Here are some tips to create your wedding timeline. I know you are looking to have a free-stress day and you don’t know how your wedding timeline should be. I feel you. I know, planning a wedding can be very exciting but also a little bit frustrating and overwhelming.

Have into consideration that this is an idea and it doesn’t have to be taken accurately. Every wedding is different.

Also, keep in mind that any photographer will be happy to work with you to create a more tailored one depending on your needs. Having a wedding planner is always a good idea too. They will help you to put together your ideas and more importantly, to make sure everything goes smoothly and stress-free during your day.

If you are having a small intimate wedding or an elopement wedding, talk openly with your photographer. They should help you with the timeline and give you different ideas and locations.

I’m breaking the days into the different parts.

Cambridge Mill wedding


The getting ready part allows us to introduce your day. Yes, it is the moment to take details shots, such as your wedding dress, shoes, or jewellery… but the most important is that you are going to be with your family and friends. Usually, the closest people in your life are there with you during this time. That’s why for me, most of these shots are candids. Also, getting ready will allow the telling of your story from the very beginning. I’d suggest leaving around 1h for each one.


In another blog post, I’ll talk more about the first look. If you would like to do it, it usually takes around 15 min.

The easiest is doing it in the same place as the ceremony, but you can fit it in another place nearby. We’ll help you with some location ideas. Also, keep in mind that this moment is usually very intimate it would be ideal if it’s just the two of you.

Drake Devonshire wedding
Drake Devonshire Wedding


The time spent on this part of the wedding depends on how many people there are in your wedding party. We usually split the two parts (bride/groom; bride/bride; groom/groom) and then some fun photos altogether. I’d say leave 30 min for this part. If you are having a second photographer, this part can be done faster. And if you don’t have any wedding party, just skip this part.


Usually, the ceremony lasts 30 min, but if yours is longer than that it’s obviously not a problem. Let your photographer know if there are any restrictions or if you are going to include any rituals. It’s important we know in advance what’s going to happen to anticipate the moment.


This usually happens after the ceremony because it’s when everyone is there. I know it’s not the more creative photos but they are very important for you and probably for your closest ones. Make a list of all the family members and the groups you want to be photographed with. Then choose a friend or family member who will be good at calling and organising each group. This will guarantee us that we won’t miss any family or friends and it will save us time and headaches.

The time in this part also depends on how large your family is. I’d say leave at least 30 min.


Time to greet your family and friends. This part allows us to take some candids of all your guest and you with them. It’s a good moment to take a break and melt with laughs and hugs with them. Usually, this part takes around 1hour. We, the photographers will split our time to capture the candid moments with your guest and to capture all the details of your wedding venue.


The reception part usually has its own timeline that you can plan ahead with the wedding venue coordinator or directly with your wedding planner. This is time for the speeches, toast, dances, cake cutting, etc. Ask yourself how you envision your wedding and if you would like to incorporate all the traditional steps or not. If you are having a dance party, the reception can go up till 5hours. This doesn’t mean that your photographer or videographer has to be there the whole time. Usually having coverage until the first 30 min of the dance is enough. Soon I will publish another post on how many hours you will need your photographer for.

Intimate wedding template having the ceremony in the afternoon.

- 12.30 pm – 2.30 pm: Getting ready.

- 2.30 pm - 3.30 pm: First look and Creative portraits of you two.

- 3.30 pm – 4.15 pm: Wedding party photos

- 5.00 pm – 5.30 pm: Ceremony

- 5.30 pm – 6.00 pm: Family Portraits.

- 5.30 pm – 6.30 pm: Cocktail.

- 6.30 pm - 8.30 pm: Reception

To have into consideration

Light: The light is everything for us, the photographers. For us, soft light is the best. That’s why when it is cloudy, it is a good day. I know it sounds strange, right?  Sunny is ok too, but the best would be to find some shadows for taking the pictures. We are here to help so don’t need to worry too much about this. We will give you the best suggestions for your day. For example, for the ceremony, if it’s outdoor, you will have to consider the time and the position of the sun. If the ceremony is around 12 pm -3 pm the sun is going be very high so it will create harsh light and shadows under your eyes. If you can move the ceremony a little bit later, it would be best. If it’s summer, I’d recommend, if possible, waiting until 4-5 pm. Also, consider having the sun behind you to avoid both of you squinting. If you have the option to do it under some tree shade, that would be the best option. During the first look and the portraits, the best would be to look for a place with shadows.

Travel time: If you are planning to have different parts in different locations be aware of the travel distance and the possible traffic. It’s always better to plan with a little bit of extra time for everything.

This is only a guideline for your wedding timeline but it’s important to talk with your photographer or to your wedding planning to adjust it to your needs.

Please feel free to reach out with any questions. I’d be happy to help.

Happy journey wedding planning!

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Cristina Velasco is a wedding photographer based in Toronto. She values telling your story in a candid way creating emotional imagines. She photographs weddings, elopements, engagement sessions and family sessions.

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173 Emerson Ave, Toronto, M6H 3T4, ON