How To Plan Your Wedding Day Timeline For Wedding Video
When planning your wedding day, your timeline is a lifeline for all of your wedding vendors. It holds the key for what is happening when and where on your wedding day so your wedding videographers can plan accordingly to capture your most cherished moments. While it's incredibly important to think through all of the details that are most important to you that you want to remember forever, even more important is giving yourself enough time to enjoy the moments as they happen, as well as giving your videographer the time to capture it.
There is nothing worse than selling yourself short and cramming too many things into an unrealistic timeline! In fact, it is heartbreaking for us to witness on so many levels - a bride should be crying due to tears of joy of her positive wedding day experience, NOT due to the stress of her wedding day.
A few things to keep in mind before we jump into the wedding day timeline:
1. Your wedding videographer is often capturing more than just the actual moments on your wedding day timeline that take place - venue details, flying the drone for ariel footage, bridal details, getting ready, family heirlooms, ceremony & reception details etc. Details make for a better wedding film overall & you've worked so hard planning your day, you deserve to remember it in the best way possible down to the finer details.
2. Your wedding videographer has to plan for the time they aren't capturing footage - this includes camera, tripods, and stabilization equipment setup, micing the bride, groom, officiant, DJ soundboard, and speakers, as well as setting up professional lighting, live feed (plus time to test it) if applicable, tear down of setup at each location if applicable, and travel time to various location if you are getting ready or have a ceremony at a different location than your reception wedding venue.
3. Your wedding videographer wants to capture romantic shots of just the two of you! Again, this makes for a much better wedding film. And frankly, you'll spend much of your wedding day apart, with friends, family, or loved ones. Taking time for the two of you is super important as it's not every day you are this glammed up and trust me, you'll cherish this 5, 10, 20, 50 years down the road when you have experienced so much life together. It can be quite emotional! Take it from a wife who's about to hit her 5 year anniversary...a lot can happen in 5 years!
Now, let's get to the wedding day timeline! During every consult I always hear the question how much time do I really need? Well, that all depends on the special moments you are planning throughout your wedding day. For this timeline, I am going to give you an idea of what 12-hour coverage looks like, and then you can narrow it down from there to the time you actually need.
I'll likely post variations of wedding day timelines in future blog posts for the most popular wedding videography coverage times besides 12-hour coverage as well as some options that have separate locations for getting ready, ceremony, and receptions. But for now, let's assume you've chosen a venue that has all of these things in one location. Also, if you're looking for additional ideas for moments to capture on your wedding day, you'll have to check out 18 Wedding Video Worthy Memories to Capture with the Mother of the Bride & Groom on Your Wedding Day and 18 Must-Have Moments For Your Wedding Video
11:30 a.m. Videographer Arrives
Your wedding videographers arrive and introduce themselves quickly. Next they unload equipment and ideally fly the drone to capture an ariel view of your wedding venue as well as capture all of the unique details about your venue (both indoors / outdoors ) and nature surrounding it. If your reception is held at the same location, your wedding videographers will likely go ahead and set up lighting there.
12:30 p.m. Bridal Details & Candid Bridal Party Moments
At this time the bride is usually just getting her hair and makeup done during which one of your wedding videographers take time to capture artistic shots of the bride's wedding dress, veil, rings, invitations, family heirlooms, jewelry, and any other trinkets that are important to the bride. Meanwhile, a second videographer stands by to capture candid moments as bridesmaids toast in their matching robes, mom and grandma embrace and reminisce on how quickly you've grown up, as the bridal suite is filled with both laughter and tears.
1 p.m. Groom Details & Candid Bridal Party Moments
While one of your wedding videographers stays in the bride's suite to capture candid moments, a second videographer will stand by with the groom in the groom's suite as he gets ready, toasts with the groomsmen, and has a tearful hug with dad, grandpa, or maybe even his mom after he's ready. The best man helping him with his tie, dad helping him with his suit jacket...cufflinks, handkerchiefs, watches, shoes, and cologne are all wonderful details to capture as well!
1:45 p.m. Groom Wedding Day Letter Reading
After the groom is completely dressed, the second videographer will pull the groom aside to read the letter from the bride. The videographer will first capture the groom's genuine reaction to reading the letter silently, and then after he's had time to soak in the emotion of the letter, the groom will have a chance to read his favorite portion of the letter aloud to capture audio to incorporate into the wedding film. Wedding day letters are of course completely optional but highly recommended. You can read more about 3 Reasons To Write Bride & Groom Wedding Day Letters here.
2:00 p.m. Groom & Groomsmen Portraits
After capturing the groom's wedding day letter reading, the groom and groomsmen will take portraits somewhere beautiful at your venue's location. While your photographer takes portraits, the second videographer will capture candid moments and nice group shots of the guys. After portraits, the guys usually head back to the groom's suite to hang out before bridal party portraits.
2:00 p.m. Bride’s HAMU Are Complete
By this time your wedding videographer will have captured the final touches of your hair and makeup as well as a few candid moments of the bride with the bridal party before they get dressed. Now that the bride's hair and makeup are complete, bridesmaids, mother of the bride, and grandmother, flower girls, and any other bridal party members should be completely dressed so that they can either:
1) exit the room if the bride is planning a first look with the bridal party, or
2) help the bride get dressed and stand by as you wedding videographer captures the final few moments of your dress going on.
