Wedding Planning Timeline

November 10, 2017  •  Leave a Comment



Planning your wedding can be a daunting task.  There is so much to think about and so many decisions to make. One part that couples struggle with is how much time to plan for their photography needs. Events take more time then you think on your wedding day and there are many unknown or hidden time factors.  One of these "hidden time" factors is needing a photographer actually 30 minutes before the ceremony official start time to photograph guests arriving, groomsmen putting on boutonieers, groom and best man at the altar, brides arrival, procession line up etc.  Other "Unknown or hidden time factors" are receiving lines at a ceremony which can take an easy 30 minutes or more and then there are the travel time between venues etc. and time needed for organizing groups for portraits.  These times start to add up and what couples plan in their mind as a 4 hour wedding can easily require up to 6 hours in reality.

Your wedding is one of the most important events in your life. You want to give it the time it needs and will actually require.  It is also a time when you family members will come from all across the country to attend. Often you have not seen these family members in years nor may see in the future.  You really want to use the time to capture these moments and have the time to do it without having being rushed and pressured. Prior planning and time alocation can make all the difference on your wedding day.


 To assist you with this I have provided a wedding planning timeline to help you determine how many hours of coverage would best be needed to cover your wedding day


Wedding Planning Timeline
Wedding Segment  Description

Average time needed

Getting ready girls Bride and bridesmaids getting ready-shots of rings, dress, shoes, putting on make-up,  bride putting on dress, mother and or  bridesmaids helping bride, portraits of bride and bridesmaids  (sometimes first look shots done at this time with groom and or father) 1-1.5  hours
Getting ready guys Groom and  groomsmen getting ready-shots of guys putting on tux and jackets, cuff links, boutonieers, shoes, ties, portraits of groom and groomsmen (sometimes first look shots done at this time with bride) 1-1.5 hours
First look shots Groom and bride seeing each other for the first time.  Sometimes father and daughter seeing each other for the first time.  Can be done at getting ready location or a special location, Time can be extended to include bride and groom portraits. 15-30 minutes
Pre-ceremony shots Church interior detail shots, guests arriving at church, groomsmen putting on boutonieers, bride's arrival and procession line up. Groom and best man at alter etc. 30 minutes before ceremony
Ceremony Wedding ceremonies range from 30 minutes for a simple outdoor ceremony with a Justice of the Peace to 1 Hour average for a Catholic Ceremony with communion.  I have had some Catholic masses to go 1.5 hours 30 minutes to 1 hour average
Receiving line Sometimes a receiving line is done after the church ceremony. Receiving lines can take more time than anticipated depending on number of guests etc. 30 minutes average
Portraits Portraits of the bride and groom together and separate.  Portraits of the bridal party with bride and groom in various combinations, family portraits  

1-1.5 hours average

1 hour to get standard shots 

1.5 to 2 hours for more groupings and combinations

Cocktail hour Cocktail hour is often included in the reception time, but keep in mind when planning time for your portraits that the (formal reception) begins with the introductions.  Portraits are often done during the cocktail hour but doesn't have to be that way  1 hour
Reception Photos of the reception room details, table settings, wedding cake etc., Introductions, first dance, parent dances, toasts, blessings, cake cutting, candid shots and dancing shots, (sometimes bouquet and garter toss)

4-5 hours average

(including cocktail hour)

Travel  times Travel time between venues and parking etc needs to be factored into your timeline.  Especially for those planning a Friday evening wedding when travel times can be much longer then expected to get to the venue and between venues  
Total wedding time Add up all these factors and determine the time you will need for your wedding day  


© John Munno Weddings


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Meet John

Your wedding is one of the most important days of your life and you want a photographer who has the skills and experience to capture every precious moment.  I have been formally trained in photography through the New York Institute of Photography and The Wedding School.  I started my career as a landscape and commercial photographer where precision, detail and accuracy were required in every job.  I bring these skills to every wedding assuring you will have a beautiful collection of photographs of your wedding day from beginning to end. Vision, attention, creativity, communication and caring go into every aspect of your wedding.  I was awarded Best of the Knot 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023,  Knot Hall of Fame award and Wedding Wire Couples Choice Award 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023 for my hard work, many 5 star reviews and  happy clients.