8 Tips on planning your wedding timeline for optimal photography!

As a wedding photographer with over a decade of experience and more than 350 weddings under my belt, I’ve seen firsthand how a well-considered timeline can make a massive difference in the quality and variety of photos you’ll end up with from your wedding day. Here’s a guide to planning your wedding timeline to ensure optimal results from your photography.

Tip 1

Start with a consultation:

Before anything else, have a thorough consultation with your photographer. This will help you understand each other’s expectations and vision, allowing the photographer to provide insightful input on your timeline based on their professional experience.

(With Greg Moss Photography, we include a pre-wedding consultation with every wedding to discuss your perfect timeline, any unique events of your day, family, and other photos.)

Tip 2

Factor in Preparation Time:

Allow ample time for your “getting ready” shots. These often-overlooked moments are some of the most beautiful and emotional, capturing the anticipation and excitement before the ceremony. Typically, scheduling about 1.5-2 hours for getting ready photos works well.

Click here for 8 tips on getting the most out of your preparation photos.

Tip 3

Consider a First Look Session:

Many couples opt for a ‘first look’ session before the ceremony. This intimate moment, where the couple sees each other in their wedding attire for the first time, can yield truly emotional and memorable photographs. If you choose to do this, factor in about 15-30 minutes in your timeline.

There is a lot to consider when thinking about a first look.

Click here to view my article on the pros and cons of a first look. 

Tip 4

Ceremony and Post-ceremony:

Make sure you allow a buffer time before and after your ceremony. A delay in the start of the ceremony is quite common and having a bit of extra time will keep things stress-free. After the ceremony, you’ll want family and group photos or creative photos of the two of you if you’ve taken the advice from above and done a first look. This can typically take between 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of your group.

Tip 5

Bridal Party and Couple Photos:

After the ceremony and group shots, it’s time for photos with your bridal party and couple portraits. This is the chance to capture the unique connections and relationships in your bridal party. For the couple, it’s a moment of respite to enjoy each other’s company and get some gorgeous shots together. Schedule around 1-1.5 hours for this.

Tip 6

Reception Entry and First Dance:

The reception offers numerous opportunities for unforgettable photos, starting with the grand entrance of the newlyweds and the first dance. Make sure your photographer is prepared and positioned well in advance to capture these moments.

If you are doing a unique entrance and/or dance with a creative or special move notify your photographer in advance (preferably in your pre-wedding consultation meeting) of your entrance.

Tip 7

Sunset and Evening Shots:

If possible, aim to have some free time around sunset. This ‘golden hour’ can provide stunning light for additional couple portraits.  Also, consider allocating time for nighttime shots, which can add an entirely different mood and aesthetic to your wedding album.

If you have checked out my wedding gallery you know these are some of my favorites photos. If you haven’t looked yet here is a link to my wedding gallery. 

Tip 8

Don’t Forget the Party:

Finally, allocate time for candid party shots! Once the formalities are over, everyone lets loose and these are the moments of pure, unfiltered joy that you’ll definitely want to remember.


Every wedding is unique, and this guide serves as a basic structure that you should feel free to adapt based on your specific needs and vision for your day. The goal is to ensure a smooth flow for your wedding while allowing your photographer the time needed to capture beautiful, diverse, and emotionally charged images that you’ll cherish for a lifetime.

To get help with your specific wedding day timeline, text me at 413-274-7347. I can help you figure out how many hours of photography coverage you may need based on the different planned events and locations of your big day.

My goal is to be a resource for you and your wedding day.