Your wedding day timeline solved (+ free download!)

Due to the diverse wedding cultures, there is no standard wedding day timeline. Some people like the ceremony in the morning, but mostly, the afternoon and evening is preferred.

All the amazing portraits captured during wedding might seem an effortless job to a viewer, but in reality, sufficient time is invested to capture those incredible memories. Therefore, to stay on time and not to go astray, wedding photography timeline is very essential.

For your convenience, I have created a wedding day DOC planner. It will help you visualize how your wedding day timeline might look like and, hence, will give you an idea about photography hours required. Proceed to the end of this article to download the planner.

Here is how an ideal and smooth wedding timeline might look like. Your wedding venue planner will help you to adjust it to your preferences.

  1. Hair and Makeup at 12 PM.
  2. Ceremony at 4:00 PM.
  3. Cocktail Hour from 4:30 to 6:00 PM.
  4. Reception, Speeches, and First Dance from 6 to 9:00 PM.
  5. Party from 9:00 onwards.

Let’s dig a little deeper!

One Location: In order to save time and reduce stress, the perfect scenario is to arrange the ceremony and party at the same location. It saves time by cutting down the travel distance; moreover, it is a lot more convenient and hassle-free.

First Look: It is entirely your decision to do a “first look” or not to do it. Personally, I (as a photographer) recommend doing “first look” because it allows you to take mesmerizing portraits with your life partner before the ceremony in a hassle-free environment. And this is what most of the couples choose to do.

However, if you want to stick to the traditions and choose not to do “first look” before the ceremony, we can do a photography session during cocktail hour.

Moreover, if you intend to take photos off-site, I recommend doing a “first look”, since this is a perfect opportunity to explore location other than your wedding venue.

Getting Ready Portraits

The most frequent mistake which I have observed while attending marriages as a bridesmaid and a guest is that brides start doing hair and makeup at the last moment. It would be much less stressful if it’s done beforehand so the bride would look beautiful on getting ready photos.


During the ceremony, I would be taking pictures of the most classic, wanted, and awaited moments of bride’s entry into the ceremony hall, “I do”, and “you may kiss the bride” moment.

Cocktail Hour

If you decided not to do “first look”, I could spend the cocktail hour taking your portraits.

First Dance

If you are short on budget and can afford a wedding photographer only for 6 hours, you should make sure that the first dance is performed as soon as the dinner starts, opposed to the classic way where the first dance is done during the middle or end of the dinner. This way I would be able to capture everything starting with the last minutes of getting ready (around 12 PM) and ending my wedding day with the first dance around 6 PM.


If you want pictures of bouquet toss and sparklers send-off captured, consider selecting my 8 hours package with extra hours added to it.

To help you choose the package by getting an idea of how your wedding timeline might look like, I have created a wedding day timeline planner which could be downloaded from here: