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Wedding Photography Timeline Suggestion

Wedding Day Timeline and Suggested Times for your Wedding Photography


Having your wedding in Seattle gives you a wide array of photographic opportunities. With the many venues and endless scenic options, the right timeline can give you breathtaking images that will last a lifetime. As your wedding photographer, we have developed a recommended timeline you should consider when planning your wedding day.

Keep in mind at these times are suggestions. Some of these times may seem long on paper, but come your wedding day, time will fly by. It's been our experience that most weddings run behind schedule. But more importantly, the photo sessions we plan are fun and exciting. A combination of these things makes it so your day will fly by.



Seattle Wedding Photography | Wedding Venue Details

The Beginning

  • Time allotment: 5 to 10 minutes
  • Time of day: Morning to early afternoon
  • Location: Your Wedding Venue

It starts with our arrival. Typically we take about five to ten minutes to familiarize ourselves with your venue. Even if we've been to your venue before, things are set up differently from one wedding to the next (i.e. cake table on other side of room, different table configuration, etc.). We want to know where everything is going to be at for your particular wedding, and we'll want this information before your guests arrive. This will also allow us to see if the venue has made any changes since we last photographed at your venue.



Rings & Things (Ring, Dress, Shoes, Jewelry, and other details)

  • Time allotment: 20 to 30 minutes
  • Time of day: Morning to early afternoon
  • Location: Bridal Suite, Hotel Suite and different spots around the venue

Having adequate time for these details ensures we have plenty of time to get perfect untouched shots of the dress, shoes and bouquets (which tend to look more worn as the day progresses). This will also allow us to photograph these items in a more controlled environment.

There are times when the bridal suite or room are either too crowded or unappealing for detail photographs. If this happens, we may take the dress to another scenic place at the venue. But the results will show that this extra time is well worth it.


Seattle Wedding Photography | Getting Ready for a Wedding

Bride & Bridesmaids and Groom & Groomsman Getting Ready

  • Time allotment: 30 to 45 minutes
  • Time of day: Morning to early afternoon
  • Location: Bridal Suite, Hotel Suite and different spots around the venue

Having this time to photograph is ideal for getting the best getting ready shots. During this time, we are getting close up shots of you and your bridesmaids and family members. We are photographing makeup application and hair styling as well as the candid bridesmaid and groomsman interaction. Keep in mind these are some of the more emotional times throughout the day, so you want to be as relaxed and happy as possible. Stress shows in pictures, so you will want to make sure you have our day of coordinators or another family member handing the details.

Room Staging: Make sure to keep the room fairly organized and neat. As you are getting ready througout the day, pay careful attention to where you are placing or discarding different items. Drinks and food wrappers are unappealing for photographs, so they should be placed on one part of the room (which we can work around).



First Moments

  • Time allotment: 20 to 30 minutes
  • Time of day: Morning to early afternoon
  • Location: Venue Garden or other scenic spot (in a shaded but well lit area)

The first look should normally take about 5 to 10 minutes, with the remaining time being spent on getting candid and posed bride and groom shots. This allows us to capture the bride and groom as they first see each other on their wedding day. We seek to capture the enjoyment and emotion of this time together. This time should be with only the bride and groom (and photographers).

This is not the only time we will get pictures of the bride and groom together. Often times we will get shots right before the ceremony, with the remaining shots being taken during down times at the reception.

*If you anticipate a tight timeline with no time during the reception for bride and groom photographs, we highly recommend building in an additional 30 to 45 minutes for bride and groom candids and portraits.



Wedding Party Candids

  • Time allotment: 30 to 45 minutes
  • Time of day: Morning to early afternoon
  • Location: Venue Garden, Garden, Beach or other off-site location

Wedding party photographs offer a variety of shots and poses. We start off with basic poses. Typically this involves the bridesmaids and groomsmen solo shots, shots with the bride and groom and wedding party fun candids.

With time permitting, we typically move on to fun and creative shots in different areas. It is advisable to do this before the wedding ceremony, but in cases where time doesn't permit, we can do this after the ceremony, whether it be during cocktail hour or the reception.

Keep in mind: The later it gets, the harder it is to gather everybody, especially if you are having alcohol at your wedding. It's best to get any wedding party candids done before the ceremony.



Family Formals & Bridal Party Formals

  • Time allotment: 30 to 45 minutes
  • Time of day: Afternoon
  • Location: Venue Lobby, Garden, Park, Beach or other off-site location

Immediate family photographs take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the size and complexity of the photographs. Smaller families (i.e. immediate family only) are quicker than extended families (i.e. parents and step parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.).

Our studio is skilled and regimented when it comes to these kinds of photographs. Typically we work from the bride's family - largest to smallest, then we move on to the groom's family, largest to smallest. That way we can get as many people back to the wedding festivities as quickly as possible. We are also mindful of any older family members as well as any young children. We try to get those family members photographed early in the process.

After we finish with the family, we typically will photograph the wedding party in the same setting. With the wedding party, we work from the bride's side - large to small. Then we start on the groom's side, working from large to small.

We know how important family is. That is why we take the family formal's seriously. We also stress it is important to photograph key family members during the course of the day as well.



Venue Details (Ceremony and Reception Site at Same Location)

  • Time allotment: 20 to 30 minutes
  • Time of day: Afternoon
  • Location: Ceremony and Reception Site

Our studio would like to have an opportunity to photograph the ceremony and reception site, completely set up with no guests or wedding vendors in the area. Ideally the site is complete, and untouched. Guests have not settled into their seats, nor have they left their personal belongings in the area.

Before your guests are seated, it is important to photograph your wedding venue completely set up, so that we capture all the details as you planned them. Once your guests settle into the area, it may be next to impossible to get a nice clean shot of the wedding venue.



Reception Details (Reception at Different Location than Ceremony)

  • Time allotment: 15 to 20 minutes
  • Time of day: Afternoon to Early Evening
  • Location: Reception Grand Ballroom, Reception Site

If the ceremony and reception take place at different locations, our studio would like to have an opportunity to photograph the reception site in the same manner that we photographed the ceremony site. Ideally this will be photographed completely set up with no guests or wedding vendors in the area. Guests have not settled into their seats, nor have they left their personal belongings in the area.

This is a particular challenge when the photographers arrive with the newlyweds, and the newlyweds stop for photographs along the way to the reception site and do not go directly to the reception site as the guests do.

Ideally you can have a cocktail hour to resolve this. Similarly to the ceremony site, this will give us the opportunity to capture the reception room prior to the guests settling in.




Newlywed Session

  • Time allotment: 45 to 60 minutes
  • Time of day: Late Afternoon to Early Evening
  • Location: Reception Venue, Grand Ballroom

We would like to have the opportunity to photograph the newlywed after the ceremony, around sunset time. Typically we can start around 30 minutes before sunset since this will give us the best opportunity for great lighting.

The hour before sunset is known as the golden hour. This lighting provides for a more dynamic sky, emphasizing the blues, oranges and yellows of the evening sky.

If you booked a venue based on a view (i.e. winery, valley overlook, ocean view, etc.), it is important to keep this timeline in mind since once the sun sets, we won't have another opportunity to get the kinds of pictures we could get prior to sunset.



Reception Sneak Out - Night Shots

  • Time allotment: 10 to 15 minutes
  • Time of day: Dusk or Night Time
  • Location: Areas with Interesting Lights, Fountains, City Scenes, Mirrors

During the reception, we'd love to get a few night shots with the newlyweds. Typically we will set up in advance, then pull the newlyweds from the reception for a few shots. It is important to allow us time to do this if you want to enjoy the nighttime shots we can provide. This is a perfect time to get away from the festivities for a few minutes while still being a good host. Typically we are quick at doing this, and your guests will hardly notice you were even gone.