7 Wedding Day Timeline Tips From Your Photographer

July 8, 2021

Indianapolis wedding photographer


You are NOT alone! This may be your first wedding, but it’s not ours. When it comes to wedding days, we’ve learned valuable lessons, and we want to pass those along to you! Here are a few tips to help you plan your wedding day timeline.

1. Check sunset time on your wedding day.

This may sound like an unrelated detail, but it’s so important for lighting and photography! If you’re having a fall or winter wedding and want to take photos after the ceremony, you may want to have an earlier ceremony. If you’re having a summer wedding and have always dreamed of a sparkler exit, you may want to have a later ceremony time to ensure it’s actually dark when you’re ready to leave.

2. Don’t forget to add in travel time PLUS.

If you’re traveling between locations at all on your wedding day, add in the time it takes between destinations PLUS an extra 15 minutes. You may be traveling from the salon to the venue, venue to the church, etc. All these trips add up on your day.

3. Start your day early.

Start your day earlier than you think you need to start. Hair and makeup can take a hot minute, and if they take longer than you expected, you’ll be behind for the rest of the day. By starting everything on your day early, you won’t have to rush around and may feel more relaxed. You may even be ready early and have more time for photos!

4. Decide if you’ll have a first look.

This decision is completely up to you! Sometimes a first look ensures you get the photographs you want when sunset, travel, or time constraints get in the way of the timeline. No matter what you choose to do, we can help you navigate what you want and how we can make it work!

5. Organize your family portraits.

The truth is family portraits are not difficult to take, but it’s difficult to get everyone there! It seems we are always missing an uncle or cousin. Make a list of all the family members you’d like to have in your photos. A family portrait list can be so helpful in a several ways:

  1. We can plan on getting photos with any kids done first so they can go and play.
  2. We can organize the photo list so that grandparents do not need to stand for long periods or go in and out of too many photos.
  3. We can make sure we get all the combinations: bride and groom with brides’ sisters, bride and mom, groom and mom, and so on.
  4. We can keep everything moving smoothly and faster so you can get on with the party!

6. Plan for the wedding party to be hidden away 30 minutes before ceremony.

Wedding guests are so excited for the ceremony that they often begin arriving 30 minutes or more before the ceremony is scheduled to begin. So we plan on it! This is a great time for your wedding party to eat, relax, and touch-up makeup.

7. Ask for help!

I always say to my couples, “If your hair and makeup pros ask what time they need to be finished, call ME!” I want to plan for your amazing wedding day photos, not just hope we have time for them. With careful planning and thoughtful questions, we can create a wedding day timeline that will work!

Remember—we’re here to help! We’re always sending out tips and tricks to our couples, so stay tuned for more!

Heather Sherrill is an Indianapolis-based photographer specializing in weddings and branding photography.