See more by category...

Learn More

Taylor Nicole Photography is a fine art wedding photography team based out of Denver, Colorado. We specialize in providing bright, classic and refined wedding imagery for our couples. 

We capture a mix of posed and candid imagery that couples will cherish for all the years to come.

Owner & Photographer


my name is

Episode 31. The Ideal Wedding Timeline

March 14, 2023



Weddings & Life Podcast with Taylor Nicole, a podcast by Colorado Wedding Photographer, Taylor Nicole Photography

Listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts or Spotify


Do you ever wonder how much time your photographer dreams of having for different portions of the wedding day? Or how much time they actually need? Because let’s be real we’ve all thought this- that photography is just pushing a button right? I am guessing since you’re listening to this podcast you might be a bit of a planning type of personality. So I am here to spill all the secrets about what a near picture perfect wedding day photo timeline looks like and why. I hope you enjoy this episode.

Inside the episode:

Welcome back to the podcast! Thank you so so much to everyone who listened to the start of season two first two episodes. It has been so fun to get back into the podcast mindset this year. I am planning to spend a lot of time writing and recording these episodes over the remainder of March and April so that I have a lot of episodes built up before weddings pick up again this year.

Since you are listening to this podcast I think my planner or type A personality is in good company here. The photo timeline of a wedding day plays a HUGE role in the success of the photographer and the quality and craft of the photos. I want to clarify, this episode and this podcast in general is not to take the place or role of a wedding planner and I do think a photo timeline can aide the wedding venue or day of coordinator. A full service wedding planner is going to communicate with your photographer, venue, and all of your vendors and you will likely not need to give much input for the day of timeline. A venue or day of coordinator could likely base their plans directly from the photographer’s photo timeline and add in pertinent details from there. The timeline and details I discuss in this episode will be strictly photo related, I am not planning out when catering or florals are set up ect. So a full wedding day timeline is different than a photo timeline, not by a ton but if I gave all the vendors a copy of my photo timeline it may or may not be helpful to them. The photo timeline however does go through the full day so I touch on almost everything.

I think there is about a 50:50 chance that you will book your wedding photographer with an hourly based photo collection or package. I occasionally sell full day coverage collections, especially for our out of state or out of the country weddings, but from my experience the majority of mid-range photographers sell hourly collections. Side note- I have dreams of one day only offering full day wedding coverage because that would allow me to have input on the timeline and create the space that can often be rushed, but for now hourly options serve my ideal clients well.

So diving into the timeline, which I am definitely going to leave a typed version in the show notes too for visual reference, we are going to stick with as average/usual of timeline as it can come. We will stick to an 8 hour timeline, and assume this fake wedding couple will have a first look and a medium sized bridal party (4-6 on each side) and that this wedding will take place at a single location venue- or a venue where the getting ready locations, ceremony, cocktail hour and reception are all in the same place or guests do not need to drive between locations. So about as simple as it comes. In Colorado a lot of venues are a catch-all sort of location so this is becoming more and more common.

I am going to just talk through the full timeline of the day, and then we will go back and break each section down.

The Ideal Wedding Day Photography Timeline

1:00- Photographer arrives 

1:05- Details
2:00- Getting ready outfits for Bride and Bridesmaids

2:10- Bride getting ready, Groom getting ready by second photographer

2:40- Bridesmaid first look, groom and groomsmen boutonnieres pinned

2:45- Bride first look with Dad

3:00- First look & couple’s formal portraits

3:45- Bridal party portraits

4:30- Pre-ceremony portraits finished as guests begin to arrive

– photographers capture the ceremony and reception room details

5:30- Ceremony

6:15- Cocktail hour, family portraits, enjoy time with guests

7:00- Bustle dress while guests find their seats

7:15- Grand entrance into reception

8:00- Golden hour portraits (15 minutes)

9:00- End of coverage/ Staged Send Off

Here is a breakdown of how long to leave for different sections of your wedding day portraits.

Details- 1 hour

Getting Ready Outfits- 10-15 minutes

Bride Getting Ready- 30 minutes to get into dress, yes 30! Quiet moments with mom and sibling or bridesmaid, not full room to give space for simple portraits.

Bridesmaid first look- 5 minutes

Bride first look with Dad- 15 minutes, mostly for setting everyone up in correct locations ect.

First look and couple’s formal portraits- 45 minutes, allows time to actually talk after seeing each other, personal vows if applicable and then portraits! Individual and together

Bridal Party portraits- 45 minutes, with two photographers tag teaming, if no bridal party or very small like 1-2 on each side, then we could do some immediate family portraits here too

Pre-ceremony portraits end- 1 hour break! Why? Because some guests will be early, this gives the couple a chance to touch up / take a break from heat or cold, and because usually things run late somewhere so it’s great to have extra timing built in

Ceremony- 30 minutes- probably 45 is a better estimate with allowing for late arriving guests to be seated before starting

Cocktail hour- Family portraits 30 -45 minutes, then the couple can mingle with guests and actually enjoy their own cocktail hour!

Bustle Dress while guests find their seats – 5-15 minutes depending on bustle

Enter Reception- a grand entrance

Golden Hour Portraits- 10-15 minutes before sunset, ideally after the couple finishes dinner they step out and finish those up

End of coverage/staged send off- tbd

So there you have it, an ideal timeline from the wedding photographer’s perspective. I will add that almost every wedding day is different and this will require some adjusting. But it’s not a bad place to start. I hope this helps your planning!

Conclusion – Now is the time when I ask you to follow, subscribe, rate and or review this podcast. Sharing these episodes with your friends is also probably the best way for new people to find this podcast. I hope that wedding planning is going well for you and always feel free to send me a dm on Instagram if you had future episode topic requests or questions following an episode. Thanks for listening! 

Thanks for listening / reading!

xo, Taylor Nicole

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

share this post: