How to make a wedding day timeline | Brooklyn Wedding Photographer & Iceland Elopement Photographer

How to make a wedding day timeline | Brooklyn Wedding Photographer & Iceland Elopement Photographer

Iceland wedding photographer- Iceland elopement photographer

Ok, let's talk about the wedding day timeline. You are planning a wedding, though it might even be small and intimate wedding, you still are trying to pull all of the pieces together. Or maybe you are even eloping in a far off destination. Either way, things need to happen and that can be super overwhelming. Don't worry, I got you covered! I am here to help show you how to make an easy to follow, easy flowing wedding day timeline. I will explain a few options depending on the type of wedding you are having. I am here to shot you how to best set yourself up for a smoother wedding day with your photography needs. 


Before I get into the details of timeline construction, I highly suggest hiring a day of coordinator! It might seem like an extra expense, but they are worth every single penny. The day get's hectic, things need to happen, and you should be having fun and not stressing if your flowers are making it on time or if the reception is being set up properly. Trust me, it is worth it. If you hire one, they will make your FULL timeline with you. I am here to help you with the photography portion and where I fit into the day with you! 

Below is the list of things that we will do together, and approximately how long it takes for each.  If you have not discussed or thought about having a First Look, I recommend it. Besides the fact that they are SUCH an intimate, private moment between the two of you before the day get's going, and besides the fact they almost always make me tear up because they are just so special, they also free up your photo timeline. They allow you to get the formal photo portion done BEFORE the wedding, which lets you ENJOY the rest of your night after the ceremony. 

first look pictures, Brooklyn wedding photographer - Boro Hotel

Here is what your photo timeline will look like WITH a First Look!

I usually start with these about TWO HOURS before the First Look. This will give me plenty of time to warm everyone up to the idea of a random woman having a camera around them as they get dressed. It also lets me get all of the artistic detail shots, candid shots of everyone having fun, and you both getting ready. If you have a second photographer in your collection, they will usually start at the same time as me, unless you prefer them staying one hour longer in the reception. 



The First Look is amazing, it is intimate, and it is so special to share that moment together without everyone else around. It is just you two and me. You should schedule about 30 MINUTES for the First Look from start to finish. This gives time for the set up, for it to happen, and to give you two enough time to not feel rushed. After the First Look, I will also take just the two of you for some romantic, semi-posed shots for about 10-15min. Then we will go back and start the Family + Wedding Party Formals and any wedding document signing.

first look pictures - Brooklyn wedding photographer, Libery Warehouse wedding pictures

This portion of the day is everyone's least favorite, I am not even going to sugar coat this. Because of that, I really strive to make it as efficient and fast as possible. You should schedule about 1.5HOURS BEFORE THE CEREMONY for this, depending on the size of your groupings. I suggest scheduling the 'most important' ones + wedding party photos. If you feel like you need more Formal Photos past this portion, we can have more time after the ceremony during cocktail hour, but that takes you away from having fun, which is why I use this as a last resort. 
REMEMBER- Anyone group who is not a 'we will print this out and hang on our wall' group, we can always get a less formal group photo at the reception. College friends, Work buddies, an entire side of a family with all of the cousins you don't really see and aren't really close to but mom would want it, etc.

MyMoon Brooklyn wedding pictures

Now that you have had your First Look and your Formal Photo session- that has taken up about 4hrs of your coverage with me. Which leaves 6hrs of your day left! Which is perfect, because most weddings are about 6hrs from Ceremony to end of Reception, and almost all of my couples book my 10hr collection which turns out to be the perfect amount of time! From your ceremony on, I will be more of the documentarian you will have hired me to get and use my super human skills of seeing all of those fun, little moments! You will be able to mingle and share time with your guests, you'll be able to actually relax and have fun at your own pace! After the cocktail hour is over, the reception starts, and it is PARTY TIME! If you are going to be having a fun Reception Exit (sparklers, glow sticks, light lanterns, a helicopter, 15 horses, etc etc) please let me or your photographer know so I /they can make sure to be set up for this! 

lantern exit shot- destination wedding photographer

If you are going the more traditional route and not having a First Look, that is totally ok! You would just take that time I mentioned above before the ceremony for your Family + Wedding Party Formals and use your cocktail hour for it. Which generally means you will miss all of your cocktail hour and will need to wrangle people once they see food and drinks, which is not always the easiest taskSo prepare them ahead of time and tell them they MUST meet you after the ceremony and not go into cocktail hour. They may be grumbly, but that's how the cookie crumbles!


Now, I know that this has so far been for the flow of wedding with many guests, so what if you are having an adventurous elopement?

 Your day will have way more flexibility as it most likely is just us, an officiant, and MAYBE a few of your loved ones. Your schedule is totally at your mercy. Generally, we would shoot your pre-ceremony prep for at least TWO HOURS. This will give us time for me to cover:

  • you both getting ready

  • for you two to have a First Look (if you are not helping each other get ready!)

  • to adventure to the ceremony location

  • to get creative, eat some snacks, and not rush anything.

Then once you are ready and we are to the chosen ceremony location, we can have the ceremony! Elopements are wonderful, because they are SO intimate and really a celebration for you two to celebrate your love to one another. At the location, if you have an officiant, they will say some kind words and prompt you two to read your vows / love notes you have written to each other. If you do not have an officiant (which can happen!), you will just read your vows / love notes to one another. You will exchange rings, and then of course kiss and celebrate. Once your celebration is over, we will adventure some more! We will hike, drive, swim (!), whatever you want to do. The nature is yours, it is there to be your guide and beautiful backdrop. The day is yours, and only yours, we will shoot for up to 10hrs total including travel time- and you can do whatever you dang well please. ;)

I hope this helped you! If you liked this, check out these blogs that might help you out with some tips!