Wedding Day Timeline

Hi! So this is some information that will help make your Pittsburgh Wedding Day go as smooth as possible and allow everyone to relax and enjoy the day instead of having to rush around. Everything on this page is just a template and we can definitely customize and move things around. And if the day is a little more tight and we can’t stick to the recommendations, we can still make it work and things will go great but we will have to be very on the ball and prompt to make sure we get everything in :)

Hair and Makeup

Hair and Makeup will need to be done 1 Hour and 30 Minutes before we plan to leave for the ceremony. So if the Ceremony is to start at 2:00 PM, and it takes 30 minutes to drive to the ceremony from the getting ready location, we will need Hair and Makeup to be finished by 11:30 AM (we would be leaving for the ceremony at 1:00 PM to be there 30 minutes before start). The reason we need Hair and Makeup to finish that much earlier is because we wont start taking photos of people until most everyones hair and makeup is done. Also make sure to factor in that you will need to arrive to the ceremony at least 30 minutes before it starts so arriving guests won’t see you. (If doing a first look, hair and makeup only needs to end 1 Hour before the scheduled time for the first look because we will be doing portraits of Bride/Bridesmaids after the first look :)

Example for a 2:00 PM ceremony with a 30 minute drive from getting ready to ceremony location:

  • 11:30 AM: Hair and Makeup to finish

  • 11:30 - 12:00 PM: Finish getting ready/Robe Picture

  • 12:00 - 12:30 PM: Bridesmaids/Mother of Bride/Bride get dressed

  • 12:30 - 1:00 PM: Portraits of Bride/Bridesmaids (if couple gives each other gifts we will also open the gift in this time)

  • 1:00 - 1:30 PM: Leave and travel to Ceremony

  • 1:30 PM: Have bride hidden away from arrive guests at Ceremony location

  • 2:00 - 3:00 PM: Ceremony


When we arrive, the first thing we will do is your detail shots. So think pictures of the dress, shoes, veil, jewelry, wedding bands/engagement rings, flowers (either a bouquet or some extra pieces of flowers)invitation suite (Invitation, Save the Dates, RSVP’s, etc). Try and have all of these things together and in one place as that is what we will start with when we first arrive.

First Look

A first look is totally optional and not necessary at all. I would say its a 50/50 split with my couples with half doing a first look and half choosing not to. Some of the main reasons couples choose to do a first look is because it is a very special moment to be able to see each other a little early on wedding day. At a first look, it is just you two with no one else around (we will be taking the pictures with long lenses), so you two can have your own special moment and be able to talk to each other and take it all in. After that, we then also have a lot more time to go and do pictures/hangout with your full bridal party and each other instead of everything being separated for most of the day. We are also able to go to more locations as there is always time before the ceremony but after the ceremony we have to stick to limited time so guests aren’t waiting too long at the reception. We also are able to get most of the photos done before the ceremony so after the ceremony you are free to go to cocktail hour and have fun instead of doing photos.


  • 11:30 AM: Hair and Makeup to finish

  • 11:30 - 12:00 PM: Finish getting ready/Robe Picture

  • 12:00 - 12:30 PM: Bridesmaids/Mother of Bride/Bride get dressed

  • 12:40 PM: Be at first look

  • 12:40 - 1:40 PM: First look, full bridal party portraits, photos of bridesmaids, photos of groomsmen, photos of bride and groom

  • 1:40 PM: Either travel to next location or head to ceremony


One of our favorite times of the day! Portraits is when we can really have some fun and capture some more of the emotions and excitement of the day. At the minimum we will need 1 Hour per location you want to do photos. So if you want to do one location then all we need to set aside is 1 hour in the timeline. At the first location we will start and do photos of the whole bridal party, then photos of the bridesmaids/bride as a group, and then individuals of each bridesmaid with the bride, and then portraits of just the bride. We will also need to do photos of the groomsmen/groom as a group, and then individuals of each groomsmen with the groom, and then portraits of just the groom. If we were able to do photos of the groomsmen and bridesmaids before the ceremony, then we can possibly skip out on this part.

After the group photos, we will let everyone else go on the bus or wait on the side as this will be the first chance to get some photos of the bride and groom together. Portraits of the bride and groom together will normally take around 20-30 minutes.

If we end up going to a second location, since we already got photos of the full bridal party we will normally either have them stay on the bus/transportation or if we are on location allow them to go inside the venue to cocktail hour or the bridal suite. For the second location it will just be the bride and groom and we will normally only need 15-20 minutes at this location.

