How to Create a Wedding Timeline | Minneapolis Wedding Photography

how to create a wedding timeline for your perfect day
behind the lens with expert Alexandra Robyn

Before you begin your search for the perfect photographer, you will want to really understand the value of wedding photography. One reason to invest in a true wedding expert as your photographer is they will be knowledgeable enough to help you create a wedding timeline for your day – one that you can actually follow. The First step is to collaborate with your photographer early on! If they are anything like me, they will be honored to be part of the planning process and ready to be a resource to you.

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Should we have a first look?

Is a First Look right for you? I am a huge fan of the first look – that moment the Bride and Groom see each other for the first time on their wedding day is pure magic. And this is true whether the couple chooses to wait until the bride walks down the aisle or chooses to do a “first look’ prior to the ceremony. While my team and I consider ourselves people who value tradition, there are definitely a few good reasons to consider a first look. Almost all of our couples this year have chosen to do a first look. Here are 3 reasons to consider a ‘first look’:

  • A First Look cuts through the chaos of the wedding day
  • Timeline-wise, it makes additional time for photos without sacrificing the cocktail hour
  • It’s a moment to connect with your Love privately

We’ve found that there isn’t a “good” or “bad” time to take your wedding ceremony photos. However, a 3:30 – 4:30 ceremony start time is most common. This is so we have plenty of time to get you in your dress and take family photos, wedding party, and couple photos! If you are leaning towards a longer cocktail hour, or have travel between venues, we recommend the 3:30 start time. Consider the length of your ceremony and the cocktail hour length as well.

If you are having your first look down the aisle, starting your ceremony closer to 2:30-3:00, depending on ceremony length, will give you plenty of time. An option people like to offer to their guests is a suggested bar between the ceremony location and the reception prior to cocktail hour. 

Reception timeline flow

Once you have the Ceremony Time established and cocktail hour, your reception timeline will flow quite nicely. Allow for guests to be seated 15 minutes prior to the Grand March. First is the Entrance – whether that be a wedding party grand march or sparkler and confetti entrance. After your opening remarks usually made by a family member, a blessing or word of welcome is made (5 minutes.) Dinner service will begin shortly after. Speeches take place when dinner service is nearly complete about 1 hour into the dinner.

  • Guest Seated
  • Grand March
  • Welcome Toast + Blessing
  • Dinner
  • Speeches
  • Thank you from the couple
  • Dessert Break (while we take sunset photos)
  • First Dances

A helpful tip is If there are more than three speeches, it is common to split them between the dessert service. Cake cutting can be done at any time throughout the night. Some couples opt to do it first thing when they enter or privately cut the cake during dinner. Budget 15-20 minutes for sunset photos before the first formal dances (15 minutes), which kick off the dancing.

The morning timeline flow

Now that the majority of your day is planned, you can work backward to figure out when your day needs to begin. Consult with your photographer when you would need to be stepping into your wedding dress so that this information can be relayed to your hair and makeup artist. I personally love to work with Taylor Marie Beauty, LHN Beauty, or Blush & Blondes. Your First Look, Couple Photos, Wedding Party Photos, and Family photos are typically done before the ceremony with a 30-minute break before the ceremony.

  • Casual + PJ getting ready photos
  • Bride gets into dress with Mom’s help
  • Groom has first look with his Mom + she boutonnières him
  • Bride + Dad first look
  • First Look allows for Couple Photos, Wedding Party Photos, & Family Photos to be done before the ceremony
  • Hiding Break 30 or so mins before the ceremony

How to create a wedding timeline

We hope that this has been helpful in how to create a wedding timeline that is perfect for your day. Have questions? Ask Allie! Or Check out the Blog! And a quick thank you for being here. It really is an honor – above any award or publication, to have your trust.

To book your own portrait session today, or to learn more about Alexandra Robyn and her photography services, click here.

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