Constructing a wedding timeline completely from scratch can be totally daunting. There are so many moving pieces to coordinate. And of course photos are super important to you, or else you wouldn't hire us as photographers. We hear you. Here are some helpful planning tips that we have learned through our many wedding days with our awesome couples.

Your portrait time should be an hour before sunset for the best golden soft light.

You know that time of day when the light is glowing and warm? Let's take photos then. This time changes throughout the year, so be sure to research when the sun sets on your wedding day specifically. Plan your ceremony to be finishing up an hour before sunset time. That way we can head outside/stay outside for portraits in the prettiest light. If that's not possible, have 'sunset' on your timeline, and leave at least 10-15 minutes for portraits during the golden hour. Those images are always our favorite, and will be yours too.

Start with ceremony, and work backward, then forward from there.

It might seem counter-intuitive to begin in the middle, but really it's the best way to determine the timeline. You know you want to schedule your ceremony to end one hour before sunset (see, you're rocking this timeline thing already!). We will want to start at least 2 hours before your ceremony to cover getting ready and details. Hair and makeup should arrive even earlier, and be just about wrapping up when we arrive. Transportation and the end of the night reception have to be discussed with those vendors, but with a solid ceremony time everyone can plan accordingly.

Plan multiple photo times.

Cocktail hour is typically not long enough for everything you want to do: family formals, wedding party photos, portraits, not to mention get to the party! It hurts our hearts when we have to rush with just the two of you. Plan instead to do either photos before the ceremony, later during the reception, or both! Some ideas for this could be a first look together (our favorite - read why here), individual wedding party and family photos during getting ready, large group photos on the dance floor, or sneaking away for night photos.

ALWAYS add buffers to your timeline.

Don't make your timeline so tight that any minor delay throws everything off. Wedding days are notorious for strange situations popping up (no matter how wonderfully planned it is). So give yourself a little break by padding your timeline with five minutes here and there.

Save time to explore your venue.

If you are getting married at a location that is known for its views and landscapes, make sure you build in time to take advantage of these opportunities. You decided to host the most important day of your lives here for a reason! We want to be able to capture all those special places that made you fall in love with your venue.

Give us time to photograph the reception room.

This is one area that couples usually forget to give us time for. We need to get into the reception room BEFORE any guests in order to take pictures of it untouched. This is another reason to do a first look. That way, we have more time during cocktail hour to get those gorgeous details and centerpieces. If you aren't doing a first look, we will need to peel away at least 10-15 minutes before your introductions and before guests enter the room.

If you don't know, ask.

We are always happy to assist our couples with planning the best time for photos - just ask! We are honored you chose us to photograph your wedding, and are here for you throughout the planning process. Let us know if you have any questions, inspiration, or just good news in the time leading up to your big day.