Cutting

7:15 pm – Open Dancing

8 hour wedding photography timelineIdeal Wedding Photography Timeline


8:30 pm – Grand Exit

wedding photography timeline

There you have it! An ideal 8 hour wedding photography timeline. I hope this helps you visualize how the wedding photography is broken down and all the important moments are captured.

Amy Odom is a luxury Austin wedding photographer for fun, sophisticated, and joyful couples who want to live in the moment on their wedding day. Now booking remainaing 2022 dates and 2023 wedding! Contact me HERE to see if your date is available!

You might also like these helpful wedding planning posts:

7 Reasons to Hire a Wedding Planner In Austin, Texas

Tips For Choosing Your Wedding Flowers


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