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Wedding Photography Timeline | Atlanta Wedding Photographer

How much time should I plan for photography?

Almost all of my wedding couples ask me this at some point. It's true, planning your photography timeline can seem daunting! How your schedule will go is heavily dependent on your planner and photographer. And I'm guessing that you are neither a planner or a photographer. So handing over the reigns to someone takes a lot of trust and communication. Of course, things will come up and eat away precious time. So it's best to be prepared and talk to your planner and photographer beforehand. Trying to do it all yourself can be overwhelming, so i'm here to give you as much tips as possible! After photographing weddings for 6+ years, I've seen a lot! And if there's one thing I've learned, planning ahead of time is key! 

Here's the thing; You can never plan too much time!

If it's not the Atlanta traffic or road catastrophes, it's something else; hair appointments running late, a lost marriage license, the dress steamer won't steam. It happens! I've never been to a wedding where anyone said, "wow, we just have too much time on our hands". Believe me, planning wiggle room is the best thing you can do!

Here are a few general timeline tips:

  • Decide if you are going to do a "first look" or not. Each has a separate game-plan as far as timelines go. Doing a first look does allow you to take a lot of the pictures before hand, so make sure you schedule extra time for photos. My suggestion is to plan on starting pictures at least 3 hours before your ceremony. 
  • If you are not doing a first look, I like getting the bride/bridesmaid & groom/groomsmen pictures done before the ceremony. Then you just have a group photo after and your bridal party can go straight to the reception. They will thank you!
  • I advise to plan on stopping photos 30 minutes before your ceremony starts. Having this break allows you to retouch your hair & makeup or grab a snack. As well as take a quick breather to soak in that you are about to get married!
  • Make sure you tell each member of your bridal party or family member where & when to be ready. Nothing is a bigger time-eater than a missing groomsmen or lost grandma. 
  • Having a family member who knows names & faces can be a huge help for the formal family photos. Chances are, you already have a family member who would be perfect for this! Having me ask, "Hey, are you Uncle Jerry?" to every man at your reception is a crazy feat. But having someone who is already acquainted with your family will make those family portraits go by smoothly.   
  • Take note of the sunset times & time change when planning your ceremony start time. An outdoor ceremony at 6:00pm in the summer would be beautiful, while a 6:00pm ceremony in the winter...is completely dark outside! 

With all of this being said, here is a sample timeline with a first look:

2:00 - Photographers Arrive & Photograph Details (dress, shoes, perfume)

2:15 - Getting Dress On 

2:45 - First Look

3:00 - Bride & Groom Portraits

3:30 - Bride & Bridesmaids

 3:45 - Entire Bridal Party

4:15 - Groom & Groomsmen

4:30 - Rest & Relax

5:00 - Ceremony

5:30 - Family Formals

6:00 - Married Portraits of Bride & Groom

6:30 - Party Time!

And here is a sample timeline without a first look:

3:00 - Photographers Arrive & Photograph Details (dress, shoes, perfume)

3:15 - Getting Dress On 

3:45 - Bride & Bridesmaids

4:00 - Groom & Groomsmen

4:30 - Rest & Relax

5:00- Ceremony

5:30 - Family Formals

6:00 - Entire Bridal Party

6:15 - Married Portraits of Bride & Groom (I also like to schedule some later during the reception if there is a time crunch or sunset is later) 

7:00 - Party Time!

Oh course, each wedding is different and each timeline is custom to the wedding. Just remember your timeline is a guide that helps you keep track of time and keep things organized. Nothing is set in stone and things are bound to happen. The most important fact is that you are getting married! And if that happens, your wedding was a huge success! Everything else is just icing on the cake. 

Happy Wedding Planning Friends! - Audrey Grace