Wedding timeline tips | James Tang Photography

Keeping your photographer in the loop while planning your wedding timeline is important.  This way, you will have the photographer’s opinion on how much time you will need for photography.  It takes time, patience, good location, and beautiful lighting to capture and create beautiful photographs.  Everything has to fall into place for that perfect picture that will forever be remembered.

  • Preparation is part of my storytelling. This is where I photograph the getting ready portion of the wedding: bridal/groom details (dress, shoes, jewelries, bouquet, etc), getting ready, bridal/groom portraits, first look (if requested), and wedding party. It is my recommendation for the bride to go next to last for her hair and makeup. This way, her hair and makeup will be fresh once done. Also, if we run out of time, we can skimp on the last person. The bride should be fully ready to put on her dress at a minimum 1.5 hours before the actual ceremony time. For example, if the actual ceremony time is at 4:00pm the bride should be done with her hair and makeup at a minimum of 2:30pm and is ready for the wedding dress to be put on. This does not account for traveling time to the ceremony site.
  • For outdoor photography, the Golden Hour is the best time to have your photographs taken.  It is when the light is soft and does not create harsh shadows and contrasting scene.  Although it’s typically one hour before sunset, I can work with light about 2.5 hours before sunset.  When you plan your ceremony time, be sure to end the ceremony no later than 2 hours before sunset and no earlier than 3 hours.  For example, if sunset time is at 6:00pm, the ideal time to start the ceremony is at 4:00pm (assuming it takes 30 minutes for the ceremony to complete).  This will give me best light during the day.  When you’re in the mountains, the actual sunset time will be about 30 minutes earlier.  It means that sunset will actually be at 5:30pm instead of the estimated 6:00pm, so the ideal time to end the ceremony is at 4:00pm.
  • Keep your photographer in the loop on all the important events that will happen during the reception. This will include, but not limited to, time of grand entrance, first dance, speeches, cake cutting, bouquet/garter toss, and grand exit. This will ensure that the photographer(s) will be there at all the critical moments during the reception. It is also important to ensure that the photography team is on the same meal schedule as the bride and groom. This way, the team won’t miss out on any important moments because they’re away.

Below is an example of a typical timeline for 2 shooters with the getting ready locations, ceremony, and reception are on the same continuous property:

  • 02:00-02:30pm Details (dress, shoes, bouquet, invitation suite, etc)
  • 02:30-03:15pm Getting ready (hair, makeup, getting into dress)
  • 03:15-04:00pm Bridal portraits, with each bridesmaid, with all bridesmaids, groom portraits, with each groomsman, with all groomsmen.
  • 04:00-04:30pm Ceremony
  • 04:30-04:45pm Group photos
  • 04:45-05:15pm Family photos
  • 05:15-05:30pm Wedding party photos
  • 05:30-06:15pm Couple portraits (sunset at 6:00pm)
  • 06:30-06:45pm Grand entrance
  • 06:45-07:00pm First dance
  • 07:00-07:30pm Dinner
  • 07:45-08:00pm Toasts/speeches
  • 08:00-08:15pm Father/daughter & mother/son dances
  • 08:15-08:30pm Cake cutting
  • 08:30-08:45pm Bouquet/garter toss
  • 08:45-10:30pm Dance floor opens
  • 10:45-11:00pm Grand exit
As featured in:

 OutDoor Brides