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  • Writer's pictureBetty yan Ma

The Ultimate Timeline Guide for your Picture- Perfect Wedding Day

Updated: May 11, 2020

How to have a picture-perfect wedding day timeline is definitely one of our most requested blog posts and we are aware that with the diversity of the cultural aspects of weddings nowadays, it’s extremely hard to pinpoint an exact wedding photography timeline template. However, there are some ideal time frames that you should consider when planning for your fabulous wedding day. The below time frame is to give you some ideas on how to allocate time properly and to ensure that you will have enough time for each session of your most important day.

Some of these times may seem long on paper but keep in mind the following:

1) The day will fly by,

2) Most weddings run slightly behind schedule

3) We’ll make these photo sessions fun, so it won’t seem like a long time.

4) Luxury Moment Photography will also set up meeting/s month before your wedding day to guide you through the timeline and to draft the picture-perfect timeline for you.

*** Please also note that the below timeline is only ideal for pictures if you have video on your wedding day, please allocate at least another 30 mins more for each of the session.

Groom Preparation

Ideal Time of the Day: Morning

Ideal Time Allotment: At least 1 hour Ideal Location: Hotel Suite or rent an Airbnb that has enough light with large windows.

Advices: Please have one of your groomsmen to prepare all the details/accessories (Shoes, tie/bow-tie, perfume, boutonnieres...) in advance and leave it on the side for us. And ensure that the room is clean before photographers' arrival. Groom and groomsmen can always prepare some fun activities.

Bridal Preparation

Ideal Time of the Day: Morning

Ideal Time Allotment: At least 1.5 hour Ideal Location: Bridal Suite, Hotel Suite or rent an Airbnb that has enough light with large windows.

Advices: Please have one of your bridesmaid to prepare all the details/accessories (Invitation, Engagement ring, wedding bands, shoes, perfume, earrings and all accessories) in advance and leave it on the side for us. Prepare a fun PJ party with your bridesmaids, pop a champagne for the extra fun.

* There are times when a hotel room is too crowded, not enough natural light or simply unappealing; we have to take the dress all the way down to the lobby or even outside. This can take some time, but as you can see from the results, it’s well worth the additional work. So please ensure that the room is clean and only keep the important party in the room to have the best result. One of the thing that would definitely help to create picture perfect for your morning prep is to stay in a hotel room that has enough natural light, not only you are doing a favour for yourself, but also for the makeup artist, your photographer/s and/or videographer/s.


Ideal Time of the Day: Morning or Early Afternoon

Ideal Time Allotment: At least 30 minutes Ideal Location: Venue Garden, Empty Venue Hallway (shaded areas with natural light)

Advices: The first look should be around 30 minutes. During this time, the bride and groom enjoy seeing each other for the first time on the wedding day. While the actual first look might only be 5-10 minutes, the rest of the time is to take a few quick shots of the bride and groom. We will save more time during the creative couple session in the afternoon.


Ideal Time of the Day: Morning or Afternoon (After the ceremony)

Ideal Time Allotment: 30 - 45 minutes Ideal Location: In front of Church, Venue Lobby, Venue Garden, Park, Off-site Location

Advices: Immediate Family Photos should take another 30- 45 minutes depending on the size of your family. It’s important to have additional images with your parents, grandparents, and siblings beyond the basic formal (mentioned in the section below).

Plan on 3 minutes per group on average. For example, if you have 10 groups, schedule in a 30 minute time slot.

We all know how much weddings mean to the immediate family, and we want to make sure we’re capturing enough pictures with them.We also recommend being very organized, with a list of groups and helpers from each side of the family to help round people up.


Ideal Time of the Day: Late Afternoon (Before Sunset)

Ideal Time Allotment: 30-45 minutes Ideal Location: Venue Lobby, Venue Garden, Beach, Park, Off-site Location

Advices: Wedding Party Photos should be around 30 - 45 minutes. During this time, we get a variety of group shots in a variety of poses. We start off with the classic formal poses to focus on great expressions and lighting.

