Why you should have a shot list and a wedding timeline
Updated: May 2
A wedding day goes by so fast and there is always so much going on! Anything you can do to make sure the process goes as smooth as possible is always a good idea. This is why I always recommend to my clients to have a timeline and a shot list.
Why is this important? Having a timeline ensures the day goes smoothly and stays on track. Especially if you don't have a wedding planner on site it makes a huge difference! Same goes for a shot list. Family and friend photos can pretty easily get out of control if you don't have an organized list ready to go.
Making your shot list
The two main benefits of having a shot list are to ensure that the family and friend photos are done on schedule, and perhaps most important, making sure you don't forget to take a photo with someone special.
Depending on the size of your wedding, it can be pretty overwhelming to try and get the family and friends photos done in a timely manner. Chances are, these are done after the ceremony, so your guests are off socializing, maybe getting a drink or a snack, and therefore, they will likely be all over the place! Having a shot list ensures that your maid of honour or friend in charge of the shot list can easily collect everyone and bring them over to the photography location. He or she can also warn the people coming up to stay close, so they're around when it's their turn.
There's nothing worse than realizing the day after the wedding you forgot to get a portrait with your favourite aunt, or your roommate from college. Having a shot list makes sure you won't forgot to capture any of these moments!
The shot list can be as long or short as you want! Depending on the size of the wedding, some couples like to try and get a photo with every guest. If you have a very large wedding, perhaps only close relatives and close friends. Either way, make sure you do this in advance of the wedding to you have time to think about each combination that you want.
An important tip: make sure you write down first and last names, rather than "auntie" or "grandma", especially if you have a large family with more than one aunt or set of grandparents! This will really help out your "helper" to locate all the guests!
Creating your timeline
If you have a wedding planner, this is definitely something they will help with! If not, make sure to have one anyway. There is so much that goes on during a wedding day, and you will want to make sure you have enough time for it all. Most importantly, that you have time to enjoy it all!
So what's important to include? First, you should think about if you want to have a "first look" or a more traditional start where you don't see each other until the ceremony. Both options are wonderful, but it just depends on your personal preference.
For weddings that have a "first look", you will need to make sure to schedule some time to do your couple portraits before the ceremony. One of the benefits to having a first look is being able to enjoy that moment just the two of you. Make sure you have enough time to capture that in your photographs! Some couples also take their bridal party photos at this time as well, so say time later in the day after the ceremony.
After the ceremony, it is a good idea to take your family and friend photos. These often take quite some time, so it's good to get them done when all your guests are (hopefully) close by! This can help speed the process up.
A great time to take your couple photos, and your bridal party photos if you didn't take them after your first look, is during the apero when your guests are enjoying some drinks and snacks. It's important though to make sure you schedule enough time for you to enjoy the apero too. You probably spent a lot of time picking out the food and the drinks. Make sure you can enjoy it too!
If you or your guests plan to have some games later in the day, make sure to include this in the timeline. Then you make sure things stay on schedule, and your photographer is ready to capture any special moments or surprises!
Well - these were my tips for creating your wedding day timeline and shot list! I hope you found it helpful!
Wedding location: Zürich, Switzerland - Zivilstandsamt Stadt Zürich
Reception location: Gasthaus zum Rathaus