Wedding Day Timeline tips for stress-free celebrations

Written by Wedding Photographer in Perth - Ingrid Kjelling


Nobody wants their wedding day to be stressful or feel rushed. In fact, if you're anything like me, you believe that wedding days should be nothing but fun and enjoyable! This is why I've decided to share my best wedding day timeline tips in this guide! To help you start planning your own stress-free wedding day timeline, for your unique celebration.


Step 1: Make a list of all the things.

Before you can start putting together your wedding day timeline, you need to figure out what you want your wedding day to look like. I suggest sitting down together to write a list of all the stuff that you know for sure will happen during the day. Like the getting ready part, the ceremony, etc. You should also write a list of any meaningful traditions you want to include + all the other fun little things you want to be a part of your celebration.

I highly encourage you to think outside the box here. And only include things that really matter to you. These days wedding celebrations can take on whatever shape your heart desires. I mean, as long as you sign the official paperwork, there is no wrong way to do the rest!

So if you want to play board games, include a petting zoo, have a wedding piñata instead of a wedding cake, Keep your bouquet instead of ‘tossing it’, Scrap the speeches to allow more dance floor time. Do it! Just don’t let others dictate your day based on their ideas of a ‘perfect wedding’ because their perfect wedding is probably not the same as your idea of a perfect wedding. Make your wedding uniquely yours and I promise you you'll have the best time ever!


Here is a list of common wedding day 'sections'  and important bits to consider to get your own list started:

  • Morning Activities
  • Getting Ready Activities
  • First Look (portrait session before the ceremony)
  • Ceremony and Ceremony length
  • Post-ceremony hugs and congratulations
  • Cocktail Hour (before ceremony, after ceremony?)
  • Special Traditions (family, religious, cultural)
  • Family Photos / Group Photos
  • Bridal Party Photos
  • Couples Portraits
  • Reception / Reception Entry
  • Food and style of reception (casual cocktail, sit down, buffet, etc)
  • Speeches / Toasts
  • Reception Traditions (cake cutting, first dance, father-daughter dance, special religious/cultural traditions)
  • Wedding Games
  • Reception Curfew

Step two: Think about the logistics of your wedding day

The last thing you want to do on your wedding day is for things to run late because you forgot to factor in the correct amount of time it takes to get from one location to another. To avoid these stress-inducing mistakes make sure to add the proper amount of travel time into your timeline.

Use google maps to get an accurate estimate of the travel time between different locations 

You can use google maps to get an estimate of how long it will take to drive between all the different locations. getting ready to ceremony, the ceremony to portrait location, Ceremony to reception, etc.) To get the most accurate result make sure to choose the 'depart at' option to add in your wedding day and relevant time of day. This will factor in the usual traffic at this hour and is especially important if your locations are in high traffic areas. 




Check the sunset time for your specific wedding date and location

Photography is all about light, and it is no secret that many wedding photographers love shooting portraits during the golden hour (the hour before sunset). Whenever logistically possible I highly recommend setting away a bit of time for golden hour portraits, especially if you're after those warm golden tones and backlit photos. Your wedding photographer will be able to give you advice on what time would be the optimal time to sneak away for some golden hour portraits on your day!



The exact sunset time of your wedding will depend on where you are getting married, and what time of year your celebration is. The Perth winter sunset is typically sometime between 5-6 pm, while the summer sunsets are closer to 7-7.30pm. To check the sunset time for your wedding date simply google ‘Your wedding location/city + Sunset + Date’. 



Step three: Say no to wedding day stress - add lots of buffer time!

Weddings rarely go as planned, and you’ll be much better off by adding in lots of buffer-time between events compared to trying to fit in as much as possible in the shortest amount of time.

Having plenty of buffer time will allow your day to run smoothly despite delays, unexpected events, and unexpected traffic. It also adds the opportunity for a bit of fun spontaneity. Most importantly, however, it will give you time to take it all in and truly enjoy your moments. It's kind of a win-win situation because if everything goes as planned you can always spend those extra minutes mingling with your guests.

Step four: Putting it all together

Once you've got your list of everything you want to do, how long it will take you to travel between locations, when the sun will set on your wedding day it's time to put it all together. If you're not sure exactly how much time you should set aside for each section ask your wedding photographer as specific timings will vary from wedding to wedding!

That's it. Let me know how you go and if you'd like any assistance planning your Perth wedding timeline


How to look natural in Photos | Preparing for you Engagement Shoot

If you're anything like me you're probably a bit camera shy and somewhat anxious about your upcoming photoshoot. So to help you calm your nerves before our shoot I've written a few tips that I hope will help. Read on if you want to know the secret sauce behind how to look natural in photos.

1. Relax, breathe, and be present.

Trust me, There is no right or wrong way when it comes to being in front of my camera. I'm an overthinker myself so I know it's hard, but try not to self-analyze your every movement. Negative thoughts like ‘am I doing this right?’ ‘I don’t think this is my best angle’ "is this what she meant' etc will only make it harder for you to relax. The best thing you can do to achieve natural photos is allowing yourself to be natural. So block off your insecurities and trust that I have your best interest at heart - because I definitely do.

