Wedding Photography Timing Guide

There is nothing I love more than sharing a smooth flowing and fun-filled day with the bride, groom and bridal party. As a bride or groom planning your wedding, I am sure you wouldn’t want your day unfolding any other way!

To help my clients plan their photography and enjoy their day, I offer the benefit of my years of experience photographing weddings and recommend the following Wedding Photography Timing Guide as a starting point when planning your photography. For weddings with an alternative flow of events, tell me about your plans and I will work with you to create a photography schedule to ensure you get the photos you want and your photography flows smoothly on the day.

The timings below work well for most weddings and in cases where we end up with a little time up our sleeve, it is always put to great use, providing some extra photo opportunities when we are out on location!


Wedding Photography Timing Guide

1) Preparations
1 – 2 hours
I generally allow 30 minutes of photography for Groom’s preparation and a minimum of 45 minutes for the Brides preparations. In this scenario the bride, groom and wedding party are dressed with just the finishing touches to go. For brides who would like photos of the dress on its own, please allow at least an hour for your photos. If you would like make-up and hair photographed while your stylist is preparing you, we will need to factor in additional time for this. Time may also need to be factored in for travel between the bride and grooms preparation venues.

2) Ceremony, Signing and Congratulations
 1 hour
The average wedding ceremony duration is 1/2 an hour and I allow 1/2 an hour more for signing, presentation of the couple and congratulations by guests. If you are having a particularly short ceremony, allow 45 minutes for the ceremony, signing and congratulations.

3) ‘Big Group’ and Family Photos
45 minutes
I like to offer my clients a ‘big group photo’ with all their guests included. This is always a popular option but it does take some time to gather 60-120 people together and arrange them artfully! I find 15-20 minutes is usually required. After the big group photo, I will usually ask the bride’s and groom’s family to please stay for the family photos which will usually require around 30 minutes. If your wedding party is under 30 people, please allow 30 minutes for the ‘big group’ and family photos.   

4) Location Photography
45 minutes per location
For a variety of photos at a location, allow 45 minutes per location plus an allowance for travel time in between locations. Many couples choose 2 or 3 locations and spend between 1.5-2 hours on location before arriving at the reception. For locations such as vineyards and large parks, where there is often a rich diversity of photo opportunities at the one location, it is not uncommon for a couple to request all their location photos to be taken in one place. In this case it is best to allow one hour. Late afternoon and evening provides the best light for photography and is an ideal time for location photos. Many couples choose to use these optimum times for their location photography and schedule there arrival at reception for just after sunset.

5) Arrival at Reception
30 minutes
After your arrival I will often capture general photos of the room & guests, photograph decorations and a mock or actual cake cut.

6) Reception
1 – 4 hours   
Reception photography often includes speeches, the first dance, cake cut, candid guest photos, social photos of groups and couples, dance floor photos, night time bride and groom portraits and anything else you would like to request.

Please remember that these timings are a general guide and you will need to work closely with myself and your wedding planner to ensure there is ample time for the all photos you want.