Every wedding is unique, granted. I've compiled few things from various blogs (links provided below) to help you plan your wedding itinerary/timeline:
1. From one of the prominent wedding photographers' blog that I follow (http://katelynjamesblog.com/wedding-wednesday-wedding-timelines/):
Some things to be aware of when you’re planning your timeline:
1. Travel time to and from the ceremony and reception locations 2. Be nice to your photographer and give them a good 30-40 minutes for the first look and portraits and then another 20 mins for bridal party portraits! 3. Allow your photographer time to capture the reception details UNTOUCHED 4. Plan to have all of your family in one place for family portraits and have an idea of who you want ahead of time! I normally encourage a bride to make a list….and of COURSE I forgot to do that… Sorry JASMINE! 5. Go over your final timeline with your coordinator…. preferably more than once! …(If you need a wedding planner… I know an AWESOME ONE) 6. If you have a TON of bridesmaids… have more than one or two hairstylists. 7. Don’t wait till the morning of the wedding to steam your dress! Ah! 8. Allow extra getting ready time… there will always be something that takes longer than expected!…. ie: fake eyelashes! 9. Save your photographer time by having ALL of your details in one place when he/she arrives!
2. Click on these 2 links for examples of wedding timelines:
If you are only having 1 photographer and you'd like to cover both the bride and groom's getting ready, if it's not at the same hotel/house, please allow travel time for the photographer. I usually can shoot the groom and the groomsmen in ~20 mins. Some brides have preferred to have the grooms get ready first (so he'll have to start early! Have the boutonnieres and the mother of the groom ready early, too!), have me shoot them, and then go to the brides' place and dedicate my time from half way of their make up/hairdo time up to the end of getting ready. I then excuse myself in order to get to the ceremony place earlier than the couple, so that I can take photos of the ceremony details and guests arriving.
Please let me know if you will have a first look with your fiance prior to the ceremony, and if you will have a 'parents' first look' when you are in your wedding dress.
Group Photos and Couple Photos
For the group photos, I always suggest to take photos of the elderly and children first, so that they are free shortly after. Then we proceed to the family and friends. Then the bridal party. And then the couple. As for timing, it depends greatly on how many locations you'd like to take photos at. I've had couples who only had 1 specific place, and others who have 8-10 different locations (which took 2 hours including travel time just for the couple shots).
It's important to allow enough time (~20-30 minutes) to take photos of the reception venue and the details BEFORE the guests arrive (and naturally, after it's all set up). Please also allow enough time to get back to the reception/cocktail venue to take photos of the guests mingling at the cocktail hour. If you arrange for the group and couple photos with such tight timeline that when I am back at the reception venue, the cocktail hour is almost over, not only do we miss the candid/guests mingling photos, I will also lose the opportunity to take photos of your untouched reception details.