8 Steps To Create The Perfect Wedding Day Timeline

25 May 2023

A solid wedding timeline can help calm your nerves, keep you organised, and get your special day started off right. So, here’s how to create a fun wedding timeline so your wedding is as stress-free and enjoyable as possible! 

How To Plan A Wedding Photography Timeline

1. Allow For Buffer Time!

One of my top tips for a stress free wedding is to give yourself more time than you think you’ll need. This includes allowing for “buffer time” and time to eat, drink, and spend time with everyone you love! 


This is the most important part of the wedding. Start with your ceremony time, and work backwards by building in enough time for hair and makeup, photography, and more. 


Account for at least 4 hours of photography before your ceremony start time. This additional time accounts for travel and any unexpected mishaps!

Most photographers will spend between 1 to 1.5 hours with each side of the bridal party while they’re getting ready, so make sure you account for this as well so you can plan a wedding without stress.

2. Start Your Day Early

Grab a coffee and book hair and makeup early in the morning — this way, you’ll have more time to enjoy the day.

Another top tip for stress free wedding ideas? Get all your reception formalities done early in the evening so you can relax and party the night away with your guests!

Bonus reception tip: Have your guests enter the reception space after the cocktail hour in an orderly queue. It saves time and you can greet, hug, or snap a photo with everyone as they walk in!

3. Pick Your Locations

Scout your photo locations ahead of time so you’re ready to go on the big day! Pick locations that are either on-site or a 10-15 minute drive from your wedding venue.

When it comes to taking your photos, have an idea of the photos you want so you can plan with your photographer ahead of time to get the shots that are most important to you. 

4. Book One Additional Night

Consider booking your accommodations for an additional night after your wedding. This way you won’t have to check out on the day of your wedding, which adds to the pressure you’ll already be under.

It’s also best to book accommodations that are no more than a 10 to 15 minute drive from your wedding venue!

Pro tip: Try to keep the wedding party close so your photographer doesn’t have to travel far between locations to snap getting-ready photographs. 

5. Account For Sunset!

While we photographers love our sunsets, we also know that once the sun sets, there won’t be any light left for naturally lit outdoor photos.

If you’re getting married during a season when the sun sets early, consider an earlier ceremony. You’ll want to capture at least 2-3 hours of photos before sunset, and an additional hour after you say your “I do’s”!

6. Schedule Alone Time

And while your Adelaide wedding photography is important, it’s also important to schedule time to enjoy the wedding and be alone with your partner! 

I love offering couples alone time immediately after a first look shot, or shortly following a sunset shoot in the evening so couples can enjoy the last light alone together. You might even want to schedule time somewhere private at your venue to enjoy a glass of champagne, just the two of you.

Pro tip: The perfect time to do this is just after your family portraits and bridal party portraits are done.

7. Trust The Professionals You’ve Hired! 

Remember, you’ve hired these professionals for a reason, and this includes your vendors and your Adelaide wedding photographer. 

These people are the experts, and they’re there to help calm and guide you. Ask plenty of questions on how to build a fun wedding timeline, and listen to their advice when it comes to how long things usually take on the big day. 

8. Get Started With This Stress Free Wedding Timeline!

Here is a wedding timeline template I like to use for summer: 

  • 11:30 am – Groom preparation photos
  • 1 pm – Bridal preparation photos
  • 3:30 pm – Groom and guests arrive at the wedding venue
  • 4 pm – Ceremony starts
  • 4:30 pm – Ceremony ends, signing, confetti throw, congrats, hugs
  • 5 pm – Formal family portraits
  • 5 pm – 7 pm – Cocktails & canapes for guests
  • 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm – Wedding party and couples portraits
  • 7:00 pm – Wedding party entrance into the reception (option to greet each guest in an orderly queue here)
  • 7:30 pm – Dinner & speeches
  • 8:15 pm – Sunset Portraits (sunset at 8:30 pm)
  • 9 pm – Cake cutting & first dance / dance floor officially opens
  • 11:30 pm – Last drinks, sparkler exit, car send-off

If you’re looking for even more guidance in crafting a few wedding timeline examples, reach out! I’m excited to help you plan a stress-free, fun wedding timeline and capture those spectacular photography moments on your big day!