Planning Your Wedding Day Timeline

by NJ Wedding Photographer Melanie Cassie Photography

long beach island foundation of arts wedding invitation

Planning the perfect wedding timeline is essential to make your day run as smooth as possible. There are so many things to consider when planning your day. When should your hair and makeup artists arrive? When do you need to be ready by? Are you going to do a First Look? Where should you have your bridal party photos done? Is there enough time to drive from Beach Haven to Barnegat Light before the ceremony begins? Should your family formals take place before or after your ceremony? Are you able to take sunset photos outside the venue without interrupting the reception?

Planning your timeline can help answer these questions. Below are my recommended coverage times.


My Recommended Coverage Times


clarks landing yacht club bride getting ready

Getting Ready

2 hours

The photographer should arrive 2 hours before the bride needs to be completely dressed. The second photographer should arrive 1-2 hours before groom needs to be dressed.

Details including shoes, dress (a nice dress hanger), a copy of the wedding invitation and any other details should all be together and ready to be photographed.

Hair and makeup need to be finished 1 hour before you need to leave.

Groomsmen, bridesmaids, mother of the bride, and father of the bride should be dressed at least 15 minutes before bride and groom.


Long Beach Island Foundation of Arts First Look Photos

First Look

15 minutes

Typically, your bridal party is invited to watch from a distance, but this is about you guys. After your first look, you will have the opportunity to soak it all in and take a couple minutes to yourselves.

Side note: First Looks are a great way to tackle your photos without missing much of cocktail hour. Another option without doing a First Look would be to take a gap between your ceremony and your reception.


lbi foundation of arts couple beach photo

Couples Portraits

45 minutes

This is subject to change depending on the location. Including travel time is a must to include in the wedding day timeline.


scotland run wedding bridesmaids portraits under the arbor

Wedding Party Photos

45 minutes

This includes:

  • Bride with bridesmaids

  • Bride with individual bridesmaids

  • Groom with groomsmen

  • Groom with individual groomsmen

  • Entire bridal party


surf city yacht club wedding family portraits

Family Formals

15-30 minutes

I highly recommend limiting family photo combinations and taking any extended family photos during cocktail hour or your reception. Remember, this is your day and you don’t want it to run into your cocktail or wedding reception time.