So, you just got engaged and you're starting wedding planning. It's a crazy exciting time in your life, and we're excited you're making us part of your big day. One thing my couples have told me they have questions about is creating a loose timeline when they're hiring their vendors 12 - 24 months before their wedding. We're always here to help you figure out your timeline and how long you need a photographer, but here's some information so you can start making a loose timeline and firm it up closer to your wedding!

Let's start with the getting ready portion of your day! Many of our brides underestimate the time hair and makeup will take, and they end up feeling rushed into their dress. Whether you're going to a salon or having your hair and makeup artist come to you, plan about 1:30 for each person getting hair and makeup. Less intricate up-dos and basic makeup certainly take less time, but that gives a little bit of time cushion.

It's best for photography purposes that your bridesmaids and whoever will be helping you in your dress have their hair and makeup finished and are in their dresses.

Let's talk about first looks! If you're having one, great! It makes my job easier, gives us more time for photos, and lets you spend cocktail hour enjoying your guests. If you're sticking to tradition and skipping the first look, great too!

Most of our first looks take about 30 minutes - the big timeline difference is immediately after the first look we can knock out bridal party and family formals so you can enjoy the cocktail hour. If you're having a sunset ceremony or getting married in the winter where it gets dark early, a first look is sometimes the only option for having outdoor photos with the bridal party.

Next, let's tackle time for bridal party and family formal portraits! We've found that bridal party portraits take about five minutes for each attendant and three to five minutes for each family grouping. We can help you craft a list of bridal party groupings and family groupings to figure out an better estimate if you'd like!

Planning the ceremony timeline is tricky. Are you having a super simple ceremony in a field with no readings? Church ceremony with readings? Full mass with communion? A lot at least 15 minutes for a simple ceremony and up to 2 hours for a full mass with communion and 200+ guests.

When thinking about the ceremony also consider your exit from the ceremony. Are you having a receiving line? If so, tack on another half hour for each 100 guests. Are you having a grand exit like bubbles or bird seed from the church? If so, tack on twenty minutes to wrangle people and get that set up!

And, my favorite part of the day. Bride and Groom creative portraits! We strive to have 45 minutes throughout the day for your portraits. We split that up - 15 minutes when your bridal party portraits are done, 15 minutes in golden hour, and 15 minutes after dark.

The longer time we have, the more creative we can be with your portraits!

And last (but certainly NOT least) is the reception! Sometimes we get to stay and party the night away with our couples and sometimes we only get to stay until the events are done. A few things to think about with your reception - if it's important that everyone see your cake cutting and first dances, think about doing those as soon as you're announced in. Go ahead and knock all the events out at the beginning of the night. If you're having a grand exit, you can stage the exit for pictures and that let's the older folks head home at an earlier hour, then you can turn the party up without grandma.

Whatever you decide, we'll stay as long as you want. We try to capture a minimum of half an hour of open dancing after the events and stay until the grand exit is done!

Here's some sample timelines for each of our packages! We're happy to help you put together a timeline that works for you and your wedding!