Please note, that right before the bride gets dressed your videographer will hand over a tiny microphone to whoever is helping you get dressed so that they can help you place the mic. The videographer will discreetly step out of your bridal suite while you are actually dressing and re-enter when you are dressed for the last few details of your dressing.
2:30 p.m. Bride's Dress Is On
Once the bride is mostly dressed, now is the time for your wedding videographer to capture intimate moments with your maid of honor (and maybe bridesmaids, too) helping you zip up your dress and slip on your shoes. Perhaps your mom and grandma help with your earrings and jewelry, or adjusts your veil. This is a great time to get a shot of all generations of wedding rings in the family! If you have a letter for your mom, a gift, or vice versa, this is a great time to capture your reactions and tearful embraces! For more ideas of moments to capture with mom, you'll want to check out 18 Wedding Video Worthy Memories to Capture with the Mother of the Bride & Groom on Your Wedding Day .
3:15 p.m. Bride Wedding Day Letter Reading
After the bride is mic'd and completely dressed, the wedding videographer will pull the bride aside to read the letter from the groom. The videographer will first capture the bride's genuine reaction to reading the letter silently, and then after she's had time to soak in the emotion of the letter, the bride will have a chance to read her favorite portion of the letter aloud to capture audio to incorporate into the wedding film.
3:30 p.m. Bride & Bridesmaids Portraits
After capturing the bride's wedding day letter reading, the bride and bridesmaids will take portraits somewhere beautiful at your venue's location. While your photographer takes portraits, your wedding day videographer will capture candid moments and nice group shots of the girls.
4:00 p.m. Father Of The Bride & Bride First Look
Before the bride's first look with the groom, the bride has the option to see her father or another father figure in her life. If your father or loved one plans on praying with you or reading a letter etc., it's important that your wedding day videographer know ahead of time so that the father of the bride can be mic'd to capture audio. Get ready for the waterworks on this one!
4:15 p.m. Bride & Groom First Look
The first look is such a great way to set time aside for just the two of you on a fast-paced, action-packed wedding day. Both of your wedding day videographers will film together to ensure that both angles and reactions of the bride and groom are captured so that you can relive all of the sweet emotion of this special moment!
4:30 p.m. Bride & Groom Romantic Shots
After the bride and groom's first look, your wedding videographer and photographer will want to capture beautiful romantic shots of you two together while giving you a little bit of direction (if you are comfortable with it - this is something we always discuss with our couples in our discovery meeting before your wedding day to understand you as a couple so that we can craft a wedding film that is unique to you as a couple).
It's important and we highly recommended that you dedicate at least 10-15 minutes of this time with your wedding day videographers while also giving your wedding day photographer the same amount of time to ensure they can both capture what they need to capture your memories. During the time your photographer is shooting, your wedding day videographer will look for candid moments in between posed moments to add to your wedding day film.
During this time one of the two videographers will likely head to your ceremony site to begin setup for the wedding ceremony as well as mic your wedding day officiant and soundboard. This same videographer will also begin capturing details of the ceremony site before your wedding guests arrive.
5:00 p.m. Bridal Party Portraits
After the bride and groom have time to soak in their alone time together before their ceremony, it's time for a group shot with the entire bridal party! One of your wedding videographers will grab a quick shot of the entire bridal party and then head to the ceremony site to prepare for the ceremony.
5:30 p.m. Guests Arrive / Hide All Bridal Party
Your wedding videographers will be ready to capture your guests arriving and finalize any lingering details before your wedding ceremony begins!
6:00 p.m. Wedding Ceremony Begins
From this point forward, your two wedding videographers will be manning a four camera setup - two on tripods and the other two on gimbles or handheld that they will carry with them as they move. Keep in the mind, the best part about having two videographers at a minimum is that they will be ready to capture both the bride and groom's reactions during the wedding processional, vow reading, ring exchange, and any other special traditions you are planning. They will also be on the lookout for reactions of your immediate family members like parents, grandparents, siblings, and bridal party.
Please note this time block varies for most weddings. Your ceremony will completely depend on what kind of wedding ceremony you are having. Non-religious ceremonies typically last around 15-20 minutes, while religious-based ceremonies can last from 30 minutes to 1 hour and longer.
6:30 p.m. Wedding Ceremony Ends, Family Portraits
& Cocktail Hour Begin
After capturing your wedding ceremony vows and recessional, one of your wedding videographers will head immediately to your reception site to capture details, finalize lighting & live feed if applicable, as well as finalize audio needs to capture your wedding toasts and speeches by loved ones while the other videographer grabs a quick shot of your family members right before family portraits begin. Afterward, the videographer will join the other wedding videographer to prepare for your grand entrance.
Please note, you'll want to make sure that you designate a family member or friend to help rally the troops and ensure your wedding videographer and photographer know who everyone is. Also, if for whatever reason you don't opt for a first look before your wedding ceremony, this is also when you would traditionally take your wedding portraits together, as well as family portraits and portraits with the entire bridal party.
