How to Schedule a Wedding

If you want to do your best work as a wedding photographer, you need to set yourself up for success, which means advocating for yourself and making sure you have the things you need, to product your very best work. So much of this is about time, and if you’ve been photographing weddings for awhile, you know what a precious resource that is, that you NEVER have enough of and ALWAYS have way less of it than you had planned on. It’s what makes weddings drive you crazy, but also a fun challenge at the same time.

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I’m going to run you through how I schedule a wedding the time that I allow for each item throughout the day, and why I do what I do. If you want to download the exact templates I use for scheduling weddings (and my shot list template too, because why not), click here.

So before you can ever start scheduling a wedding, there’s some information you need to know. So ask your clients the following questions:

  1. Do you want to see each other before the ceremony? (I always advise this, 95% of my couples do this).

  2. Do you want to get couple/family/wedding party photos done before the ceremony?

  3. What time is your ceremony?


Once you have this information you can start scheduling out your clients wedding day. I start from the ceremony time and work backwards on timing. I’ll run through both types of wedding schedules with you so you can see how each schedules out.

Wedding with First Look Pre-Ceremony +

Getting Ready | 30-60 Minutes

First Look | 15 Minutes

Couples Photos | 45 Minutes

Wedding Party Photos | 45 Minutes

Family Photos | 30 Minutes

Pre-Ceremony Break | 30 - 45 Minutes

Ceremony | 30 Minutes

Sunset Photos | 15 Minutes

Wedding Without First Look Pre-Ceremony +

Getting Ready | 30-60 Minutes

One Side of the Wedding Party | 30 Minutes

Other Side of the Wedding Party | 30 Minutes

Pre-Ceremony Break | 30-45 Minutes

Ceremony | 30 Minutes

Family + Wedding Party | 30 Minutes

Couples Photos | 45 Minutes

Sunset Photos | 15 Minutes


I work up schedules with potential wedding clients in meetings, even before they’ve booked me. I see it as a way to serve them and give them value, and then I send them a beautiful and branded schedule as a pdf, which does two things, it sets me apart from the competition who probably doesn’t do that, and it establishes me as an expert and someone who will help them throughout their wedding day. The one thing I would caution is make sure that you communicate with the coordinator on any wedding about their schedule and flex your schedule around their schedule.


A few notes on this way of scheduling weddings. I schedule weddings with my clients experience in mind first and foremost, so the goal is to give them an INCREDIBLE experience, and I absolutely the experience they have on their wedding day shows up in their photographs in every way.

The above ways of scheduling a wedding, include buffer time, it’s really normal for weddings to run 15-30 minutes behind schedule and this happens 99% of the time (seriously). So this schedule, has the space for a wedding to run 30 minutes behind schedule and still get everything done. I let my clients know this, both that there’s wiggle room in the schedule and that I want them to have an incredible experience, so I schedule the day around their values and what they want from their wedding photographs.

Click here if you want to download the exact templates that I use and email to clients for creating a schedule.

A Couple of Resources that Help Me Schedule Weddings

Here’s also the website that I use to figure out the sunset time, and it’s great if you’re a nerdy photographer (like me) as it tells you the sunset specific to the town that you’re in.

Sunrise/Sunset Calculator | (Just change Oregon, out for your state)

Sun Seeker App | Live Visual of the Path of the Sun at Your Exact Location, I use this to see exactly what time the sun will set at my location: Sun Seeker App

Here’s a video I made explaining exactly how I schedule a wedding, I made it while riding my mountain bike, so it’s a bit “interesting”, enjoy! Email me at with any questions

Email me at if you have any questions or if I can help out in anyway, or hit me up on social. Hope you’re having a great day and happy scheduling!