Wedding timings....for those special moments (and photos!)

Just a very quick one today. It’s about wedding timing. I have heard from other photographers recently how a couple of times they have had emails etc from couples saying they aren’t very happy with the fact they didn’t get this shot, or that shot or this person etc. And a lot of the time, this is down to the restrictions that are put on the photographers by the wedding timings. Now, also isn’t the couples fault either, but clarity to the situation about the wedding timings on both sides should be paramount. The photographer needs to gently educate about how things work from their point of view and explain that too many demands in the wedding timings to do one thing might affect other things that the couple might want. Conversely, the photographer can only do so much in the wedding timings restrictions, so there has to be a limit on expectations on the couples part too.


For instance, one of the things that always seems to confuse the wedding timings is formal photos, or group photos. These ALWAYS take longer than you think, the couple never realise this, ask for more and more photos and then when the photos are delivered to them after the wedding, they get confused, saddened and angry that other things they might have wanted photographed weren’t done. The photographer should have eased expectations, the couple don’t NEED that many group photos (trust me, you really don’t) and then it leads to the cross email asking why there wasn’t any images of Uncle Jim who you haven’t seen for 25 years and was drunk at the bar!

Wedding timings are a balance. Almost all weddings have a similar running order….only the timings will differ:

Bride/groom prep


Gap for drinks and canapes

Wedding Breakfast, with speeches before or after

Cake cutting

First dance



Not all will run to this. I know there are exceptions. But generally, this is how it goes.

For a photographer, there are major bits here within the wedding timings that we need to try and get things done. The gap for drinks is a good chance to get group shots done and get the first round of couple shots. If you ask for too many group shots for instance, then the timing will go out and we don’t have enough time to not only get the couple shots, but also the candids that the couple may well have hired us to shoot in the first place.

After the wedding breakfast and after first dance, then is another chance to get some couple shots. Now….this in itself can be affected by the wedding timings. How? Well, the day planning, the light available, how off schedule everything is (it never runs like clockwork at a wedding, however the good intentions), the time of year….lots of things. So with that in mind, one thing sometimes that might have to be taken into consideration, ESPECIALLY if your photography is important to you, is the ceremony time. If you want to get all of the above in, try not to have a 5pm ceremony in the middle of January! I KNOW this is depending on venue, date and time of year etc and this may be something that is out of the couples hands. I absolutely get that. But ideally, an earlier ceremony is good, IF possible. If it can be arranged then there is no rush for ANYTHING, let alone the photos and everyone…..should….be happy.

For example….a May wedding. Day’s are getting longer. Sunset, the best light of the day, is getting later. Weather dependant, you want to catch that sunset for some awesome couple shots. So, allow time for all these things to work and discuss with the photographer all the wedding timings before the day so everyone knows the score (I usually ask for a schedule of the day to be emailed to me. Its very useful to me). That way, there should be no confusion, no disappointment and complete clarity of what each other want and can be done within the remit of the day. Of course, being Britain, the weather can scupper the lot, then its thinking cap and sharpish for the photographer! But, if it works out and you time it well, you can get images like this……

Sheffield Moors

Sheffield Moors

So talk to each other and work out what is what for the day. Couples need to be clear on what they want, but be aware of what the photographer can and can’t do, especially if they work on their own. Wedding timings can be the make or break on the photos sometimes. Photographers need to lay out expectations and capabilities within the timings that are given to them and then the couple have to understand this. You are hiring an expert who no doubt has done this a lot of times and will know what can and can’t be done. Listen to them and trust them. It’s what you are paying them for.

Like those pictures above? Well, I am still taking bookings for 2020 and 2021, so get in touch. Click here if you want to see more of my photography and click here if you want to get in touch and let me know all about your wedding timings and how I can work around them!

Hope to speak to you soon!

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