How to Plan Your Wedding Day and Reception Timeline by Colorado Wedding Photographer Nat Moore

Planning ahead is the key to any wedding. Your timeline is one of the most important logistics to have planned out for your wedding day. This is one thing that you can start to work on as soon as you book your venue and wedding photographer. It may have a few little changes made to it throughout the planning stages but for the most part it will stay pretty close to what you and your wedding photographer work through.



One of the most important things to remember when planning your wedding timeline is sunset. You don't want to plan this amazing and beautiful day just to lose the light before your photographer has a chance to photograph everything. This is why working through your timeline with your wedding photographer in the early stages of planning is so important. It's easy to get caught up in all the wedding planning and completely forget about what time it's supposed to get dark on your big day. I've photographed a few weddings, especially winter ones, where the couples hired me after the timeline was already set and they didn't realize they were planning formal family photos and romantic photos after dark. While photographing these things after dark is possible it makes for one type of lighting only and that's flash. When flash is used after dark it is typically a more harsh light and very noticable.


Just remember to always check the area of where your getting married for its sunset time on your wedding day. I know I'm repeating myself but this is something so many couples forget about when planning their wedding day. And don't forget about Daylight Savings Time! Wedding timelines between November and March are affected by this and have an especially early sunset time. One thing I recommend for short day weddings is to think about doing things like a first look between the bride and groom. This means you'll see each other before you walk down the aisle. But it allows for all the photos to get done before the ceremony. So all your bridal party and immediate family photos, plus some romantics, can be completely taken care of before saying your "I do". This is such a helpful tool when planning weddings and receptions on days with very early sunsets. If you're doing a breakfast or brunch wedding then that would be an exception and your timeline wouldn't usually need to worry about a sunset time. But be sure to always plan your timeline with your wedding photographer as they will be able to tell you the best times of day for photographs.


Planning photos after dark is just one reason why a well planned timeline is so important. In this blog I'll layout a typical 8 hour timeline for a wedding during the summer. If you're planning a winter wedding be sure to speak with your photographer to get their winter wedding timeline advice.


Wedding Day Timeline and Wedding Reception Timeline


2pm Photographer Arrives


2:15pm Bridesmaids are dressed and ready and Bride's hair and makeup is complete


2:30pm Bride Gets Dressed


2:45pm Bridal Portraits or First Look


3:10- 3:30pm Bridal Party Photos


4:30pm Ceremony


5:00pm Cocktail Hour while Family Photos, Bridal Party Photos and Romantic Photos are completed


6:00pm Reception Begins - Bridal Party and Couple Announced


6:15pm Dinner


6:45pm Toasts


7:00pm Cake Cutting


7:15pm First Dances


7:30pm Open Dance Floor


7:55pm Sunset Romantic Photos


Planning Your Wedding Day Timeline, Wedding Day Timeline Advice, Colorado Wedding Photography






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 based in Denver, CO - travels worldwide | natmoorephotography@gmail.com | 720-767-2176 

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