Crafting a beautiful wedding photography timeline is an incredibly important part of my process as a wedding photographer. It’s more than just capturing the moments that happen on your special day, it’s essential in order to be able to tell your story in the most romantic and artistic way possible.
For me, creating an effective wedding photography timeline begins with our very first interaction. From the moment I meet my couples before they even book, I get to learn more about their love story, passions, dreams, and desires for their big day. With this information in hand, I’m able to map out a unique timeline for each couple – one that captures all those magical moments that will be shared between them and their loved ones on their wedding day.
Today I’m going to share a few of my secrets for creating the perfect wedding photography timeline so that you can remain present in the moment on your special day without any worries. If you are just starting to dive into the world of wedding planning, this post is for you!
First, how do you want your wedding day to feel?
One of the most important questions on my contact form is this: Tell me everything! I’d love to know more about you, your wedding plans, and what you’re looking for when it comes to photos!
And that’s strategic. Because the best wedding photography timeline starts with how you want to feel on your wedding day. I like to start very high-level, and then break down the details from there.
What do you need to include in your wedding photography timeline?
I know this may sound cliche, but every wedding, venue, style, and couple is different, and their wedding photography timeline is, too. I always start with how my couples want their wedding day to feel and then we can start to break down the details.
For example, do they want to get ready apart or together? What does transportation look like? Will they be walking to their wedding portraits location together? Would they like to have a first look or an aisle reveal? Do they want to attend cocktail hour together? Should we schedule in any moments for “just the two of them”? Do they want to sneak out during their reception for sunset portraits?
It ALL matters. And it looks different for every single couple I work with.
How to create your wedding photography timeline
If it sounds like I take my couples’ wedding photography timelines seriously, it’s because I do. In order to craft the perfect “day of” timeline, my process looks a little bit like this:
- Shortly after they book me as their wedding photographer, I ask my couples to fill out a relationship questionnaire, where I get to know the two of them even more. One of the most important questions I ask is about what they are MOST looking forward to on their wedding day. Their answer serves as my “North Star” for their wedding timeline.
- Closer to the date, I will send them a more detailed timeline questionnaire. In that document, they can fill out details like: what details do I need to capture during getting ready photos, what is their rainy weather plan, what is their color palette, what do family portraits look like, what time is the cake cutting – and so much more. NO detail is too small at this point.
- From there, I combine the details in both questionnaires onto a master “day of document” so that I make sure I don’t miss a THING on their wedding day. It’s a true combination of details (i.e. the cake cutting is at 8:40pm) and feelings (i.e. They are REALLY looking forward to quiet moments together).
- I then review the timeline with my couples not once, but twice. First, shortly after they fill out the timeline questionnaire, and second, about a week before the wedding in case anything has changed.
Why a Wedding Photography Timeline Matters
If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you likely know two things: first, I am a romantic at heart, and second, getting to know my couples personally is incredibly important to me.
I remember when I was getting married, it was important to me to find a vendor team I trusted to take care of me so that I could stay in the moment for my own wedding. Now, I promise to deliver the same thing back to each and every couple that trusts me to document their wedding day.
Creating a photography timeline for your elopement or micro wedding
I once saw something on Instagram that said, “Photographers are paid to pay attention.” I couldn’t agree more, and that’s why a wedding planning timeline is so important. With a traditional wedding, there is often a second photographer so there are two sets of eyes making sure nothing is missed.
Although there are often fewer moving pieces with an elopement or micro wedding, a wedding photography timeline is even more important because I am often the only wedding photographer and don’t want to miss a thing!
Your Wedding Photographer Should Help You With Your Wedding Photography Timeline
I truly believe the wedding photography timeline creation process should be a collaborative process. My couples rely on my expertise to guide them and help them craft the perfect timeline for their wedding day that will ultimately result in them feeling the way they want to feel as they kick off the next chapter of their love story.
If you are in the beginning stages of planning your wedding, just know that you don’t need to create your timeline alone. I know as a wedding photographer, I like to be super involved because it helps me show up prepared for your wedding day. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and communicate exactly what you want on your wedding day. Happy Wedding Planning!