Hi friends!

I thought I would stop by the blog today to share with you something that I believe to be one of the most OVERLOOKED aspects of wedding planning, and that thing is …



I’ve seen so many weddings get behind schedule, but how can anyone be blamed? You’ve planned a whole day from start to finish. You’ve had no practice executing it (other than the rehearsal dinner, but there was no dress, no flowers, and no TORNADO to slow things down!). It’s almost become NORMAL for a wedding to run a little bit behind schedule, but it doesn’t have to be that way! Keep reading to find out how to plan out your wedding day timeline so you can enjoy every moment without the stress.

Wait, what? Did I just say tornado? Yep. That's right. Amanda and Tyler's wedding was the day after the infamous not one but SIX Ottawa area tornados!!! The city was in total chaos for days after! Power was out, traffic lights were not working causing some serious gridlock across the city, and you'd never even guess that this was happening with how cool and calm Amanda and Tyler were the whole day! Things were delayed by (only) 30 minutes. Not bad considering how pretty much everyone involved in the wedding was affected by these crazy tornados. Whether they were a guest, part of the wedding party or wedding vendor we all had our challenges!

But as my friend Freddie Mercury once said "the show must go on" and that's exactly what happened for this Venosta QC wedding. I'm still so impressed with how everything pulled together despite the craziness that was going on behind the scenes.

Now, am I implying that this all could have been avoided? No! But I think Amanda and Tyler's wedding is a great example that sometimes, the craziest things can happen on or before your wedding day. Having a solid timeline will be a lifesaver and will be the best way to ensure that you can enjoy the day that you've been working SO HARD on planning for so long!

So this one goes out to the 6 tornados that tried to ruin their day and FAILED! BOO YOU TORNADOS, NOT THIS TIME!!

So why am I, your photographer bringing this up, and not just sticking to photo-related advice? 

Because I’ve taken part in 100+ weddings, and I’ve seen the pattern. One of my favourite aspects of being a photographer is that I get a behind the scenes look at the wedding day from start to finish!

But most importantly, I don’t want you looking back on your wedding day wishing that you had made more time for family photos. Or that you wish you could have spent more time with the guests you invited, especially the ones that come from so far away, but...

The wedding party took longer than expected to get dressed because one of the guys forgot his tie at home. (True story) 

The bride was feeling rushed and overwhelmed and just needed a few extra minutes to BREATHE. (Also a true story. How could anyone blame her!?)

The flower girl had another meltdown, and things got, well, delayed... (Naptime?!)

And before we know it, the whole day has been delayed 30-45 minutes which means...

Less time for just enjoying yourself, and having a moment to just pause and let it all soak in.

After all, you’ve spent the last year or so planning this day, and yet it’s over in what feels like an instant! I totally get it!

 Whether or not we prepare for it, these things do happen. It’s no wonder so many people struggle with this. But, I’m here to help you!

sample timelines for different wedding day situations:

(Note these are 8 hour photography days, but can serve as a guide for shorter days. See notes below for building your own timeline)

5:30 Ceremony: After daylight savings WITH First look - Sunset around 8PM


1:30 Val begins with details & getting ready (Second shooter is with the guys!)

2:30 Dress on!

3:15 First Look & Portraits

4:00 Bridal Party Portraits

4:30-4:45ish Have second shooter photograph untouched ceremony before guests arrive

5:00 Bride in hiding (Photograph reception details if at same location)

5:30 Ceremony

6:00 Family Formals

6:30 A few portraits of the newlyweds if the light is pretty. (If not, they can join cocktail hour)

7:00 Introductions

7:30 Sunset Portraits (15-20mins) during dinner

9:30 Contracted coverage ends

5:30 Ceremony: After daylight savings WITHOUT First look - Sunset around 8pm

3:00 Valerie begins with details & getting ready (Second shooter is with the guys)

4:00 Bride in her dress

4:30 Bridesmaids portraits/Groomsmen Portraits in separate locations if possible

4:30-4:45ish Have second shooter photograph untouched ceremony before guests arrive

5:00 Bride in hiding (Photograph reception details if at same location)

5:30 Ceremony

6:00 Family Formals (Limited amount due to lack of time)

6:20 Quick & efficient Bridal Party Portraits

6:40 As many Bride and Groom Portraits as we can fit into 20 mins

7:00 Introductions

7:30 Sunset Portraits (15-20mins) during dinner

11:00 Contracted coverage ends


I need certain amounts of time allotted to each portion of the day in order to capture your day in a way that reflects what you have seen on my website. In the event that our timeline gets thrown off or it is impossible to give me the desired amount of time for each section of the day, we’ll be as efficient as humanly possible. It is ALWAYS my goal to capture the images that you’ve always dreamed of for your wedding day. However, capturing images that you are going to freak out over later can take some time. So here are some general guidelines for photo times:



30-45mins - I can usually get these done while stepping into the getting ready area and photographing the girls hanging out at the same time!


30-45mins - This can take 10 mins or 45. You just never know! This is an area where we build in extra time just in case. Also, I love having a few minutes to capture just the bride in her gown.


20-30 mins depending on the size of the party. We always capture just the bridesmaids, just the groomsmen, the entire group together and then individuals with the bride and groom separately. Even with our super fast workflow, this can take some time.


I love having 30 minutes before the ceremony and 30 minutes after the ceremony. However, I know this is not always possible. My goal is to be able to give my couples some additional portraits that add a little extra variety from the ones that we took pre-ceremony. If you are not sharing a first look, I cannot stress enough how important it is to at least have 30 minutes of portrait time after the ceremony.


This is the hardest part of the day as far as photography is concerned. I made it my mission to make family formals fast, easy and as efficient as possible. I recommend 30 minutes for family formals, but not at the expense of your Bride and Groom portrait time. We can always grab large group photos during the reception. That glowy sunset light for Bride and Groom portraits has to be taken advantage of right when it’s happening because it will disappear quickly.


I would love 20 minutes to photograph all of the beautiful details and decor of your reception. However, if I’m only able to have 10 minutes, that will suffice and I will work quickly!