Wedding day timeline | Fayetteville Wedding Photographers

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Hi there, just wanted to offer some insight into planning your wedding timeline. 

I know your planning can be hectic and oh so stressful, so I hope this can help you plan out your day so you’ll have a stress-free (as much as possible) wedding day.

This timeline is good reference to use from about late spring to early to mid fall. Sunset is the factor here and this is based off of a 6pm ceremony timeline with a first look. 

It all starts with the details: 2:30-3:15

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Every bride loves having those beautiful shots of her bridal details. It’s an important part of the story and I think it helps tell a more complete story.  This is a great time for me to get my creative mojo flowing and get warmed up for photographing the day.

I like to have at least 45 minutes for this part of the day.  During this time I’m also grabbing candid shots of you and your bridesmaids having a good time as you get ready. 


Groom helping his groomsmen get ready.

While I’m doing this my second shooter will be grabbing shots of the guys getting ready and documenting the shenanigans they undoubtedly are getting into.  Typically this doesn’t take quite as long to photograph considering it only takes a few moments for the guys to get ready. 

Bridal Preparation 3:15-3:45

Bride getting ready at the old silk mill

Once the details are captured it’s time for the bride to get into her dress. This is a big moment!  It’s best that all of the girls to include Mom to be completely ready at this point.

This ensures that everyone looks nice and can be in some of the bride getting ready photographs. 

After the bride is in her dress, she can add the final touches like jewlry, shoes, perfume and veil and then we can grab a few bridal portraits. 


First Look: 4:00

This is one of the best parts of the day, in my humble opinion. If you are doing a first look, I will have already scoped out a great place to photograph the first look, so don’t worry about that. I’ll do my best to make sure that the location is private and secluded as possible so you can enjoy the moment freely. If you want more info about first looks, hit this link. <<<

Portraits: 4:15-4:45

Now you two have soaked it all in and have enjoyed a few intimate moments with your soon to be husband. Now it’s time to grab some romantic portraits of you two and take advantage of some of the excitement from seeing each other for the first time on your wedding day. I will find the locations for these portraits based on the best lighting conditions of the day. As we finish this up, your wedding party can start making their way to us so we can do the bridal party portraits. 

River Landing wedding bride and groom

wedding party Portraits: 4:50-5:20

Now it’s time for the wedding party portraits.  I like to pad the timeline a little bit just in case something runs late or we just need a little extra time for something else. Another thing to consider to help things stay on track is to make sure someone gets the boutonnieres on the guys before they show up to do the wedding party portraits. At this time we will make sure to get portraits of Bride and groom separately and together. After we finish the bride will go into hiding so the guests do not get an early sneak peek before the ceremony and the ushers will begin their duties. 

Fearrington Village wedding photographs
He looks guilty to me...

Bride in hiding: 5:30-6:00

Reception details 5:30-5:50

If the reception is in the same location as the ceremony, I will use this time to grab some reception decor photographs untouched. If the ceremony and reception are located in different locations I recommend having a cocktail hour outside of the main reception area if possible so that I can grab some photographs of your reception before the night begins and guests start laying down their things on the seats. 

Wedding ceremony 6:00-6:30

It’s time to get married!! Most ceremonies are 15-30 minutes long.  If your ceremony is longer than 30 mins, we’ll make adjustments to the timeline! Do your best to soak in these moments because the ceremony will go by like  flash. But don’t worry, I’ll be there to document it!

Family portraits: 6:40-7:10

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Family formal portraits normally take place immediately following the ceremony.  I find it’s best to save these pictures to right after because all of the family will be present at this time. I need about 30 minutes for all of the family formals.  I will send a questionnaire prior to your big day so we can have a good list of family grouping that you want that will help me gather people on the day.  Also, if possible, I recommend photographing the family formals outside, especially if the ceremony location is dark. 

Just married portraits: 7:15-7:30

7:00 is a great time of day for portraits in the late spring, summer and early fall! This is when the sun is golden and beautiful and everything just looks amazing! It’s great having a few extra minutes with just you two to take a few “Just Married” portraits right after family formals!  

Lets get the party started! The reception begins 7:30

You and your bridal party are lining up and the party begins!!! By this part of the day the timeline is a lot more fluid. It’s time to grab some dinner and get ready to have a blast!

Bride and groom are announced intotheir reception

Obviously this is just a sample timeline, but does it work? YES, absolutely!  Do you have to follow it? No, but if you do, it maximizes time to document and tell the story of your carefully planned day. Which is what I want to do!

That pretty much wraps things up. Some couples do a special send off with bubbles or sparklers. If you want more info on that, try this link.

If you have any questions, just shoot me a message. I would love to discuss your day. 


©2018 Eric Cox Photography LLC 

Fayetteville Wedding Photographer

Serving all of North Carolina to include: Charlotte, Raleigh/Durham and Wilmington. If you have a destination wedding, please reach out and we can discuss options for that as well. 

Additionally, I am a Fayetteville Elopement Photographer, so if you are eloping instead of having a full wedding ceremony, please get in touch.

Lastly, it’s a pleasure to serve veterans and active duty as a Fort Bragg Photographer.

Veteran Owned And Operated.