Then we move into a set of fun and creative shots. Finally, we know how much your wedding party means to you, so we are sure to get pictures with you and each one of your bridesmaids or groomsmen individually.


Ideal Time of the Day: Late Afternoon (Sunset/Golden hour)

Ideal Time Allotment: At least 1 hour Ideal Location: Venue Garden, Beach, Hotel Lobby, Park, off-site Location

Advices: Couple session should be around 1 hour and should take place ideally 30 to 45 minutes before sunset. This is the best time in terms of lighting and it is also called the golden hour (Best picture time).

It also allows us to capture the awesome scenic shots with colorful skies. If your wedding is in downtown or in an area with tall buildings, it’s not as important for us to have this specific time frame (although it still helps).

However, if you booked your venue because of the spectacular view of the gorgeous vines in the winery or landscape, it’s essential to follow this advice in your timeline.


Ideal Time of the Day: Afternoon (after the couple and bridal party session)

Ideal Time Allotment: 20-30 minutes

Ideal Location: Venue/Reception Site

30 minutes before you have all your guests seated, it’s important that we are there to capture the complete set up of your ceremony/ reception site so we can capture the scene at its best. With no guests or vendors in the area.

This is the only opportunity we have to capture the beauty of the reception room prior to guest arrival.


Ideal Time of the Day: At the end of Cocktail Hour before doors open for guests

Ideal Time Allotment: 10-15 minutes Ideal Location: Reception Site

Advices: This is when the reception space is revealed to the couple for the first time. It’s a great opportunity to capture a genuine reaction, as well as a moment alone with the dance floor to practice your first dance, which also makes a great photo with all the decoration and details you have prepared before your fabulous wedding day!

Montreal wedding photographer


Ideal Time of the Day: Dusk to Night Time

Ideal Time Allotment: Around 30 minutes Ideal Location: Areas with interesting lights, fountains, city scapes and mirrors near or inside the reception/Venue.

Advice: During the reception, please plan on sneaking out for a couple of night shots. We only need approximately 30 minutes, as we understand the importance of being a good host. However, this time is important if you appreciate the night photography that we deliver. The ideal time for this is right after you grab a bite to eat or during the open floor dancing after you’ve danced a few songs and would like a break. Another suggestion would be to get these shots at the very end of the night once all the guests are having fun dancing.

Montreal wedding photographer

Additional Wedding Day Details
Receiving Line: This would be ideal right after you did your reception first look and right before the doors open for the guests.

Table Shots: Table shots are when you go around visiting tables. There are two options for photography during this time. (1) You can take formal pictures with each of these tables or (2) we can simply focus on photojournalism, capturing the smiles and hugs as you mingle with each table. If you’re planning on doing formal table shots, please keep in mind that these will take about 3-5 minutes per table. For example 20 tables would require 60-100 minutes of time (We Strongly recommend to have a receiving line instead of the table shots).

Cultural Traditional Weddings: For cultural traditional weddings like Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian and other weddings, there are elements like the Tea Ceremony and Baraat that require time to photograph. Please ensure to communicate with your photographers in advance.

Happy wedding planning everyone! Please let us know or comment below to let us know what are the things that you would like us to cover or post for our upcoming blog!

Welcome to our Montreal wedding photography blog. Please visit our wedding portfolio here and my engagement portfolio here.  We are an international award-winning, published Montreal wedding photographer also specializing in portrait, corporate, maternity and boudoir photography and deeply passionate about destination weddings. We shoot primarily in the Greater Montreal and Toronto area but also love traveling for work! Some destinations we have shot in are Quebec and colorful Mexico as well as California, Las Vegas/Nevada, New Orleans, and Asia. Since 2016, we have shot over 100 weddings and continue to love what we do so very much. When you’re always surrounded by love, happiness, and contagious, happy energy, what’s not to love?  We are currently booking for 2021 weddings, so message us soon with any inquiries you may have about your portrait or wedding photography. Contact us here or email us

Much Love,

Luxury Moment Photography

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