Before you start your search for the ideal wedding photographer, take a moment to appreciate the value of wedding photography itself. One reason to invest in an experienced wedding expert as your photographer is their ability to help you craft a wedding timeline that flows smoothly—something you can actually stick to, but that also allows for flexibility. The first step is to collaborate with your photographer early in the planning process! If they’re anything like me, they’ll feel privileged to be part of your planning journey and ready to be a helpful resource for you.

Here is what a typical wedding timeline looks like when you hire Andi Jo Photography as your photographer

how to create a wedding timeline


The morning of your wedding day is a pivotal moment, setting the tone for the entire day ahead. As your nerves and excitement bubble, you find yourself surrounded by your closest friends, sharing in the anticipation and joy. It’s a time for pampering, as you indulge in moments of relaxation and beauty treatments. But perhaps most importantly, it’s a time for reflection, a moment to pause and take in the magnitude of the day ahead, the love you share, and the journey you’re about to embark on together.

Casual + PJ getting ready photos

Bride gets into dress with Mom’s help

Dress reveal with Bridesmaids

Groom has first look with his Mom + she boutonnières him

Bride + Dad first look

First Look allows for Couple Photos, Wedding Party Photos, & Family Photos to be done before the ceremony

Hiding Break 30 or so mins before the ceremony

how to create a wedding timeline


The first look is a magical moment when the bride and groom see each other for the first time on their wedding day. Whether you choose to wait until the bride walks down the aisle or opt for a “first look” before the ceremony, it’s a moment filled with pure magic. While my team and I deeply respect tradition, we find there are several reasons to consider a first look. Nearly all of our couples this year have chosen to have a first look. Here are three reasons to consider it:

1. A First Look helps cut through the chaos of the wedding day. Allowing your nerves to calm down

2. From a timeline perspective, it allows for more time for photos without sacrificing the cocktail hour.

3. It provides a moment for you to connect with your partner privately.

how to create a wedding timeline

We’ve discovered that there isn’t a “good” or “bad” time to take your wedding ceremony photos. However, a ceremony start time between 3:30 and 4:30 is most common. This allows ample time for you to get into your dress and take family photos, wedding party shots, and couple portraits! If you’re leaning towards a longer cocktail hour or if there’s travel between venues, we recommend starting the ceremony at 3:30. Consider the length of your ceremony and the duration of the cocktail hour as well.

If you’re having your first look down the aisle, starting your ceremony closer to 2:30-3:00, depending on the ceremony length, will give you plenty of time. Some couples like to offer guests a suggested bar between the ceremony location and the reception before the cocktail hour begins.

how to create a wedding timeline
how to create a wedding timeline


Once you’ve set the ceremony time and the length of the cocktail hour, your reception timeline will flow smoothly. Allow guests to be seated 15 minutes before the grand march. The evening typically starts with the entrance—whether it’s a grand march or a sparkler and confetti entrance. After opening remarks, usually made by a family member, a blessing or word of welcome follows (5 minutes). Dinner service begins shortly after. Speeches take place when dinner service is nearly complete, about an hour into the dinner.

Guest Seated

Grand March

Welcome Toast + Blessing



Thank you from the couple

Dessert Break (while we take sunset photos)

First Dances

A helpful tip: If there are more than three speeches, it’s common to split them between the dessert service. Cake cutting can be done at any time during the night. Some couples choose to do it as soon as they enter or to privately cut the cake during dinner. Allow 15-20 minutes for sunset photos before the first formal dances (15 minutes), which mark the start of the dancing.


We hope this helps you create a wedding timeline that’s perfect for your day. Have questions? Ask Andi! Or check out the Blog! Thank you for being here. It truly is an honor.

May 14, 2024

wedding planning, weddings

Leave a Reply

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