Wedding Day Photography Timeline

Every wedding has a different timeline so it's difficult to create a standard wedding day photography timeline template.

There are however, similar parts of every wedding day no matter the time of year or culture of your wedding. The following are ideal time frames to keep in mind when we plan your timeline. If they seem a little long, keep in mind that many weddings run slightly behind schedule and the day will absolutely fly by.

And we'll be having so much fun that it won't seem like a long time!

Rings, Dress and Other Details

Ideal Time Allotment: 30 Minutes
Location: Bridal/Hotel Suite

30 minutes gives us enough time to get beautiful shots of your rings, dress and other details. Sometimes the hotel room is too crowded or not aesthetically pleasing so we'll take the dress to another room, the lobby or sometimes outside (with your permission of course!).

Detail shots are an important part of your wedding day story and make for great transitions from one part of the day to the next in your album.

close up of the wedding diamond rings

Wedding dress hanging from ceiling at Cairnwood Estate

Getting Ready

Ideal Time Allotment: 60 Minutes
Location: Bridal/Hotel Suite, Master Bedroom at home

We'll spend this hour getting candid moments of the bridesmaids and groomsman as they are getting ready for the day as well as the final moments of the makeup being applied to the bride. Images of the bride being buttoned/zipped up and putting on her jewelry on are also captured during this time.

I am with the bride and my second photographer is with the groom. Some of the most emotional moments of the day happen during this time so don't cut it short!


wedding morning, close up of mother buttoning back of brides dress

groom looking at his reflection black and white shot

First Look, Bride/Groom Session and Individual Portraits

Ideal Time Allotment: 60-90 Minutes
Location: Choose a location that is not logistically far from the ceremony/reception.

Transportation is the number one time killer on a wedding day. It would be wonderful to go to multiple locations around the city or in the suburbs in a few minutes but with weekend traffic, it just doesn't work that way. Make sure you're leaving at least one hour in your wedding day photography timeline for us to capture your first look, standard and creative images of the two of you as well as individual portraits (bride and groom separately).

grooms first look on the bride shot

groom kissing the bride's forehead shot

bride and groom holding hands


groom looking at bride while touching hands in backless beaded wedding gown

a bridal portrait taken outdoors

wedding photography timeline

Bridal Party

Ideal Time Allotment: 30 minutes
Location: Same location as Bride/Groom session

During this time we'll get individual shots of you with each of your bridesmaids and groomsman then move on to the basic, classic poses of the entire bridal party. We'll then finish with a set of fun and creative shots that will give everyone the chance to show off their individual personality!

groom with groomsmen silly shot

bride and bridesmaid formal shot

groom and groomsmen formal shot

bride and groom with bridesmaid and groomsmen

Immediate Family

Ideal Time Allotment: 30 minutes
Location: Park, Venue lobby/garden, off site location

Immediate family photos are a very important part of your wedding day and we want to make sure we capture enough images with them. Remember that your not just a bride and groom on your wedding day but a daughter and son as well! And just to be clear: immediate family means your parents, siblings (and their spouses) and grandparents.

bride with her family shot

groom with his family shot

Ceremony Details

Ideal Time Allotment: 15-30 minutes
Location: Ceremony site

We like to arrive at the ceremony location 30 minutes before the ceremony to photograph the site completely set up before any guests arrive. This way we will capture the scene at its best.

wedding chapel, outside view of Christ Church of Philadelphia with the sun shining

Outside ceremony set up at the Glen Foerd Mansion

Reception Details

Ideal Time Allotment: 30 minutes
Location: Reception site

We like to capture the reception room completely set up 30 minutes before the guests enter to capture the beauty of the room. This includes details like the cake, centerpieces, menus etc.

Image of the interior of the Ballroom at the Ben

Hanging lights at the Bellevue Hotel in Philadelphia

Detail shot of champagne glasses at the Merion

Image of Cairnwood Estate at night

Reception Night Shot

Ideal Time Allotment: 15-30 minutes
Location: Areas near venue with interesting lights, textures, cityscapes.

If you like the night photography we deliver, please plan on sneaking out of the reception for a short period of time. We like to create these images around 30-45 minutes before we finish for the evening, usually before/after the cake cutting.

Besides being a nice quiet time to get away and be alone for a few minutes, these images will provide a beautiful ending to your wedding day story. Please leave time in your wedding day photography timeline for this important set of images!




wedding day photography timeline

Wedding Day Photography Timeline

Want to learn more? Hit me up and let's chat!

"Ralph's ability to make his clients feel like they are #1 at all times is phenomenal! His work speaks for itself, but it is what he does in addition to the pictures that makes the difference. Him and his team went far beyond our expectations and were able to capture not only pictures, but a story of our lives. We would recommend Ralph Deal Photography to anyone who wants an exceptional and personalized experience!"

-Rona Diamond

Scroll to Top