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The perfect wedding day timeline

this time of year i get sooo many emails with questions about wedding timelines, so i thought i would help some of you out who are wondering but don’t know who to ask!

i know there are thousands of different ways to set up a timeline for a wedding, but after photographing over 60 weddings in the few years this is what i have found to be a great, mid-summer timeline! if you are doing a first look it can also look similar to this, with a few things just switched around:)


1:00-2:00ish ~ Bride get’s makeup done (if you do this before your hair, you’re makeup will be done for the photos of your hair being done:))

2:00-3:00- Bride’s hair get’s done

3:00-3:30 ~ Bride puts on her dress (always allow extra time for this part. you never want to feel rushed and extra time let’s you really enjoy these special moments:))

3:30 ~ Travel time to ceremony (and room to be running late, as everyone always is:))

4:00-4:30 ~ Ceremony

4:30-4:45 ~ Family Photographs (choose a location close to your ceremony site so it is less chaotic gathering the family and so grandma and grandpa don’t have to walk too far)

4:45-5:00 ~ Travel time (if needed, if not, leave this as extra time so there is no rushing if things fall behind schedule)

5:00-5:30ish ~ Bridal Party Photographs (if you have a bridal party that is larger then 2 on each side, you might want to account an extra 5 minutes per extra person)

5:30-6:30 ~ Bride and Groom Photographs (it’s usually nice to chose a separate location for this part:))

6:30 ~ Reception Start

6:45-7:30 ~ Guests enjoy dinner

7:30-8:00 ~ Speeches and desert

8:00 ~ Cake cutting prior to first dance

8:15ish ~ First Dance

9:00-9:15 ~ Bride and Groom sneak out for sunset photographs (be sure to check the time for this depending on what your date is!)


again, this is just an example but hopefully it is helpful! i know that timelines can go a million different ways so here are a few extra points and things to think about when creating your wedding day timeline!

  •  the later in the afternoon your photographs are scheduled for, the better the light. especially in Canadian summer, the lower the sun is the more sunkissed your photos will be!
  •  always allow more time than you think for getting ready in the morning. in almost every wedding i have photographed it takes longer than expected. if you plan for it, then it is much less stressful for everyone involved!
  • remember to allow yourself time to eat lunch!! preferably before you get your makeup done. and have snacks and water available to you throughout the day, for both the bride and groom and the bridal party:)
  • inform any family members the day before the wedding if they are required for family photographs. let them know where to go or who to follow  immediately following the ceremony to save time and confusion. have someone who knows the families in charge of gathering everyone.
  • if you are planning on doing a receiving line after your ceremony (even if it is a quick on) give yourself at the very least 30mintes, and better yet, it is much less stressful if you account for 45minutes to an hour just to be safe.
  • don’t forget to account for any travel time that is needed
  • if you are wanting to join your guests for cocktail hour, take that into account when creating your timeline. A wedding day shouldn’t be a photoshoot, it should be a wedding day:) ~ so if spending that time before the reception with your guests is important to you, make sure you let your photographer know before hand so your photo time doesn’t get cut short.
  • check the time for sunset for the date of your wedding and plan to sneak out and watch it together. sneaking out of your reception for a quick 10minute break with your new spouse can be one of the best memories of your entire day, it allows you two to spend some quiet time together in the midst of chaos, and it also let’s your photographer get some amazing sunset photos while you do so. definitely one of my favorite parts of each wedding i photograph!

2015-03-29_0030**if you found this post helpful, feel free to share on facebook or pinterest and be sure to click the “like” button below! if you can think of any more tips that would be helpful feel free to leave them below in the comments section ~  thanks so much for being here and happy planning!**
~xo, meg.

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  1. Michael Stickney says:

    Love your blog



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