THE MJS EXPERIENCE

SAMPLE WEDDING DAY TIMELINES

The timeline. Oh the dreaded timeline! It’s one of those things that makes people sweat just by hearing or seeing the word. Fear not, for we have helped so many couples create custom timelines that we can easily make one that works specifically for you!

What you will see below are general timeframes around the different parts of the day. We’ll break the timelines out for those weddings that have a First Look and those that are seeing each other for the first time in a Traditional Ceremony.

WEDDINGS WITH A FIRST LOOK

Weddings with a first look allow us to get all the photographs out of the way before the ceremony. Some couples opt for this so they can enjoy the remaining part of the wedding day without the stresses that come with formal photographs (if you want to read all about portrait sessions, read the portrait session section of the MJS Experience).

In terms of timing, the day would run as this: PREPS > FIRST LOOK > PORTRAIT SESSIONS > CEREMONY > COCKTAIL HOUR > RECEPTION. Now we’ll go through a sample timeline to show actual lengths of time for each part of the day.

1 Hour

DRESS ON

The moments surrounding you getting into your dress plus a card reading, first look with your Dad/Bridesmaids will take about 30 minutes.
30 min

MISC TIME

It’s smart to plan for 15 minutes of miscellaneous time – this includes bathroom breaks, small chit chats with friends and parents, and getting yourself out of your room. It might seem crazy but you’ll soon realize that these little 15 minute increments add up. It’s smart to  include them in the timeline and if you don’t need it, you’ll never go wrong with more time on your side.
15 min
1 Hour

BRIDAL PARTY PORTRAITS

After the hour of b&g portraits, we’ll add the bridal party to the fun. It’s a smart idea to tell family members who will be in the family formals to arrive at this time. This gives those family members who are notoriously late to arrive on time (without them even knowing).
30 Min

FAMILY PORTRAITS

We’ll get every combination of family portraits you want captured written down so there’s no possibility of forgetting anyone. We allocate 30 minutes in this sample timeline but know that if you have a large family, this may have to be adjusted.
30 Min

CEREMONY PREP/RELAX

If you’re adding up total time spent so far, we’re at three hours and forty-five minutes (1.5 for preps, 2 for portraits). Now’s a great time for you to relax and regroup before the ceremony. The photo and video teams will use this time to get prepped for the biggest part of the day.
30 Min
30 Min
1 Hour
4 Hours
Total Time: 9 Hours 45 Minutes

When everything is at the same location, we’ve been able to capture all major moments described above in as little as 8 hours. 8 hours is the minimum number of coverage hours we’d recommend as that timing does not include much buffer for delays or mishaps. It’s our recommendation to add an hour or two.

WEDDINGS WITH A TRADITIONAL CEREMONY

Seeing your soon-to-be spouse for the first time at the ceremony is something special. The anticipation of the moment coupled with the energy of a room full of your closest friends and family makes the traditional way of seeing each other still a very popular option. This does come at a price though, which we discuss at length in the Ceremony section of the MJS Experience.

In terms of timing, the day would run as this: PREPS > CEREMONY > PORTRAIT SESSIONS > COCKTAIL HOUR > RECEPTION. Now we’ll go through a sample timeline to show actual lengths of time for each part of the day.

1 Hour

DRESS ON

The moments surrounding you getting into your dress plus a card reading, first look with your Dad/Bridesmaids will take about 30 minutes.
30 min

PORTRAITS

It’s our goal to get as many formal photographs completed before the ceremony as possible. These include you with your bridesmaids/groomsmen, solo shots of you, and any other family members present. The cinema team would leave during this time as they need 30 minutes of prep time before the ceremony starts.
45 min

TRAVEL TO CEREMONY

When calculating travel times, use Google maps to get approximate times and then add 10-15 minutes. This accounts for possible traffic delays as well as the slower travel speeds since most times limos and party buses can’t travel as fast as your normal car.
25 min
1 Hour

SPECIAL EXIT

After you are pronounced married for life, some couples opt to do what’s called a “Special Exit.” Getting everyone out of the ceremony, handing out the streamers or bubbles, and exiting can take about 20 minutes depending on how many people are at the ceremony. It is our recommendation NOT to have a receiving line as they typically take 30-45 minutes to complete.
20 min

TRAVEL TO VENUE

Some couples choose to get family formals out of the way at the ceremony location, others opt to get to the venue and do all formal photographs there. We prefer natural light photographs whenever possible (they typically look better than the artificial lighting in most churches) so if it were up to us, we’d head straight to the venue (or wherever the formals will take place).
20 min

FAMILY PORTRAITS

We’ll get every combination of family portraits you want captured written down so there’s no possibility of forgetting anyone. We allocate 30 minutes in this sample timeline but know that if you have a large family, this may have to be adjusted.
30 Min

BRIDAL PARTY PORTRAITS

After family portraits we’ll get all the bridal party together and take care of them.
15 Min

B&G PORTRAITS

Whatever time is remaining after family portraits and bridal party portraits will be left for Bride & Groom portraits. Sometimes when there’s a large enough gap between the ceremony concluding and the cocktail hour, we’ll be left with a good chunk of time. Sometimes though, when we have to complete everything during the cocktail hour, we’re left with 10-15 minutes for bride and groom portraits. This is one of the biggest negatives of seeing each other in a traditional ceremony setting.
15 Min
4 Hours
Total Time: 10 Hours

When you are seeing each other in a traditional ceremony setting, there are many variables that affect timing. Our past experiences tell us that 10 hours or more are needed depending on the distances between the different locations.

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