Say what now?! I remember fondly years ago when planning my own wedding. A timeline was way off my radar until suppliers started asking the order of events. Speeches wanted to know when their torture began. The venue needed to know when to serve dessert. Aarrrgghhhhhhh. 

A wedding timeline is the order of events for the day. From getting ready to the end of your reception, there’s lots of different elements of a wedding day to put together. 

Hair and make up 

Want to know how long hair and make up takes? Here’s the advice of Michelle O’Connell, a Mornington Peninsula based hair and make up artist. 

‘Every artist is different but I recommend ensuring the bridal party is complete by the time the photographer needs them ready by – leaving 5-10mins when photographer arrives for touchups and photos of getting hair/makeup done, taking photos of everyone and ensuring everything is perfect. Check with your photographer what time they need you ready and then I draw up a timeline guide for each person and roughly what time they will be in the hair and/or makeup chair.

I allocate 1.5hrs per person for hair and makeup or 45mins per service. 

If there is more than 4 in the bridal party I bring along an additional stylist to ensure the bridal party is completed in a reasonable amount of time – means their getting ready time is cut in half which is perfect for larger groups. 

I pride myself on my timelines and never run over for this reason! Getting an experienced bridal artist will ensure everything runs smoothly.’ 

Getting ready photos 

If you book 8 hours or more for photography this will generally include getting ready photos for both partners depending on distance between the getting ready locations and venue. If you will be getting ready separately then it’s best to have your getting ready locations either close to each other or one close to the venue so there isn’t too much time lost travelling in between. If this can’t be helped then I’d recommend booking in for 10 hours coverage so nothing is missed. 

For heterosexual couples, the groom getting ready photos are usually around 45 minutes and the brides are 1 hour or more. The groom is first up and then we aim for the brides to be finalising hair and make up and getting dressed. 

For same sex couples, we will work together to come up with the best getting ready timeline so all the beautiful moments are captured. 

Mornington Peninsula Wedding

Ceremony timeline 

I arrive half an hour before the ceremony to capture guests arriving, the nerves and the excitement. If your ceremony is at the same place as your reception I will also want a little longer to capture all the details. 

Panama Dining Room Wedding


After your ceremony is when you will get the following photos 

Group shot (if you want one) 

Family photos 

Wedding party photos 

(Allow roughly 45 minutes)

Couple portraits 

(Allow roughly 45 minutes or more if we are going off location) 

Beforehand we will have discussed all the photos you’re after and I’ll have a list to make sure it’s efficient and quick!! With your family photos my advice is always to keep it simple and to ask yourself ‘would I hang this on my wall?’. If you wouldn’t frame a picture of your second cousin Fred and old Aunt Betty, you can pull be aside in the reception to get some with them! 

After these photos are finished, it’s time for you to get some photos together just the two of you. Depending on your venue, we might go somewhere off location or stick around the venue. 

Sunset photos 

I always recommend sunset photos!!! Ducking out for 20 mins or so for some sunset photos not only gets you more stunning photos but also a chance to just be alone together (kind of haha). Have a chat and a quiet moment together while I free on you. 

We will figure out (google) when sunset is going to be on your wedding date and go from there. 

Wedding photography Mornington Peninsula

Reception timeline 

Woo hoo!! It’s party time. Something to think about is what are the important parts of the reception that you want photographed and make sure they’re falling into the package you’re booked in for. 

Panama Dining Room Wedding

Example timelines 

Here are some example timelines that I’ve worked with. 

Example 1 – 8 hours coverage –  

1:30pm – Arrive at partner 1’s getting ready 

2:15pm – Leave for parters 2 

2:30pm – Arrive partners 2’s

3:15pm – Leave for venue  

3.30pm – Arrive venue 

4:00pm – Ceremony 

Group shot 

Family photos 

Wedding party photos 

Couple portraits 

6:00pm – Reception 

7:15pm- Speeches 

8:30pm –

Cake cut 

First dance 

Father daughter dances 

9:30pm – Finish up photography 

Example 2 – 8 hours 

1:30pm – Arrive at grooms accomodation 

2:10pm – Leave for bride 

2:30pm – Arrive at brides 

3:30pm – Leave for venue 

3:50pm – Arrive at venue 

4:30pm – Ceremony 

At ceremony space 

Group photo 

Family photos

Wedding party 

Couples portraits 

6:00pm – Reception 


Cake cut 

7:30pm – Sunset photos (allow 20 mins) 

8:15pm- Speeches 

8:45pm – First dance 

Example 3 – 10 hour package 

11:30 – Arrive at partner 1s getting ready 

12:15 – Leave for partner 2’s 

12:45 – Arrive at partner 2’s  

1:45 – Leave for ceremony 

2:00- Arrive at ceremony location 

2:30pm – Ceremony 

Family photos, wedding party photos, couple photos 

4:30pm – Leave for reception 

5:15pm- Arrive at reception and capture details 

6:00pm – Reception 

7:15 – Speech 1 and 2

Cake cut 

8:00pm – sunset photos 

8:40pm – Speech 3 and 4 

First dance 

9:30pm – Wrap up photos 

Whoa Nelly! That’s a lot!! It is a lot, however your suppliers are there to help you!! Your celebrant, photographer and venue are there to advise and assist. So ask away. 

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