The Wedding Timeline Guide

Wedding days can be stressful, I get it. You’ve thought of this day your entire life and now you’re planning it, trying to figure out how it will all play out. On top of all that you have a crowd of people, you love dearly, throwing their opinions at you. Don’t worry! I’ve shot so many weddings that I’ve got it down to a science where everyone leaves happy. I personally craft each wedding timeline for my brides to make sure you’re not stressed!

I’ve got you covered and I honestly love to help anyway I can! I lay out wedding days for the utmost efficiency while giving you time to let everything soak in and just enjoy the moment! Your day is all about YOU and your love for one another, not the photos. Those are just a fun bi-product of the day 😉

Huntsville Wedding Photographer Mariah Oldacre Wedding Timeline

Here’s the Plan

I love making custom wedding day timelines for each of my brides, they’re crafted according to your priorities and I know exactly how much time it will take to photograph each category of images, all while giving us plenty of time to relax and enjoy the day. I even buffer some time in case things don’t go quite as planned!

Pro Tip #1: The biggest help you can give me (help me help you!) is to share the timeline with everyone involved. That includes Aunt Sue who is always 10 minutes late to everything 🙂

Getting Ready, First Looks, Bridal Party and the Fam Jam

I typically arrive 4 hours before the ceremony. I begin with detail photos and photos of everyone getting ready. Go ahead and round up all those special details (the rings, invitation suite, veil, bouquet, perfume, etc…) and put them together in a box. This is the first thing I’ll shoot when I arrive so it’s just easier if it’s all there together!

We transition into you getting in the dress all the way to family photos! Getting in your dress takes longer than you might think, plus it’s not something you want to rush, so I allow plenty of time for this moment! This gradually transitions into your individual photos, first look, photos of just the two of you, and we add people as we go along, ending with family photos before the ceremony

Huntsville Wedding Photographer Mariah Oldacre Wedding Timeline

Pro Tip #2: It is not required, but I highly recommend doing a first look, this allows you time to spend together, just the two of you before you’re hawked with 200 of your closest friends and family. 🙂 It also gives you more time to enjoy the reception so you aren’t stuck with more photos following the ceremony!

Pro Tip #3 The second thing you can prepare is a family shot list. Unfortunately, I won’t know everyone at your wedding, so the best way to do family photos is to follow a list. This is a perfect job for my assistant or even a bridesmaid to call out on the day of. Think through the whole fam and narrow it down to the people you definitely want photos with. This makes family photos a BREEZE and so efficient!


I always plan an hour of rest before the ceremony. This gives you time to breathe and get freshened up before you walk down the aisle. It also gives me time to roam and get detail photos of the ceremony space, reception details, and guests arriving.

Pro Tip #4: Guests typically arrive 30 minutes to an hour before the ceremony, so this gives you time to go hide!


A typical ceremony lasts around 30 minutes. Whether or not you choose to do a first look ahead of time really depends on how long it will take to do photos afterwards. If you do a first look, the time in between the ceremony and reception will consist of a few more photos of the two of you in all your married glory! These photos always end up being my favorite of the couple!

If you decide to wait to see each other until the ceremony, the timeline of photos will look a lot different. Just plan to spend up to an hour doing photos following the ceremony.


I encourage every bride to think through the order of events at their reception (cutting of the cake, first dance, bouquet toss, garter toss, and the exact time you will leave the reception)

This gives everyone an expectation and helps me be in the right place at the right time!

Pro Tip #5: A typical reception lasts 2 hours. It’s totally up to you on whether you want me to stay for the big exit, just be sure to coordinate the hours with me ahead of time!

Some brides choose to do a fake leave if they’re planning to have a longer party that extends my hours, but it’s totally up to you!

Huntsville Wedding Photographer Mariah Oldacre Wedding Timeline

Whew, you made it! I can’t wait to create a custom experience just for you! I’d love to hear your story and know how I can serve you better!

Say hello and we’ll get started on your custom timeline!

The Perfect Wedding Timeline – Mariah Oldacre Weddings

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