Gloucestershire Wedding Photography: How To Plan and Display Your Wedding Day Timeline

June 20, 2020

Gloucestershire Wedding Photography: How To Plan and Display Your Wedding Day Timeline

If there is one thing I know after many years of shooting weddings, is that people like to know when they are going to eat! Once you have FINALLY finished viewing venues, meeting and booking suppliers, planning your colours, theme, flowers, it is now time to actually plan your wedding day.

How is it going to run? Are you having a traditional wedding day or are you flipping things on their head? Whatever you do, if you’re having canapés, ice cream, pizza’s, hog roast, BBQ or a sit down meal, get that info on a sign so everyone knows what to expect.

Today, I am going to show you the most popular ways to display your wedding timeline, and also some more creative and imaginative ways I have seen in my time as a Gloucestershire wedding photographer in and around The Cotswolds.

After that, I am running through the typical wedding day with a couple of Do’s and Don’t’s! So pay attention…there is a quiz at the end. No, im just joking lol. Watch out for marked OOBA-TOP TIPS.

How To Display Your Order Of The Day

The most popular way to display a wedding timeline is the trusty pallet. It is perfect, stripped back with painted words on it for a rustic barn wedding. It is weather proof and also heavy enough to withstand a good breeze, downpour or anything else that the good ol British Weather likes to throw at us.

Here, some of the pallets have been poshed up, with laser cut wording, or separated out onto a signpost that goes in the ground.

If you were to do a little Googling, you will find the most amazing artists that can create your timeline on clear perspex, mirrors or glass for the sophisticated look.

Connie and Rob used images from their engagement shoot to create a pamphlet that included their timeline, credits to all their suppliers and a gallery of pictures of their time together, This was a beautifully personal touch and a lovely keepsake for family and friends,

Sam and Matt had a ‘Newspaper’ made up with their timeline, some pictures and some games on the reverse for the kids, and grown up kids.

Getting Ready Time

For ‘getting ready’ photos, I like to arrive with you around 2 hours before the ceremony. This is the point where all the good stuff starts, I don’t know many ladies that want completely bare faced pictures taken.

I always say that the best makeup and hair photos tend to be the finishing touches. Eye makeup, lipstick, hair accessories and veil going in, then actually getting in that dress.

Most of the lads aren’t super fussed about ‘prep’ photos. If you are in the same venue getting ready, it’s nice to grab some snaps of you and the boys doing cufflinks and buttonholes etc. If not, I’m happy to find you in the bar having that shot of ‘Dutch Courage’ 😂

Travelling Time to Ceremony…

If you need to travel from one venue to another to get to your ceremony, make sure you allow time for the car to arrive, and don’t underestimate how long it takes for flapping bridesmaids, kids and parents to organise themselves! This is when I swiftly remove myself from the chaos and try to beat you to the venue to get photos of you arriving.

It is a Church Service, Civil Ceremony or Celebration?

Different ceremonies are different lengths. For a Church of England ceremony, allow a good hour. A Catholic Wedding Service, tends to be a little longer, maybe ninety minutes or so.

We always allow thirty minutes for a civil ceremony but they average fifteen to twenty minutes dependant on readings and music.

A ‘celebration’ service is one taken by a Celebrant. You will have already done all the legal marriage requirements and paperwork at the registry office and are now having a celebration your way with your friends and family. I predict a massive rise in popularity for this kind of wedding in the aftermath of Covid19, since you can have these ceremonies outdoors and absolutely anywhere you want.

To talk to a celebrant have a word with my pals Pippa or Justine. They’re lush!

Drinks Reception

This is where you finally get to relax! You can hug (hug?! Remember those?!) all your guests, accept all the compliments on how amazing you look and get a glass of chilled bubbly.

OOBA-TOP TIP: I do highly recommend serving canapés at this stage. It’s usually after lunchtime and most people will not have eaten since breakfast on the way to a wedding. Also, if you are serving alcohol, lining those stomachs is just plain sensible 😂

Garden games, live musicians, magicians and kiddie entertainment are all fab for this portion of the wedding day.

Photo Time

Uh oh! Its the dreaded photos!

OOBA-TOP TIP!!! Give a print out of your wedding groups photo list to myself AND a key sensible (ish) person. Whilst I can whizz through the formals pretty quickly, it is much easier if someone that knows the majority of the guest can be rounding people up.

Keep your groups list to under fifteen groupings. People get bored very quickly and start wandering off. It’s like herding cats!

