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Wedding Day Timeline Tips and Tricks

We believe the perfect wedding day and amazing photos start with a well planned timeline. Below you will find all of our insider tips and tricks making the most of our time together!

We will need a Minimum of 1 hour & 30 minutes for photography.


1. Do a First Look First looks are great because you can get all or most of the photos taken ahead of time. They allow for your day and timeline to be much more relaxed. You will also receive more photos in your final gallery as this gives us the time to get those natural and romantic poses everyone loves! If you are trying to decide if a first look is right for you, check out this post: Should we do a first look? *We do not typically do first looks for catholic weddings as the ceremony is early in the day and we usually have a large gap of time between the ceremony and reception.

2. Natural Light

makes a Huge difference in the look and feel to your photos. Have a backup photo location with lots of windows and natural light for your rain option. If your wedding is near downtown Indianapolis, we have backup photos locations that we typically go to.

3. Everyone needs to be dressed and ready 2 hours before the ceremony for pictures--

Even if you aren't going to see the groom before the ceremony. We will do bride and bridesmaids pictures followed by groom and groomsmen. If the groomsmen are getting ready at the same location as the bride, finishing touches photos will be done before the ceremony.

Please have your details all together in the bridal suite: This is the first thing I photograph when I arrive. This includes BOTH rings, 2 Invitations, Dress, Shoes, Garter, Flowers, Jewelry, Family Heirlooms... This is VERY Important. There isn't another time during the day for these items to be photographed. Please make sure to have dress unpacked and hanging in the location you would like it photographed, we do not move the dress. This ensures your gown stays pristine.

4. Have your stylists come to you.

We photograph the details first, If you don't get ready in a hotel or the wedding venue, You will not have hair and makeup pictures. If you would like photos of the groom getting ready, he will need to be in the same hotel as you. Otherwise, we will just photograph finishing touches when he arrives to the ceremony venue.

5. Get a Hotel suite to get ready!

Keep in mind that if you wedding venue's bridal space is dark, cluttered, or in most cases- school rooms--Your pictures will suffer and due to florescent lighting (Most will be in Black and white) I suggest getting a hotel room to get ready in for the most bright and modern pictures. You will need plenty of room for stylists, your bridesmaids, family, and me :)


Omni Severin, The Alexander, JW Marriott, Le Meridian, The Conrad, The Westin

*The Alexander & Omni Severin are wonderful for winter weddings due to the interior photo locations

*The Westin and Hyatt Regency have a beautiful courtyard and is across the street from the state house providing beautiful photo locations

Carmel Area: Iron Works Hotel or Hotel Carmichael

These hotels have lovely suites that provided excellent light and a beautiful backdrop to get ready

6. Skip the receiving line after the ceremony.

You will have plenty of time to greet and mingle with your guests during the reception. Receiving lines take up a huge amount of time and guests must wait and watch you mingle with every guest rather than enjoying cocktail hour. This is one of the number one complaints of guests that attend weddings.

7. Reception Decor:

Doing a first look gives us the time after the ceremony to photograph cocktail hour and the reception decor giving your more complete coverage of the day. The photographer will need to be in the reception room to take pictures 15 minutes before they let guests in the room or earlier in the day. Typically we do this during cocktail hour. (If you've done a first look) If not, please tell the catering staff that the room needs to be set up earlier in the day as we will be doing bridal party photos during cocktail hour.

8. Family Formal Groupings:

No need to send us a shot list- As we get closer to the wedding day, we'll send you a client questionnaire that offers ​seven​ standard family portrait combinations. If you'd like to add more, you can always add them to the questionnaire, just keep in mind that each extra pairing takes about five minutes, so that might cut into and reduce other portrait time or require that firsts look be added. We recommend sticking to our 7 groupings for family combinations or adding additional time to your package. We can always grab tons of family shots at the reception on the dance floor, too! Just grab us and we will be happy to take photos of family combinations at the reception.