The biggest thing to factor in during portrait time is travel time. Travel time to and from a location will normally eat up most of the time so make sure you factor it in. The best way to estimate travel time is to go on google maps and see how long they estimate it will take to drive to each location. And if you are having your ceremony and reception at the same place and there will be a strict 1 hour cocktail hour between ceremony and reception, we will most likely need to stay on site to do portraits. One tip that we have found helps is that if you can often plan to have cocktail hour instead be cocktail hour and 15 minutes or cocktail hour and 30 minutes and no guests will mind as they can talk, eat, and drink and the extra 15-30 minutes will allow us much more time to get our photos and also allow you to get back in time to relax, get a bite to eat, and freshen up before being introduced at the reception.

I will provide two example below. One will be for a wedding where the ceremony and reception are at the same location and we only have a cocktail hour to work with (we will try and make it cocktail hour and 15 minutes). The second will be where we the ceremony and reception venues are in different places and there will be some travel to a different location.

Example 1 with ceremony and reception at same location and portraits also happening at same location:

  • 3:00 - 4:00 PM: Ceremony

  • 4:00 - 4:20 PM: Family/Bridal Party Portraits at Altar

  • 4:20 - 4:40 PM: Photos of Bridal Party

  • 4:40 - 5:00 PM: Portraits of Bride and Groom

  • 5:00 PM: Be back to Reception for introductions and relax/get a bite to eat/drink

  • 5:15 PM: Introductions to Reception

Example 2 with traveling to different location for portraits:

  • 3:00 - 4:00 PM: Ceremony

  • 4:00 - 4:20 PM: Family/Bridal Party Portraits

  • 4:20 - 4:50 PM: Travel to first location

  • 4:50 - 5:20 PM: Photos of Bridal Party

  • 5:20 - 5:50 PM: Photos of Bride and Groom

  • 5:50 - 6:20 PM: Travel to Reception

  • 6:20 - 6:45 PM: Relax in Bridal Suite with food and drinks

  • 6:45 PM: Introductions to Reception


Once you are introduced at the reception, it is time for some fun and celebration! After introductions, we always recommend to go straight into cutting the cake and then the first dance. We recommend this because when you are introduced, everyone is excited and already focused on you, so its a perfect segue right into the DJ announcing you will now be cutting the cake (and this also allows the caters to take the cake in the back and have it cut and ready to serve once dinner is over). Right after the cutting of the cake you can go right into your first dance with everyones attention already on the dance floor (if you do the dance after dinner sometimes it is hard to get everyone to quiet down again and often times people will miss the dance as they have stepped outside after dinner or went to the bar).

After the cake cutting, its a great time to do a welcome speech and then toasts from the best man/maid of honor. After that we can go right to the blessing/dinner. Another option is to do speeches/toasts during dinner. After dinner we normally do the parent dances and on at the end of the last parent dance the DJ can tell the guests to come join you on the dance floor and then the partying begins!

One thing that we request before the reception is to be able to have 15-30 minutes to take photos of the Reception space fully decorated BEFORE any of the guests are let in. We make sure to do this because a lot of times the bride and groom never get to see what the room looks like before all of the guests are already inside and seated. If you would like, we can also have you there during this time so you can have a “first look” of your reception space. If you let your venue know this they will make sure to have things done in time as they also like to be able to get the awesome pictures showing off all the awesome details of the reception space.


  • 6:00 - 6:30 PM: Reception space to be fully decorated and guests kept out for photos

  • 6:30 PM: Guests are let into Reception area

  • 6:45 - 7:00 PM: Introductions to cake cutting to first dance

  • 7:0 - 7:15 PM: Welcome Speech, best man/maid of honor toasts , blessing

  • 7:15 - 8:15 PM: Dinner

  • 8:15 - 8:30 PM: Parent Dances

  • 8:30 PM: Dance floor open to guests and its time to PARTY!!!


So that basically covers most of the day. Once again this is just a template and every wedding is different, but hopefully this can give you a better idea of how to plan the day out and schedule things. I normally send out a questionnaire around 6 weeks before the wedding that you can fill out and from that we can make the official timeline, but with this guide hopefully you can have a better idea of how you will want to schedule the day. Any questions just let me know and if you would like the questionnaire earlier to do the timeline just let me know :)

- Adam