7:00 p.m. Golden Hour Sunset Bride & Groom Newlywed Portraits
During this time your wedding videographer will work with your wedding photographer to capture beautiful romantic shots of the bride and groom at sunset. This time will vary depending on the time of year, but your wedding videographer and photographer will know what time this should take place otherwise. In winter months, golden hour can be as early as 4 pm!
Time and weather permitting, your wedding videographer may also try to fly the drone again to capture footage of you from a birdseye view walking into the sunset or strolling at the most beautiful vantage point at your wedding venue.
7:15 p.m. Guest Seating Begins
During this time your both of your wedding videographers are in place and ready to capture your grand entrance! From this point forward your wedding videographers are capturing everything in a documentary-style manner as everything happens.
7:30 p.m. Grand Entrance and First Dance
What kind of grand entrance represents you as a couple? Will your bridal party do summersaults or dance to the tune of "Thriller" with white sequin gloves? Or will you start with a cultural tradition like the zaffa surrounded by friends and family dancing to bendir drums and men carrying flaming swords? Your grand entrance to your wedding reception should represent you as a couple, and your wedding videographers will be ready to capture it!
7:35 - 7:45 p.m. Welcome Toasts or Blessings
These are of course optional, but a great way to kick off festivities before dinner is served. Some couples welcome guests themselves, while others have parents welcome guests, and their officiant or another family member performs a blessing. Again, this all depends on the culture and traditions of the families! For a guide to creating the most ideal timeline for a cultural wedding, stay tuned for future blog posts :).
7:45 - 8:30 p.m. Dinner is Served
When dinner is served, your wedding venue should already have plates prepared for your wedding videographers and photographers. During this time our video cameras are not recording and we resume post for filming right after the meal.
For dinner we always recommend for couples to consider a private dinner. It's a great time to connect with your new spouse, decompress, and re-energize for the rest of your wedding reception!
8:30 - 8:40 p.m. Bridal Party Toasts
While dinner is wrapping up, this is a great time to have your maid of honor and best man toast to the bride and groom! Your wedding videographers will have already planned for these speeches and will be ready to film them and capture audio during this time. Your wedding videographers will also likely have suggestions as to where they should stand and remind your speech-givers to keep their microphones close to their mouths so that we can capture the best audio possible for your wedding film.
8:40 - 8:50 p.m. Parent & Dances with Loved Ones
The optional parent dances are such a sweet memory to capture, as well as dances with loved ones if preferred by the bride and groom in place of the parent dances. Your wedding day is completely yours, so this time can easily be replaced with other traditions that are special to the bride and groom.
9:30 - 9:45 p.m. Cake Cutting, Bride & Groom Toast, Bouquet Toss & Garter Toss
Again, these are the typical traditions of most weddings, but traditions vary and we have filmed everything from dance performances by the bride, groom, or family members, wedding singers, live band performances, traditional teas, and more. The sky is the limit to what you can plan throughout your wedding reception!
9:45 p.m. Open Dance Floor
Get ready to dance the night away! As your grand exit approaches, one of your wedding videographers will head outside to your grand exit site to set up lighting and capture your departure care arriving at your wedding venue if possible.
Or if dancing is not an option at your wedding for cultural or religious reasons, this is a great time to incorporate more speeches by loved ones, vocal and live musical performances or games that you and your guests can enjoy.
Before the end of the night prior to your last dance (if applicable), your wedding videographer will retrieve audio equipment and mics from the bride and groom.
11:20 p.m. Bride & Groom Last Dance
While one of your wedding videographers captures your last dance, the second videographer will head outside to help prepare guests for your grand exit. If throwing confetti or lighting sparklers, it's extremely important to ensure your guests wait to light sparklers or release confetti per the instruction of your wedding videographers and photographers to ensure the moment is captured in the best way possible!
11:30 p.m. Grand Exit
After dancing the night away and celebrating the best day of your life with the love of your life, it's time to start your forever adventure and head for your getaway car, boat, helicopter, or horse and carriage. Opting for fireworks under the stars before your getaway? Your getaway can be as grand or simplistic as you desire and your wedding videographers will be there to capture it until the very last precious moment so you can remember your wedding day forever!
After your fairytale wedding draws to a close, your wedding videographers will then tear down their equipment and depart your wedding venue. From this point forward your wedding videographers will keep you posted on the delivery of your wedding film (or films depending on all of the ways you decide you'd like to remember your wedding day). Whether you opt for a 24-hour Sneak Peek Movie Trailer, Live Feed Video, a Wedding Highlight Film, Ceremony Documentary Film, or Full Day Documentary Feature Film, all of the styles of films we offer are a great way to relive your wedding day for the rest of your lives as well as reminisce on all of the amazing years you have spent building your lives together!
All of that to say, I sincerely hope you found this blog helpful throughout your wedding planning process! We are here to be a resource to all of the couples that reach out to us. Again, please stay tuned for future blogs related to variations in wedding timelines where we will discuss cultural wedding timelines, rehearsal dinner timelines, capturing footage at separate wedding prep, ceremony, reception venue sites, and more!