Bride and Groom cuddle

Wedding Photography Timeline For Your Special Day

I’ve written this guide on the timeline for a typical wedding based on my experience as a Yorkshire Wedding Photographer.

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Whilst every day is unique a common question I am asked is what my typical timeline would be in terms of the structure of the wedding day.

Bride and Groom's first dance at Hazel Gap Barn

Your Wedding Day

Weddings are an amazing experience. They follow a pattern, but within that pattern, you will find candid moments that give you a glimpse into the love the couple share. As a wedding photographer, it is my job to capture those split-second moments. From start to when I leave, I will be there to provide you coverage for all of the traditional photos as well as your special moments.  I have quite a contemporary style with a mix of documentary and ‘posed’ coverage, however I would say my ‘posed’ work is of a very relaxed style.  For example gentle suggestion of where hands should be in order to keep a ring hand dominant in the final photo.

Bride and Groom cuddle at night at Rudding Park

2 to 3 Hours Before “I Do”

I will arrive approximately two to two and a half hours prior to the ceremony. This will give me time to firstly photograph the wedding venue, possibly with the drone before moving on to photograph the bride’s preparations.

The moments when the mum is assisting her daughter, the first time the father gets to see the dress, and all of the detailed photos of the dress, the shoes, jewellery, and the bouquet, are all on my list of images.  Typically I will start the coverage at bridal prep with the dress and other details whilst people get used to me being around.

Wedding rings


Stunning light at Bridal Pre at the Manor House Lindley

During the groom’s prep, I will focus on the interaction between him and his best man. A portrait of the groom and his men will be taken as well.

It tends to be a little more relaxed with the guys and very often these pics will centre around the bar!  That’s certainly where I often find the guys anyway!

Groomsmen on the sofa at Hazlewood Castle

It is worth pointing out here that coverage can be dramatically increased with the use of a second photographer  however if it’s just me I tend to come and see the guys as the ladies are changing.

Silhouette of Groomsmen at Rudding Park

I’d then tend to pop back up and do the buttoning up of the dress and if applicable take Dad back up with me for the first look shot.


30 minutes before the wedding. I can begin to capture photos of the guests as they start to arrive. I will take pictures of the décor and all of the wedding gifts and other items that are located throughout the church or venue. It is during this time that I can begin to watch the guests as they are being seated to capture the glances and smiles shared between friends and families.

The Ceremony

The groom and groomsmen taking their places and the bride coming down the aisle are highlights. From the first time that their eyes meet, through the vows, the ring exchange and the first kiss, it is the joining of two lives captured through my lens. As they leave the church as husband and wife, it’s those first steps that are so precious. Those images are timeless.  One of my absolute favourite shots is actually taken by the second photographer and is the Grooms reaction to the Bride walking down the Aisle.

Groom's first look of the bride at night at Rudding Park

Immediately After the Ceremony

Immediately after the ceremony, I tend to get everyone straight out for confetti and the main group shot.  Ideally I’ll get the main group with the drone too. Then we have the ‘Formals’  these are the shots that family will kill you if you don’t have.  I’ve done this both with and without a list provided by you guys.  In all honesty without the list you can pretty much guarantee this is where your timeline can go wrong.  I like to be really organised at this point and ask for helpers to get the groups to me.  I’ll shout the first couple of shots out and then the helpers stay ahead of me.  Working this way gets the job done quickly and efficiently allowing you to get on with relaxing with your guests.

Waterton Park Wedding Photographer

I think the optimum number of groups is 15-20.  Any more and I guarantee you will have had enough and get bored.  For 20 well organised groups I’d still try to allow about 30 minutes for these traditional posed shots. I try to account for all of the different combinations so that all of the immediate family members are included. From classic poses to impromptu candids, I will capture as many as I can.  Again this can be aided massively by having the second photographer to capture a candid angle and also peel off smaller groups too.

Bride and her Bridesmaids at Rudding Park

As the family begins to break away, the bride and groom can sneak away for their first few moments alone as a married couple. During that time, I will be busy snapping a few candid photos and, if the couple is walking outside, take a few shots with the drone. The wedding breakfast is an ideal time for a few candid images.  During the months where we have longer daylight hours I’ll often leave your portraits until after you’ve eaten to give you more time to relax with your guests.

Entrance Into the Evening Reception

I’m normally off then to photography your wedding breakfast room empty and capture all those little table details that you’ve worked so hard to organise.  For me these are a really important memory of your day.

I will be ready and waiting as the couple enters the hall for their evening reception. Photos of the speeches, as well as the toasts, will be high on my list of priorities. The cutting of the cake and the first drink as man and wife are also commonly requested photos.

If the couple chooses, we can take a few twilight photos before the party gets fully underway. I love using flash lighting to produce different effects. Twilight photos can be very dramatic and also poignant at the same time. These portraits will be some of the most beautiful of the day.

The first dance, the throwing of the bouquet, and the removal of the garter are festive times that everyone at the reception will enjoy. During the reception is when I can do some of my best work as a Yorkshire wedding photographer. I am able to blend in easily with the crowd. This allows me to get those unrehearsed moments that make the day so special.

Special Moments

Bride and Groom on the Stairs at Grantley Hall

Throughout your wedding day, there will be those one-of-a-kind moments that no one can plan. They can happen any time and anywhere. I have a knack for stumbling across them and capturing them when no one expects it. This is why I absolutely love my job as a wedding photographer!

Any questions?

My name is Ben Cumming and I am an experienced Yorkshire wedding photographer. I love what I do. I take pride in being able to capture the moments that will tell your wedding story for many years to come. I would be greatly honoured if you would allow me to be your wedding photographer! Get in touch if you have any questions.

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