Metropolitan Weddings

There are a million different articles and suggestions out there on how your big day should pan out when it comes to the photographs of the day. What if there was a way to simplify this and ensure nothing is missed at the same time? Look no further! This guide will offer you a step-by-step timeline of your dreams! Prepare for your questions to be answered and nerves to be lessened!

  • Start by envisioning your whole day; imagine each part as detailed as you can.  It’s okay if the plan is not perfectly followed, but make sure to take note of any nonnegotiable moments that come to mind. Now, MAKE A LIST! Write down every photo wish you can think of that you want. Be as detailed as possible, and your photographer’s expertise will fill in the gaps. Trust me, they will thank you for providing them with specifics!

  • Now onto another list (face it, wedding planning holds the world record for list-making). Make a list of every spot at your venue(s) that you want captured in your photos. There is a chance you will know your venue better than your photographer, especially if this is their first time shooting at it. Remember, the more details figured out ahead of time, saves time in the long run to enjoy your big day!

  • Time to be flexible and realistic! The formal wedding photos can take hours and hours of your day if you don’t prepare, but being prepared can be quick and seamless! This leaves more time for your photographer to capture the candid shots at the ceremony and reception. From here, the timeline can fall into two categories: first look or no first look! You choose what your heart desires, and everything will fall into place! No matter what, plan for no less than 1 1/2 hours for formal pictures before or between the ceremony and reception. It might take more or less time depending on how many people are involved, how many places to shoot, and how many unique photos you want (etc.). 

First Look Timeline:

  • Getting ready photos 1:00pm to 2:00pm
  • First look and couple photos 2:15pm to 3:00pm
  • Wedding party 3:15pm to 3:45pm
  • Ceremony 4:30pm to 5:00pm
  • Family photos 5:10pm to 5:40pm
  • Reception 6:00pm to 8:00pm

No First Look Timeline:

  • Getting ready photos 1:00pm to 2:00pm
  • Separate wedding party photos 2:15 to 3:30pm
  • Ceremony 4:30pm to 5:00pm
  • Couple photos & group portraits 5:10pm to 6:15pm
  • Reception 6:30 to 8:00pm

Now the fun part! Making a super custom, entirely unique for you, list of ideas for all the best moments of your day! Here are some ideas, but make this list however you want! Your photographer will have tons of ideas, too, through their creativity and experience. The more unique and quirky, the more fun it will be! Sit back and enjoy your super special day! This timeline will take away stress and ensure every little detail is captured to be remembered forever!

Wedding Photo Shot List Examples:


• wedding invite, rings, dress, and other small details

• dress hanging in different spots

• relaxing while getting ready

• hair and makeup

• bride/groom love letter and gift exchange

• dress, jewelry, shoes

• bride dress and bridesmaid dresses on hangers

• flowers (bouquet, boutonnieres)

• putting on the dress

• first look with dad

• bridal party having fun

• bride alone

• groom/groomsmen getting ready

• groom’s dad tying the tie

• groom alone

• venue shots without guests

• people decorating


• guests walking in

• procession

• groom waiting

• bride walking to the door

• bride entrance

• bride walking aisle

• groom’s reaction

• bride being given away

• exchanging vows

• exchanging of rings

• I do moment

• big kiss

• walking back down the aisle

• crowd reaction


• bridal party separate and together

• bride with parents

• groom with parents

• bride and groom with parents

• bride with parents, siblings, grandparents

• groom with parents, siblings, grandparents

• bride and groom with all parents, siblings, and grandparents

• bride and groom with both sets of parents

• bride and groom with siblings

• bride with sister

• groom with brother

• bride and groom with close family

• all family with bride and groom

• bride/groom portraits

• photo of bride/groom holding parent’s wedding photos

• signing the marriage license


• wedding cake and food

• guest book

• bridal party entrance

• bride and groom grand entrance

• maid of honor and best man toasts

• head table

• family table

• cutting cake

• first dance

• newlywed shoe game

• father/daughter dance

• mother/son dance

• guests dancing and having fun

• DJ doing their thing 

• grand exit

• one last kiss

• getaway car

We hope you found this photography timeline & ideas helpful to your wedding planning! Still needing a photographer? We’d love to hear from you!


Phone: (417) 689-5646

FB/IG: @molliewhitephoto

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