Helpful Wedding Timeline Templates

I think it's fair to say we have all been a guest at a wedding where you have had to wait for HOURS for the bride and groom and the bridal party to arrive at the reception. Or perhaps there has been an awkwardly long gap in between the ceremony and reception? Last year I was a guest at a wedding and we waited 3 hours to enter the reception and we were in the middle of nowhere so couldn't even pop to the pub!

A timeline may not be the most exciting thing to think about when it comes to planning your wedding, but I think it’s one of the most important things! It can make or break your photography, and be the difference between your guests having the time of their lives celebrating with you, or wondering where you are half the time.

The timelines below outline an ideal wedding day timetable for a summer ceremony, winter ceremony, and an evening ceremony with a first look and wedding party and couple portraits pre-ceremony.

Please remember that all weddings are unique and some people may have to alter their timeline due to travel times and unique situations. This should prove to be a good guide and provide you with ample photographic coverage in beautiful light!

Summer Weddings

1-3pm Coverage of Client 1 getting ready

3:30-4pm Ceremony

4:15-4:45pm Group Photos

5-6:20pm Wedding Party Photos

6:30pm Enter Reception - Cake Cutting, Start Dinner, Speeches etc

8-8:20 Sunset Photos

9-9:30 First Dance

wedding couple kissing, bride wears a flower crown while the sunset beams over her shoulder

Winter Weddings

12-2pm Coverage of Client 1 getting ready

2:30-3pm Ceremony

3:15-3:45pm Group Photos

4-4:45pm Wedding Party Photos

5-5:20pm Sunset Photos with the Couple

5:30pm Enter Reception - Cake Cutting, Start Speeches etc

6:00pm Start Dinner, Continue Speeches throughout courses

8pm First Dance

Indian wedding photos in forest, couple standing in a field of wild flowers

First Look Summer Wedding

1:30-3pm Coverage of Client 1 getting ready

3:10pm First Look

3:40pm Wedding Party Photos

4:30pm Client 2 and Wedding Party leave for Ceremony to welcome Guests

5-5:30pm Ceremony

5:45-6:30 Group Photos

5:45-6:30pm Cocktail Hour

6:45-9:30pm Reception

8pm Sneak out for Sunset photos between courses

bridesmaids in green dresses see bride for the first time


This time is for me to capture all of the little details like the dress, suit, shoes, and accessories before they get put on. I know how much effort you have put into the little details of the day, like your invitations, so I always like to photograph these as a gorgeous flat lay so be sure to have all your special details ready to be photographed. I love capturing the general atmosphere of the room, it is such an exciting time for all and I just love the emotions on the day! It's also great to capture the last touches of hair and makeup or styling and a few photographs with any family who may be present. I will always get the wedding party and any family members to be dressed and ready before the bride or groom so that they can help them get into their outfits looking perfect. I usually leave the bride or groom before they leave their house to arrive at the ceremony or first look and ensure everything is in place. I will capture you arriving so stay in the car until you see me!


Most ceremonies I photograph are half an hour long, but this time can obviously be adjusted. If you are having a longer ceremony or a service within your ceremony let me know and we can discuss timings. The ceremony is one of the most important moments of your wedding day where you make life long promises to each other, it also goes by so quickly so you want to cherish it. Top tip - be sure to look out at all of your guests at some point during the ceremony, this was one of my favourite memories on my wedding day that I will cherish always!

Group Photos

On the day I always leave a bit of time for the couple to say hello to people and let others congratulate them straight after the ceremony. This is such great time for those candid hugging shots and smiling faces! But it’s important to do the family portraits really soon after the "hugging line", so people don’t leave! If you're a Nicole Paton Photography couple, during the planning stages you will receive my questionnaire one month out from the big day asking you to complete the family photo list. I usually start with the large group photo and then move to one side of the family before photographing the other. We will follow the photo list in the order it is written. It’s a good idea to get your celebrant, pastor, or MC to quickly announce where the family photos will be just before the ceremony finishes so there is no confusion. I also ask my couples to nominate a photo helper who knows both sides of the families to help wrangle the stranglers and have the next group ready to photograph. Family photos are important but they don’t need to take a long time so follow the list and we will smash them out together!

Wedding Party Photos

Shortly after the group photos are done, you'll have a chance to hydrate use the loo and touch up any make up that may have shifted during the congratulatory hugs and kisses. Then we will head off to the photo location and have some fun. At this point most venues will make up a picnic basket with the canapés on offer during the cocktail hour, some beers and champagne. Be sure to ask if your venue offers this or have the job allocated to a family member so that you can chill out and snack before photos. After everyone has had a chance to eat and drink I like to shoot the group shots and then break off into smaller groups before focusing on the couple. If you have multiple photo locations in mind consider a first look and photos pre ceremony or schedule another session on a different day to capture your dream location that may be too tricky to squeeze into your wedding day timeline.

Get to it!

Yes it can be daunting thinking about how to fit everything in but it only takes a little bit of foresight and planning to organise your timetable and your wedding day will be better off for it!

As always if you have any questions about your wedding day flick me an email or give me a call, I'm happy to help!