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Timeline Tips for Your Wedding Day | Pittsburgh Wedding Photographer


Bubble exit at Pittsburgh Church wedding


Wedding day timelines can be confusing.  They can be frustrating.  They can make you look at the whole day on a sheet of paper and think, what on earth?!  There are so many of us out there that are really good at timelines and organization.  There are others that aren’t.  But when you haven’t planned a wedding before, you can seriously be a freakin’ timeline genius, and still not know what in the heck to do.

Well if in the event that you are that one that doesn’t know what in the heck to do with the day, I happen to know someone that does.  That would be, yours truly here.  Yes, I am a wedding photographer and while a wedding coordinator/planner can write up a full day in his or her sleep, I can as well.  I send out a timeline guide to you about a month or so out from your wedding day.  I have different types of questions on there from the bridal prep all the way to the end of the reception.  From that, I will create a photography timeline.  The photography timeline will outline the events of the day and will ensure that your events are covered.  Well …  at least my photography timelines do.

Cramming everything into a timeline can be frustrating.  Didn’t I mention that earlier?  Making sure that there is enough time for photos will oftentimes freak some of my brides out.  The LAST thing I want for you to be worrying about is your photography.  I quite honestly don’t even want you to think about it the day of the wedding, and so I certainly don’t want you to stress about when to photograph your bridesmaids, how to get the sunset photos in before cutting the cake, do you even HAVE time for portraits … you see where I’m going with this?

Let’s talk about a few things that will help make that photography timeline easy, seamless, and get ALL of the photos that YOU want.


There are times during the year here in Pittsburgh where it gets super dark, super fast.  You know, that time of the year where 3:30pm hits and you feel like putting on your pajamas and curling up on the couch because it feels like night time.  Daylight savings time can put a damper on a wedding day timeline and with dark gray skies that we are so often given here, it gets dark, like really dark, really fast.  If from the November – March times, you are having an afternoon ceremony, having a first look will give you way more daylight, will be less rushed, and will alleviate some of the time after the ceremony.  If there is a chance that it’s going to be completely dark after your ceremony, I’d definitely consider that first look.  There is something about lovely lit portraits in your gallery that are just oh-so-fantastic.

Aside from day light savings, having a first look can help with a timeline where the reception is immediately following the ceremony.  Fitting family photos in there, bridal party, and then YOUR portraits can be really rushed.  I thrive under pressure, so when this does happen, I make those photos happen for you.  But if you are willing to part from tradition and see each other prior to the ceremony, you not only open up that short time before the reception, but you also get a whole other set of photos of the two of you.  Who can argue with that?!  That’s a win-win in my opinion.

Pittsburgh wedding photographer timeline tips first look.The succop conservancy wedding photographer timeline tip first look.Downtown Pittsburgh first look.


I did this quite a bit this past year and when we were able to accommodate it all, it worked out perfectly.  This is a good thing to do when you are crunched for time before the reception and not having a first look.  I like backgrounds to look similar and uniform, it simply makes your wedding album look better.  So if we can swing it, I will bring you and the bridesmaids out first, photograph you all together, tuck you away somewhere, and then bring out the groom and the guys.  These groups don’t always take a whole lot of time, but when those are done, the only photographs left with the group is the big group photos.  If it saves us 15 or so minutes, that’s 15 or so minutes of time we can spend on just the two of you.  While your bridal party is important and we want photographs of them with you, you aren’t going to canvas a photo of them to hang in your home.  You will want that beautiful romantic shot of the two of you … so if we can make some additional time in there for those images, let’s do it.

Portraits before the ceremony for Pittsburgh wedding photography.


I love buffers.  This sounds super weird, I know.  But it’s so true.  When I draft up your timeline, I’m going to build buffers in there.  Buffers will help us if something runs behind.  When something goes past the time we were anticipating, we magically are STILL on time!  Okay, it’s not magic, it’s a buffer, but that’s why I place them there.  If it takes 15 minutes on Google Map from the ceremony to the reception area, I’m going to build 30 minutes into the timeline.  You never know what kind of traffic you will hit or if someone takes a wrong turn somewhere … or if one of your groomsmen make your limo driver stop to pick up a case of beer (this is a true story, by the way).

Keep this in mind when you are drafting the day of timeline as well.  Build a buffer into hair and makeup times.  If you have a family member (or parts of the bridal party – true story again) who are notorious for being late, place a buffer in there as well.  There is no need to stress when you have control over it all.  You also have the ability to talk to your photographer …. you know, ME!!!  I’m here to help you along the way.  I want my couples to see me as a point of contact, someone who is part of the team, not just someone who shows up with a nice camera the day of.

I am here to help you …. whether it’s with what photos to take, your decision on your makeup, where to buy your dress, when to cut your cake … I’m here for the long haul!

Bridesmaids at Heinz chapel.

. Are you recently engaged and planning your Pittsburgh wedding?!  I’d LOVE to hear from you!  Please feel free to reach out by contacting me below or emailing me directly at .

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