Boston Wedding Photographer - Ideal Timeline


If you ask any photographer what we wish we could tell our clients, the first thing we’d say is to make sure there is enough time in the schedule for all the photos you really want, especially all the formals. With that said every couple’s vision is different and everyone has varying priorities. Some couples only want a handful of formal photos, especially if their wedding party and families are small. On the flip side, some couples have a very large list of different combinations and larger families that will take a lot longer to photograph. Thinking about those things a head of time when making your timeline and deciding how many hours you’ll need your photographer for is super important! Like most things, preparation and communication is key for a seamless day.

While every wedding is different, I’ve put together a 9 hour timeline template to help get you started! This timeline assumes two things. First, your wedding is taking place all at one location. If your day requires some traveling, you’ll need to add transportation time between events. Second, sunset starts at 7:45pm. Depending on the time of year, sunset can be between 4pm (winter) - 8pm (summer), which is essential to know when planning your timeline to make sure you take advantage of natural light!

9 Hour Timeline

  • 12:00 PM: Photographer arrives.

  • 12:00 PM: Girls getting ready (candids, flat-lays, dress reveal).

  • 1:00 PM: Bridal portraits, mom putting on dress.

  • 1:30 PM: Guys getting ready (candids, flat-lays).

  • 2:00 PM: Groom portraits.

  • 2:20 PM: Bride and groom first look.

  • 2:30 PM: Bride and groom formal photos.

  • 3:00 PM: Wedding party portraits.

  • 3:30 PM: Bride & groom can freshen up. Photographer goes to ceremony for details.

  • 4:00 PM: Ceremony begins.

  • 4:45 PM: Ceremony ends.

  • 5:00 PM: Cocktail hour begins.

  • 5:00 PM: Family portraits.

  • 5:20 PM: Family portraits conclude

  • 5:20 PM: Reception details.

  • 5:40 PM: Cocktail hour details. Guest candids.

  • 6:00 PM: Reception begins.

  • 6:10 PM: Intros, first dance, toasts.

  • 6:30 PM: Seated dinner.

  • 7:45 PM: Sunset portrait session *subject to change depending on sunset time.

  • 8:00 PM: Cake cutting and formal dances.

  • 8:15 PM: Open dance floor.

  • 9:00 PM: Photographer departs.

There are a few reasons to opt for a second photographer

  • You have a guest list of ~175+ people and want lots of photos of your guests.

  • Your getting ready locations are in 2 different spots. Additionally, your ceremony site and reception site are also in different locations and will require transportation to get to.

  • You’re opting out of a first look. If you’re not doing a first look, the second photographer will capture reception details and guest photos during cocktail hour while the primary (me) photographer will capture all your portraits.

  • Details details details. Getting the micro and the macro level photos of each location (i.e. welcome area, ceremony area, cocktail hour area, and reception area).

A lot of clients ask me why they might need me for up to 10 hours. Here are some reasons why you may want your photographer there for longer.

  • A 15-30 min boudoir session after your hair and makeup is done.

  • Your getting ready locations are in 2 different spots. Additionally, your ceremony site and reception site are also in different locations and will require transportation to get to.

  • There’s a lot of time (more than the traditional 1 hour dedicated to cocktail hour) between the ceremony and the reception in your schedule.

  • You want lots of candid, dancing photos of everyone.

  • A special late night send off like fireworks or a sparkler exit.

  • You’re both just really into photography and want to make sure everything is captured… nothing wrong with that! :)

Hannah Cochran