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Tips for the Perfect Wedding Timeline (with Photography in Mind!)

Are you excited about your big day but feeling a bit overwhelmed with planning ALL the details, especially the timeline? Don’t worry! I’m here to guide you through all the considerations you need to make in order to craft the PERFECT wedding timeline!

This blog will have a special focus on the photography aspect since it’s SO important to keep your photographer in mind to make sure we get to capture everything you want during your day! 

golden hour wedding photo in Minnesota

Why is a Wedding Day Timeline SO Important?

To ensure your wedding runs as smoothly as possible, you NEED to have a strategic wedding day timeline. That way, everyone knows the sequence of events, your vendors can be on top of it all for you in the backend, and your photographer can capture all those moments that are the most important for you.

As a Minnesota wedding photographer, I am probably speaking for a lot of other photographers, but you really need to make sure your timeline is created with photography in mind! We try our best to capture everything, however, if the day is rushed and not enough time is allocated for specific parts of the day – you’re very likely to have limited photos of those parts! And we can’t have that, especially when you’re investing THOUSANDS in your wedding photography!

So, let’s chat about things you should consider to get the most out of your wedding day experience! 

blue hour wedding photo in Minnesota

First Look or No First Look?

Deciding on whether or not you’d like to have a wedding first look can significantly impact your wedding day timeline.

Honestly, I LOVE a first look! All those candid emotions of you two seeing each other for the first time on your wedding day just make my heart melt! But also, I love it for you as a couple because that way, you get to spend some time alone together on what will be a whirlwind of a wedding day.

Check out my blog on other reasons why you should consider a wedding first look here!

Without a first look, the bride and groom’s photo time often gets cut short if there are delays, such as the ceremony beginning/running late or all the formal family/friends portraits taking longer than expected. 

The one thing I definitely don’t want you to miss out on is your wedding portraits because we are there to celebrate YOU and YOUR LOVE!

If you choose not to have a wedding first look, definitely consider adding a cocktail hour to your wedding timeline. It’s a fantastic way to keep guests entertained while you’re off, capturing those gorgeous family formals, wedding party photos, and romantic shots of you two!

How Much Coverage Do You Need?

Many couples underestimate the amount of time needed to fully capture their wedding day. The reality? Most need between 8-10 hours of coverage, with many opting for 9 or 10. Trust me, it adds up QUICK!

The perfect wedding timeline for more traditional weddings consists of many of those important details, and this is roughly how much time a photographer would need to capture them:

  • Bridal Details (the dress, flatlays, rings, jewelery, etc.): 1 hour
  • Bride & Bridesmaids Getting Ready (includes parts of the getting ready, cute PJ photos, first look with bridesmaids if you choose to do that!): 1 hour
  • Groom & Groomsmen Getting Ready (usually captured by the second photographer if you choose the add-on!): 1 hour
  • Bride & Bridesmaids Photos: 30 minutes
  • Groom & Groomsmen Photos: 30 minutes
  • First Look & Couples Portraits: 30-60 minutes
  • Family Formals: 30-60 minutes
  • Wedding Party Photos (Pre-ceremony if possible): 30-45 minutes
  • Ceremony: 30 minutes (typically)
  • Grand Entrance + Special Dances: 15-25 minutes
  • Toasts & Cake Cutting: 30 minutes
  • Guests Dancing and Having Fun: 30-45 minutes
  • The Exit: 20 minutes

Plus, I always like to add extra time (about 30 minutes!) for those romantic, warm golden hour portraits. 

If you’d like to learn more about golden hour wedding photos, I have just the blog for you!

Final Tips About Your Perfect Wedding Timeline

Firstly, you DO NOT need to plan everything by the minute! That will just leave you more stressed! I recommend planning things in 15 to 30-minute intervals, so you always have a bit of spare time.

You also need to consider whether there will be any traveling included (from the ceremony to the reception venue, maybe a special spot you want to go to for your wedding portraits, etc.)

And most importantly, think about what is important for YOU! What do you definitely want to have captured? Do you want to have a first look? Will you want to have first looks with anyone else other than your future spouse? Do you want those dreamy golden hour portraits?

As your wedding photographer, I have all of those details noted to help your wedding day dreams come true and get them all captured!

golden hour wedding portrait in a field in Bemidji, MN

Amelia Jo Photo | Minnesota Wedding Photographer

I hope that these little tips will help you craft the perfect wedding timeline! Remember, these are just guidelines! Every wedding is UNIQUE, and your timeline might vary. The key is to prioritize what’s most important to YOU and communicate that with your photographer (ahem, that’s me!). 

So, if you’re still looking for someone to capture your Minnesota wedding, I’d LOVE to hear from you! You can learn more about me here! And if you’re ready to get this party started – inquire with me here! I can’t wait to learn all about your love story!


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Minnesota based wedding and lifestyle photographer living in good ole Bemidji, MN. I specialize in capturing moments of love from birth to marriage and everything in between.

hey you!

I'm Amelia








Minnesota based wedding and lifestyle photographer living in good ole Bemidji, MN. I specialize in capturing moments of love from birth to marriage and everything in between.

hey you!

I'm Amelia