2. Being yourself is more than enough.

The first thing my couples tell me once we start the session is 'just tell us what to do'. And of course, I will provide guidance on what to actually do throughout the shoot. But please know that my directions will always be somewhat vague. This is to allow your own interpretations, personalities and beings shine through. As a documentary-style photographer, your uniqueness and how you connect as a couple is the real magic I'm looking to capture. I'm not interested in posing you 50 different ways, I rather just go with the flow and let the location, light and your authentic connection guide me. So just be yourself and I'll make sure to capture natural couples' portrait that'll make you go  ‘Wow this is so us!’ and ‘We look amazing!!”

3. Move lots and have fun with it.

If you stop moving for just 2 seconds you'll instantly look stiff and unnatural. This is why I won't put you into poses, and rather encourage you to move freely throughout the shoot. Moving does not only allow you to look natural and alive, it also opens up the possibilities of capturing real in-between moments impossible to achieve through traditional posing. Your movements can be super subtle and gentle like stroking your partner's arms or hands, rubbing their back, or simply swaying back and forth together. It can also be more dramatic like twirling,  piggyback riding, or bumping hips while walking.

I always encourage lots of movement during my shoots and I will always help with suggestions should you need it. As most documentary-style photographers, however, I love it when you start to move more freely without me giving you directions. This usually happens in the second half of the shoot once you've become fully comfortable in front of my camera. And this my friends is where the real magic happens. You, enjoying each other's company, doing whatever feels right in your moment is the secret behind nailing natural couples photos.



So there you have it. I hope these tips will help you feel less anxious about your upcoming photoshoot because It's actually a lot of fun!

If  you're not scheduled in for a couple's shoot with me but want to after reading this article? Let's make it happen:

Schedule your own Perth or Down South Engagement photo shoot. 


Couple piggybacking and laughing at the beach

4 reasons why you should consider doing an engagement shoot before your wedding

Not keen on the idea of doing an engagement shoot before your wedding? Let me try to convince you why you should.

Maybe you feel awkward in front of a camera, or maybe you just don’t see any benefit of doing an engagement shoot. Whatever your reason for not wanting to do an engagement shoot is, I always recommend that my couples do one. Why? Whether you believe it or not, it’s by far the best way to 'level up' your wedding photography experience.  Let me explain!

1. If you hate being in front of the camera, an engagement shoot is your opportunity to become comfortable with it.

The last thing any wedding photographer would want is for you to be anxious or uncomfortable in front of their camera. Especially during your wedding day!

Doing an engagement session before the wedding will help calm your photography-related nerves. Trust me. It will also rid you of any in-front-of camera awkwardness and anxiety.

Chances are you've been overthinking the whole photography thing as well. An engagement shoot will show you what to actually expect from your photographer. I bet you'll soon realise that having couples photos done is nothing but fun and enjoyable. Even more so if you've booked someone like me. A documentary-style wedding photographer with a relaxed way of shooting.

And if you cringe by the thought of being all lovey-dovey in front of a 'stranger', why not do it your way? Go on an adventure or do a fun activity with your photographer. Because who says an engagement shoot has to be a boring hour of posing for the camera? Not me! 


2. You get to know your photographer and vice versa.

This one is a win-win situation come your wedding day. Because let's be honest. It's must be pretty weird having a stranger following your every step for a whole day.

By doing an engagement session you’ll learn how your photographer works, and what is expected from you in order to nail those beautiful candid portraits. It’s also a great way for your photographer to learn more about you, your personalities, how you connect as a couple and what really matters to you when it comes to documenting your wedding celebration.

In short, the better you know your wedding photographer the more comfortable you’ll feel having them around on the wedding day.

And the better your wedding photography understands you, the better equipped they’ll be to capture more personal and meaningful wedding photos you’ll truly treasure.


3. You get to see professional photos of yourself before the wedding.

Being able to see professional photos of your self before the wedding day will allow you to communicate more effectively with your photographer when it comes to your preferences. It’s a lot easier to understand what you like or don’t like when you’re looking at images of yourself, as opposed to a random couple you’ve found photos of on Pinterest.

And if you’re extra smart you can even combine the shoot with your hair and makeup trial. This will allow you to suss out if you like how your makeup looks in photos.


4. You get amazing non-wedding portraits of yourselves. Perfect for save the dates, Instagram, wedding guest signing books - you name it.

Last but not least, doing an engagement session will give you lots of beautiful, authentic portraits of the everyday you. 



couple walking hand in hand at Edith Valley



The H Family | Relaxed At Home Session with 4 month old

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Subiaco Family Photography Session | The G Family

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T + M | Surprise Backyard Wedding in Bunbury

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M+ T | Pre-wedding Sunset Shoot in Wonnerup, Busselton

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E+ A | Pre-wedding shoot at Edith Valley

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G + S | Pullman Resort Bunker Bay

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S + P| Pre-wedding shoot in Margaret River

I don't think I've ever laughed as much as I did while hanging out with Sarah and Pat for their valentines day couples shoot in Margaret River. A Valentine's day well spent on my behalf! As you can see from the photos we had a LOT of fun despite being attacked by march flies throughout the whole thing.


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