Anatomy of a Wedding day Part 2

Creating a Ceremony & Reception Timeline

The time has arrived for the ceremony- arguably the MOST important section of your wedding day (ultimately thats why your here- to get married!). Having a well planned timeline to run this section of the day can impact upon how the events following pan out.

Ideally the groom and groomsmen should aim to arrive approximately an hour- an hour and a half before the ceremony is scheduled to begin. The photographer will tend to arrive in between the arrival of the groom/groomsmen and the arrival of the guests- this allows us to capture images of all those special little details you have put so much thought, time and effort into, while there are no guests present. It also allows us to capture ‘fly on the wall’ images of the groom and groomsmen nervously awaiting the bridal parties arrival. It also means that we can be in the optimum position to capture those all important entry photos!

Generally the ceremony will last between 30 and 45 minutes. You might like to think about including meaningful music and/or readings to help make your ceremony unique and memorable.

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Post ceremony/ family photo time is one area where planning and discussion with your photographer is essential. We suggest scheduling between 1 and a half to 2 hours for these photographs, with approximately 30 minutes of this time allocated for family photographs. Even the most well prepared schedules often go awry when it comes to family photographs, and all too often they can eat into the time set aside for photographs of the bridal party and bride and groom.

Being well prepared for this section of the day can help to save a lot of time and headache. Prior to the wedding day In the Moment Photography will sit down with our clients and ensure that they have prepared a list of ‘group family shots’ that are essential and have clearly outlined who will be in each shot. It helps to also allocate someone who knows most of the family members names (brother, sister, close friend etc), to be in charge of directing and herding family members and instructing them when it is their turn for photographs.  Also consider where you would like the family photographs to be taken- somewhere close by the ceremony site for quick access will help the family shots to run smoothly.


When it comes time for photographs of the bridal party and bride and groom portraits it is often best to select a location slightly away from the ceremony site. Remember you are running on a time budget and every time ‘Aunty Madge’ or the like comes to congratulate you that is time being eaten away, ultimately leading to fewer photographs for you! In saying this however, be certain to factor in travel time from the ceremony to the photo site, and also from the photo site to the reception venue. If both the ceremony and reception are in the same area this makes things a bit easier and could potentially save on time.


This brings us up to reception. This is the time to finally put your feet up for a bit (believe me, with those high heels your going to want to do that for a little while. Your feet will almost certainly be aching!) and interact with your guests. The ideal length for a reception is 6 hours. This leaves an hour for cocktails, two hours for dinner and 3 hours to get your dancing shoes on and dance the evening away!Your photographer acts like a fly on the wall during the reception- capturing images of the guests enjoying one another’s company, the speeches and toasts- until your first dance when all eyes will be on the dance floor. For the reception we generally suggest that you organise to complete the important events (such as the cake cutting and first dance) close to the beginning of the evening) so that your photographer can capture the details before leaving. However, if you value photos of the guests ‘getting down on the D floor’ or images of the speeches, you may have to consider adding on extra hours- but this is something which can easily be discussed and arranged with your photographer.

Putting together a detailed timeline for your special day will help it to run as smoothly as possible, leading to a stress free day for you!

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