9. Pinterest

We love Pinterest! We should follow each other! Pinterest boards are so fun, but they tend to paint an unrealistic picture of a wedding day for brides, because they patchwork together hundreds of different styles, themes, climates, and light conditions, leaving a collage of great inspiration and beautiful images, but an impossible task for any bride to achieve in a single day. We don't want you to feel that pressure at all, but comfortable that you've got two professionals you can trust not to give you pinned pictures, but a wedding that's uniquely yours. If you have a pose you have been dreaming about since you were a little girl...TELL US! You are more than welcome to tell us a few poses you have been excited about (Dip, spin, forehead kiss, etc) - Just let us know. These are shots we do 90% of the time anyway ;)

We just ask that you don't send shot lists. If we are looking at a list all day recreating someone else's wedding - we won't be capturing the beautiful way your day unfolds. We have shot over 800 beautiful weddings for happy clients, we know to take photos of you walking down the aisle, the grooms expression, and photos of you getting into your dress. Sit back, relax, and just know -- we got this!!

10. Flowers:

Please have your flowers delivered to the hotel where we will be photographing the details. We love having those gorgeous blooms for your ring shots, and photos of the dress! Typically one hour before our is the best time for flower delivery. arrival scheduled. Ask your florist for loose blooms for us to use in your detail photos.

I hope this information helps you navigate the timeline planning. Check out the sample timelines below for an idea of how our typical wedding days flow. Let us know if we can help you in anyway, we love being involved in the planning process with our brides!

Please read though this post about pro's and con's of doing a first look:

Sample Timeline with a firstlook

1:00 Photographer arrives to photograph details and bridal prep

1:45 Bridesmaids and Mother of the bride dressed and photo ready

1:45 Groomsmen finishing touches photos (if at same hotel as bride)

2:00 Bride puts Dress on, Bridal Portraits

3:00 Bride and Groom's First Look - Bridal Party Pictures 4:00 - family portraits -- Immediate family only. Mother, Father, Siblings, Grandparents

4:30 - completely done with photos - bridal party freshens up while guests arrive 5:30 - ceremony

6:00 Ceremony Ends Cocktail hour begins

6:00 Finish up any remaining photos or go to second photo location for variety - Bride and groom can attend cocktail hour or relax with bridal party

7:00 Introductions - Bride and groom go straight into first dance \

7:15 Blessing

7:30 - dinner

8:15 cake cutting, Toasts, followed by other special dances

8:30 Bouquet and garter toss or open dancing if you aren't doing one

9pm: Photographer departs

My most popular packages include 8 hours of coverage on the wedding day. I would suggest that the bride and groom have me shooting from: 1:00 - 9:00pm with the timeline above.

Sample Timeline with no First look

1:00 Photographer arrives to photograph details and bridal prep

2:00 Groom finishing touches photos (if at same hotel as bride)

2:30 Bride puts on Dress & Bridal Photos

3:00 Bride and Bridesmaids Photos

3:30 Bride and Brides Family Photo's

4:00 Groom and Groom's Family Photos / Groomsmen Photos

4:45 Finished with Photo's - Bride and Groom relax, grab a snack and freshen up

5:30 Ceremony

6:00 Ceremony ends -Cocktail hour begins -NO RECIEVING LINE

6:00 Family Formals,

6:30 Bridal Party Pictures,

6:45 Bride and Groom Portraits

7:10 Photographer photographs empty reception room prior to guests entering

7:15 Introductions - Straight into first dance and cake cutting

7:20 Dinner is served

8:10 Toasts followed by other special dances

8:30pm: Garter and Bouquet toss

8:45 Open Dances

9:00 Photographer departs

Earlier Ceremony Wedding Timeline with NO first look

12:00 Photographer arrives to photograph details

1:00 Bide puts on dress

1:30 Bridesmaids and bride portraits (brides parents also)

2:15 -Groom and Groomsmen photos

2:45 Pictures end: Bride and groom relax, freshen up and grab a snack

3:30 Ceremony

4:00 Ceremony ends

4- 4:30Family Formals

4:30, Bridal Party Pictures, and Bride and Groom Portraits

5:15 Bride and groom introduced to reception - First dance, Cake cutting ,

5:20 blessing

5:30 Dinner is served

6:30 Toasts followed by other special dances

7:00 Garter & bouquet toss

7:30 Open Dancing

8:00 Photographer departs

Photography coverage would be from 12-8pm with this timeline

*Want to do a petal toss, or confetti toss with the bridal party?? We love these! Just order (Light colored confetti or petals (Ivory & blush photograph best)

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