I make this section as fun, and swift as possible so that you can get back to chatting to your guests. Allow thirty minutes total for this for a wedding of more than seventy five guests. For smaller weddings, this will take less than fifteen minutes….my way.


Confetti Time is one of my absolute favourite parts of the wedding day. You can use traditional confetti, dried flowers, autumn leaves or rice! Whatever tickles your fancy. It is a perfect time for lovely candid smiles, laughs and reaction pictures. It also keeps the kids busy after as they love to collect it all! Honest! Free child entertainment!

Bride and Groom Photos

No matter what the weather, I will always take you off at this stage for about fifteen minutes to grab some pictures of you both. Although we all know the sunset is the time we really want, the weather may not perform later. Also, we can get these pictures whilst you are both still groomed to perfection without a hair out of place and before many beverages are drunk. Then you can relax and head into your wedding breakfast.

The Wedding Breakfast

“A wedding breakfast is a feast given to the newlyweds and guests after the wedding, making it equivalent to a wedding reception that serves a meal.”

Food time!! Whilst you have been off with me having your photos taken, your venue will have been busy, chivvying your guests to take their seats and await your arrival. When you hear the words “Please be upstanding to welcome in the happy couple” this is when you walk in to cheers, applause, whoops and merriment.

**Cue groom tripping on the train of the wedding dress. All photographers are nodding right now. Sorry guys, its a rite of passage 😂


Love ’em or hate ’em, they are the time for tears, tantrums and tiaras. I get awesome reaction shots of laughter, embarrassment, emotion and fun.

I don’t recommend any more than ten minutes per speech otherwise your guests will get bored. The traditional order is father of the bride, groom and finishing with the best man – and they usually follow one after the other.

OOBA-TOP TIP: Don’t be tempted to stagger your speeches between each course. It plays havoc with the kitchen who are trying to cater your meals to a lot of guests and speeches have a habit of over running. Stick to either all before the meal or all after the meal.

A three course meal is usually allocated two and a half hours including speeches.

The Cutting of The Wedding Cake

There are many traditions around cutting of the wedding cake, and they will require a full blog all to themselves. But to slot this into your timeline, I recommend doing this either straight after speeches, before your guests start milling, OR wait and save it for the evening guests to enjoy. Many venues will set the cake up in the centre of the dance floor and it is a great way to gather everyone around for the photo opportunity and then keep them there to go straight into your first dance as your caterer swiftly moves the cake to the kitchen to be cut for the evening buffet.

Golden Hour Photos

I mentioned earlier that we always keep our fingers crossed for a yummy sunset. For winter wedding this may be at 3.30pm and it the summer this may be as late as 10pm. If this is important to you, make sure you let me know so we can prioritise this time into your schedule.

Again, if the light is in the right place, this won’t take long at all! Another ten minutes of your time, and its a lovely breather for you both before the onslaught of the evening.

A wedding is a marathon, not a sprint folks!!

Sparklers & Fireworks

Just like the sunsets, sparklers and fireworks timing will be very much dependant on the time of year you are getting married and can be between 4pm and 11pm!

First Dance

This is the last official part of the wedding day. Time to kick off the shoes, hit the dance floor with your new husband/wife and either do the sway, a lively dance or whatever you feel like as a couple.

OOBA-TOP TIP: Give your photographer at least thirty seconds of just you two before inviting your guests to join you on the dance floor. This ensures you get those romantic first dance moments captured.

I tend to shoot the first dance, then about three to four songs after. What tends to happen then is that people clear off for a bit to mingle, chat at the bar, and return to the dance floor much late and much drunker.

At this stage I bid you good night and make my way home to start organising your sneak peeks for you to see before you go to sleep!

Evening Food

Pizza and Hog Roast are still the most popular evening food at the moment. Good for lining that stomach and satisfying appetites!


You’ll want to make it clear on your invites when guests are expected to leave. Have a ‘carriages at’ time, and make sure there’s a last call at the bar and last song from the DJ. Your suppliers and the venue staff will want to know when they can start setting down.

I hope you found this blog “How To Plan and Display Your Wedding Day Timeline” a useful and fun read! If you would like to see pictures from a couple of weddings from start to finish, you might like to read these blogs here…

Kim and Randall’s Summer Wedding at The Barn at Upcote


Rosie and Matt’s Winter Wedding at Cripps Stone Barn Wedding Venue

To talk to me about photographing your Wedding Day, please pop on over to my contact page and lets get that ball rolling!

I am extremely transparent with my pricing and package, you can see them right here on my PRICING page.

Speak soon!

Oobalove, Sheryl xx

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