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How I Like My Weddings To Go

Washington DC Wedding Photographer: Stephen Gosling Photography

No two weddings are ever the same, they can be similar, but are never identical.  Everyone and everything is different.  And as a wedding photographer here in the Washington DC area this means I have to have a plan.

When I shoot a wedding; I always have certain shots in my head that I need to make sure I get, and this post is sort of a mix between that and a perfect timeline.  I am yet to have a wedding that utilizes this ‘perfect’ timeline and again that is just part of working in this industry.  You have to be flexible with times, locations and shot lists as sometimes it is not always possible to get everything you want.  For example; the timeline I have listed below includes a first look.  This gives us lots of time to get portraits before the ceremony and not feel rushed to get as many as we can afterwards during the cocktail hour.  However, most of my weddings still do not have a first look and so we are usually in a little bit of a time crunch during the cocktail hour to make sure everything gets done.

So, in a perfect world where everything runs smoothly and on time this is what would happen;

Wedding Day – Ceremony and Reception are in the same location

Start with the bride, shoot getting ready photos of the bride and her bridesmaids
Shoot details; gown, flowers, jewelry, wedding rings, invitations, any other details, etc…
Shoot bride being put into her wedding dress by bridesmaids/family members
Spend 10 minutes shooting the bride by herself in the bridal suite

Shoot the groom and groomsmen getting ready
Shoot any details that the groom/groomsmen have; cufflinks, shoes, gifts, etc…
Shoot a couple shots of the groom by himself

First look, bride and groom are photographed seeing each other for the first
Shots of the bride & groom together

Bridal party photographs
Shots of bride with her bridesmaids, group (and if time individually)
Shots of groom with groomsmen, group (and if time individually)
Shoot entire group, creatively and fun

Bridal party gets sent to ceremony location to assist with seating guests
More shots of bride and groom alone

Bride gets tucked away for the ceremony
Shoot ceremony details; program, flowers, guests being seated, ceremony location

Professional photographs, ceremony photographs

Ceremony concludes
Recessional photographs

Family formal pictures – outside if possible (at ceremony location or other chosen location)

Cocktail hour
Bride and groom pictures for first 25 minutes of cocktail hour

Photograph reception details whilst they are untouched because guests are at cocktail hour
Shoot reception room in full
Shoot cake

Introductions and entrances

First dance

Welcome toast and or prayer

Salad course served

Toasts whilst entree course is served

*I like to get the bride and groom reacting to the toasts as well as the person giving them. You can get some cute results!

Bride and groom eat entree (I eat whilst the bride ad groom eat)

Father/daughter & mother/son dances

Open dancing begins

Cake cutting
Bouquet toss

Photography finishes

10.30pm (additional)
If you are doing an interesting exit and want it photographed you have to let me know!
Bride and groom exit…

So that’s my advice on the subject…  Thoughts?

Contact Stephen about your wedding – stephen@goslingphotography.com
View Stephen’s Wedding Portfolio – www.goslingphotography.com


  • Katie Nesbitt - This a good starting point for someone to go off of when trying to make their timeline! Also, I just wanted to say the picture by the school for dogs is ADORABLE!!ReplyCancel

  • Brittany Kelland - I think the timing is perfect! I made a timeline guide for our brides & grooms that I give them after booking! It is very similar to this. I think it helps a ton, because as photographers we know how the timeline should flow for pictures.ReplyCancel

  • Abby Grace - Awesome post, Stephen- I love all the images you accompanied it with! Your brides are really going to appreciate this one!ReplyCancel

  • Anna K. - This is going to be so helpful for your brides!ReplyCancel

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