Q: I’m trying to come up with a timeline for my wedding day, but am having trouble figuring out how much time is needed for photos.  Any advice?

A: This question is a tricky one, because there are a lot of factors to consider that will vary greatly from wedding to wedding. Your photographer should definitely be able to give you some guidance on this – we actually love to be consulted on the timeline, because it allows us to feel confident that we will have the time we feel necessary for each segment.

Some questions to have answered when you consult with your photographer on timeline:

1. How many hours you have hired your photographer for.
2. Ceremony, Cocktail Hour and Reception start times and lengths.
3. Are you doing a receiving line?
4. How many guests are you having (this number will directly impact the amount of time necessary for receiving line).
5. Number of family formals (I ask for a list of family pairings).
6. Size of wedding party.
7. Are you doing a first look?
8. Do you hope to attend all or some of your cocktail hour?
9. Where do you hope photos taken (church, venue, an additional location)?
10. Driving time between locations.
11. Are you and your fiance getting ready in the same or separate locations?

Having those answers ready for your photographer can definitely help them guide you on setting up a timeline. But, to try to answer your questions, here is a rough approximation of what I might recommend for photos, excluding the ceremony, reception and cocktail hour candids.

60 minutes for bride getting ready and detail shots (add 30 minutes if bride and groom are getting ready at same location and photographer is covering both) 
30 minutes – Bride and Groom ‘First Look’
3-5 minutes per grouping for family/friend formals
30-45 minutes for wedding party formals
30-45 minutes for bride and groom formals

Lastly, I always factor in any travel times and leave a bit of cushion when possible!

Hopefully this will help to guide you on figuring out a timeline, but as I said at the start, definitely ask your photographer for their input. I am certain they would be more than happy to help!