Wedding Timeline 102

So you have seen the first half of my example timeline already- so let’s get to after the ceremony. This is the part many people don’t spend as much time on. And while the ceremony is over, this is typically when all your vendors are starting to work together. The caterer needs to be fully setup and clear out of the room in time for the photographer to get detail shots. The DJ or band is done setting up for the reception but makes some room for the photographer to have access to some outlets for charging equipment. Or setup external flash units next to them. The planner is holding their breathe that the photographer gets enough detail shots of all their hard work.

So having a precise and accurate timeline of your reception is just as critical as before your ceremony. Having a specific window of time for people to give toasts ensures I’m not eating on the opposite end of the room, charging equipment and suddenly the best man stands up to give his speech- which makes me, mouth full, semi-choke down my food, grab my equipment and try to get a few good shots. The point is, I want to have as much info and heads up as I can. The point of my job is to grab the unexpected, wonderful moments. And I will. But having a detailed timeline of the reception ensures I’m where I’m supposed to be, when I’m supposed to be there. I know when I have a few minutes to take detail shots. Or I can afford to run outside and take pictures of the exit car your friend’s decorated.

Now let’s go from the ceremony on:

  • 5:30- Ceremony ends. Couple exits with ribbon wands or bubbles or rice or petals or whatever. Remember, hold the kiss or better, kiss twice!
  • 5:32- Have a specific place you arranged ahead of time to go and soak in the fact your married for 5 minutes. It will just be you two and me waaay in the background.
  • 5:37- Sunset couple shots. Perfect light = mouth watering photos (adjust this time based on time of year)
  • 5:35- Cocktail hour begins
  • 5:50- Couple goes to cocktail hour
  • 5:50- I’m getting reception detail shots. Please ask your caterer for this time to have no wait staff in the reception room for the ability to have a few minutes to get wide, whole room shots with no one in the background.
  • 6:20- Guests directed to the reception room. *If you are having the cocktail hour in the same room as the reception or not having a cocktail hour, we need to make sure there is enough time for me to get detail shots before the guests arrive and put down dirty glasses, napkins, coats, etc
  • 6:30- Couple either is announced or is already at reception
  • 6:30- First course served or buffet opens. If you plan on having toasts during dinner or right after dinner ends, please make sure the caterer knows this and serves my meal with the first table. Often times they serve the vendors last which leaves me scrambling and stressed to scarf down dinner or not eat to get the toasts.
  • 7:30- Toasts. Remind your toasters (is that a word?) that they should practice their speech ahead of time so they know how long it will be
  • 7:40- First Dance/Parent Dances
  • 8:30- Cake cutting/Dessert
  • 8:35- More dancing!
  • 9:30- Last dance
  • 9:40- Couple/Guests exit
  • 9:40-10:40- Caterer cleans up