Wedding Day Timelines and How to Kill it!

Erica & Arie's cozy Philadelphia Art Museum Engagement Session captured by classic and creative eastern pennsylvania wedding photographer CSM Photography
Erica & Arie's cozy Philadelphia Art Museum Engagement Session captured by classic and creative eastern pennsylvania wedding photographer CSM Photography

Every couple has their own vision for their big day.  It is our biggest goal to help connect that to a realistic timeline so you can have the most enjoyable time while getting some stellar photographs.  Some folks may love more family photographs and have a more heartfelt approach to the day while others may be insanely excited and carry that through their lively energy all day.  No two stories are alike.


Time: 45-120 minutes

When: Morning

Where: Bridal Suite and Groom’s Suite

TIPS:  Here we are really a fly on the wall until we need to be.  Think of where the best lighting is, or what moments will come up.  We know locations but lets be real, we cannot script your laughter and friends that are the jokesters or criers, right?  These are some of the most emotional and fun parts of the day.  These will be almost entirely candid moments.

Individual Portraits

Time: 5-20 minutes

When: Morning

Where: Bridal Suite and Groom’s Suite

TIPS:  At the end of your preparations and you’re ready for your first look or to move to the ceremony, we time it so we have some time to photographs each of you before the craziness hits.  It is the “calm before the storm”.

First Look (Before the Ceremony)

Time: 5-10 Minutes

When: Morning / Early Afternoon

Where: Lobby, Garden and areas with well shaded natural light.  If time allows we can leave the site.

TIPS:  This is a second experience to your “first look” when you will see your one and forever partner come down the aisle.  The aisle will still be the “oh s*%$” moment.  In fact I cried both times at my wedding!  Couples who opt to do this will see most if not all of their cocktail hour(dependent on family portraits).  We will not only photograph the couples photographs but in certain circumstances we schedule the couples, bridal party as well as family to be photographed before the ceremony.  Think for a moment that there will be minimal photographic obligations after this so you will head to the ceremony and continue that high until late into the night!

Couples’ Portraits

Time: 30-45 Minutes

When: Before or After the Ceremony

Where: The venue, any garden, interior, you name it. You will be asked!

TIPS:  This is YOUR favorite place at the venue or surrounding area. Its time we kick back have fun and get some captivating portraits of the two of you before or after the ceremony. Depending on the time of year we may suggest you have your portraits be taken before all of the wedding party so that we insure you don’t have a million sweaty photos that you will want to view for a lifetime to come. Don’t worry about where to be or what to do, we got you! Just worry about having the time of your lives together.

Wedding Party Portraits

Time: 15-30 Minutes

When: Morning / Early Afternoon

Where:  Points of Interest.  Library, Garden, Local Park, off-site or on-site.

TIPS:  We start with classic traditional photos then get everyone moving and into more fun and creative photographs.  Those mantle style of photos are generally timeless but we know that the candid natured photos also tie the story together so well in the album we build for you.  In addition not only will we capture a sequence of large bridal party photographs but also individual with each one of your bridesmaids and groomsman but also just the bride and her ladies as and the groom with the men.


Time: 10-90 Minutes

When: Morning / Early Afternoon

Where:  Reception Hall or Church

TIPS:  We ask if you are utilizing a church if there is anything after your service.  At the end of the service we will photograph some nice portraits of you after the service.  In most cases a church has unique architectural details that may help us to capture some very interesting lighting.

Have a receiving line? Note that this specifically may take up to about 45 minutes depending on your guest count.

Sunset Session

Time: 10-20 Minutes

When: Evening (30-60 minutes before sunset.  60 if the venue hosts tall trees)

Where:  Places with amazing views or striking location. Open fields, bay side dock, etc.

TIPS:  This session is always inspiring and our favorite time to photograph you.  We will bring artificial lighting with us and blend the scene properly. We will want to split our allocated time based off when the sun is setting, with half before and half after.  Things that comes to mind when thinking about Sunset is the color of the sky and capturing amazing scenic views.

Reception Details and Venue

Time – 30 minutes
When – Early evening
Where – Reception site
Tips – Prior to your guests entering the reception room, please allow us access to the fully set up room. This is typically the only time to photograph the reception details without people, purses, etc throughout the room.

Couples Portraits – Twilight

Time – 15-30 minutes
When – Night Time
Where – Close to the venue.  Think architectural details or starry night!
Tips – During the reception is when this usually happens.  Before asking you to come out, we will already have tested what and where we will go!  This is a time where we will adventure outside around your reception hall.  What will we shoot?  Starry nights, champagne toasts, sparkler exits, you name it!

Beth & Joe's stately PA wedding at the Pen Ryn Estate by eastern Pennsylvania Photographer CSM Photography

Champagne Toast with your besties

Caitlin & Mike's heartfelt NJ Shore Wedding at Park Pavilion in Seaside Park, NJ captured by classic and creative eastern pennsylvania wedding photographer CSM Photography

Time – 15 minutes
When – Night Time? End of Night?
Where – Near to the venue.
Tips – This is a celebration after all, am I right?? Let’s get those best friends or most charismatic maniac that you’ve introduced into your life and bring them to this. We should have atleast a bottle or two of champagne to help capture this moment. It is epic. It is outrageous. It is amazing. This is the celebration of your lives together with your best people supporting you.


You wouldn't settle for the standard in a partner.
So, don't settle for the standard wedding photographer.