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How to Create a Wedding Day Timeline

Creating a wedding timeline can be tricky, but it is absolutely important to making a wedding day run smoothly.  Leaving enough time for each set of portraits is vital to staying on time and being able to enjoy you day.  The best way to ensure a perfect timeline and to make sure everything runs on schedule is to hire a planner to do so.  A planner knows the location and the light.  When it comes to best pictures, here are a few guidelines to keep in mind:


  • Sunset is the most important thing to consider when planning the big day!  Even if your ceremony is indoors, you will want to take just married portraits in the dreamy sunset light.  Most brides opt to have a near sunset ceremony, then sunset just married portraits.  Others want to enjoy a sunset first dance.  Whatever your choice, figure out the sunset on the date, and work from there.  

  • If sunset is at 6pm, plan for the ceremony at 4:30pm.  Professionals around Zion say that ceremonies almost always start 20 minutes late unless you are vigilant in getting hair and makeup done in time.  

  • Photos on your big day are invaluable!  Your big day will be an absolute blur, and photos help bring those details into focus.  You will want to relive those moments over and over.  Whether it's a big wedding or small elopement with family, it is important to consider how much time you will actually need.  Here is a guide to get you started.

Getting Ready Portraits- 45 Minutes

HOW TO PLAN A WEDDING ELOPEMENY ZION BRIDES GROOM 15
HOW TO PLAN A WEDDING ELOPEMENY ZION BRIDES GROOM 1 DECOR

Bride and Groom Portraits- 30 Minutes

HOW TO PLAN A WEDDING ELOPEMENY ZION BRIDES GROOM 15


Bride and Groom Portraits- 30 Minutes

HOW TO PLAN A WEDDING ELOPEMENY ZION BRIDES GROOM 1 DECOR


Bride With Bridesmaids- 15 Minutes

HOW TO PLAN A WEDDING ELOPEMENY ZION BRIDES GROOM 1 BRIDESMAIDS

You select your bridesmaids carefully.  You pick women who have been with you through it all, women who are invaluably important to you.  This time allows you to commemorate that!  This gives you time for dreamy, beautiful portraits and the fun shots with your ladies!  Make sure your photographer also grabs individual portraits of you with each special lady (for those birthdays and special shout outs on your social media)!

Groom With Groomsmen- 15 Minutes

HOW TO PLAN A WEDDING ELOPEMENY ZION BRIDES GROOM 1 DECOR

All the pros agree: your guy's squad will not be super excited for picture time.  A great photographer (like these) can make these photos a lot more fun for them and help add some cool shots for the day!

Full Bridal Party- 15 Minutes

HOW TO PLAN A WEDDING ELOPEMENY ZION BRIDES GROOM 15

Full bridal party photos are an absolute must!  15 minutes should give an experienced photographer enough time to mix it up and make it fun!

Immediate Family Photos- 30 Minutes

HOW TO PLAN A WEDDING ELOPEMENY ZION BRIDES GROOM 15

Family photos often involve little ones and those a little further on in years, and hopefully your photographer plans enough time to keep them happy.  These are important, and usually the ones you put on social media later (and on the wall, of course).

Ceremony- 30 Minutes

HOW TO PLAN A WEDDING ELOPEMENY ZION BRIDES GROOM 15

The big moment is finally here!  Planners find the "I dos" take about 30 minutes to make planning easy.

Husband and Wife Sunset Portraits- 30 Minutes

HOW TO PLAN A WEDDING ELOPEMENY ZION BRIDES GROOM 1 DECOR

Pros around Zion recommend planning your ceremony for 1 hour before sunset, so your photographer(s) can whisk you away for stunning bride and groom portraits just before sunset when it is glowy and dreamy.  At that point, the big moment is over, and you and your groom can relax and enjoy one another.  This is when the "I am married" moment kicks in.

Reception Décor- 30 Minutes

HOW TO PLAN A WEDDING ELOPEMENY ZION BRIDES GROOM 1 DECOR

This takes months of hard work to put together, you'll definitely want your photographer to capture it all!

Reception- 120 Minutes

HOW TO PLAN A WEDDING ELOPEMENY ZION BRIDES GROOM 1 SPARKLER EXIT

The first dance, the cake cutting, traditions, and the dancing into the night--you'll want it all!  Most receptions are scheduled for 2 hours and allows enough time for a beautiful exit in the last 30 minutes.

This will give you an idea of where to start when purchasing wedding time. 

To get help putting one together and planning your big day, email a pro!

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Our online inspo publication, started in 2018, has helped countless brides find everything from how to build their dream wedding to the vendors that can make it all possible.  We've achieved our mission of becoming the top site for adventure couples and destination brides and want you to see why!  Our staff has years of experience in the industry and loves showcasing the work of the talented members of the Southern Utah wedding collective.  Need Inspo?  Need Tips?  Need Vendors?  Let Zion Brides be your guide...

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