The Perfect Wedding Day Timeline

Bride and Groom pose for Wedding Portrait
Jessi and Nick before their ceremony.

So you’ve booked your venue, caterer, bar tender, photographer, videographer, officiant, and DJ. Now what? The key now is to plan ahead so that everyone is organized before your day arrives. This is where your Perfect Wedding Day Timeline comes in!

Before you begin, answer these questions.

  • Where will you be getting ready? Will you have your hair and make-up done at a salon, at your hotel, at the venue, at home? Will your wedding party be getting ready with you or separately and then meet up with you? Each of these scenarios will impact your timeline.
  • Do you want a First Look? Do you want to see each other before the ceremony? Will you take couple and large wedding party photos before the ceremony, after the ceremony, or a little of both?
  • Are your ceremony and reception at the same location or will you and your guest have to travel? Don’t forget to factor in travel time.
  • Will you have a cocktail hour? This is a great time to do couple and group portraits if you choose to not do them before the ceremony.
  • What time will your ceremony start?
  • How long will your ceremony be? Most ceremonies last about 30 minutes, but I have been to ceremonies that lasted 10 minutes and some that have lasted almost an hour.
  • Are you doing a first dance? Are you doing Father-Daughter and Mother-Son dances? Any other ceremonial dances?
  • How many toasts will you have at the reception? Are any of the speakers long-winded?
  • Does your venue have a specific time you need to be cleaned up and off of the property?
  • Will you make a grand exit? Do you have a special send-off planned, sparklers, streamers, bubbles, etc.?
  • Do your vendors have a time limit in their contracts? For example: you’ve hired a photographer and they provide 6 hours of photography time, or the DJ provides 4 hours of music, etc.
Bride getting ready before the ceremony.
Amy getting ready with help from her mother and future mother-in-law.

Now that you’ve answered those important questions, you’re ready to start making your Perfect Wedding Day Timeline.

Starting from scratch and creating your own is the best way to ensure your Wedding Day Timeline is Perfect. However, I know that can seem overwhelming, especially if you’ve never done it before. There are dozens of Wedding Day Timelines out there on the internet. so, if you really don’t know where to start, I’d suggest browsing some to get an idea. Here are a few of my favorites:

Bride and Groom kissing after cutting the cake.
Marrion and Johnny kissing after feeding each other cake.

When I’m planning the Perfect Wedding Day Timeline, I like to start with the Ceremony. I work my way forward in time to the end of the night with the send-off. Then, I go back to the Ceremony and work my way backwards to the beginning of the day when the Bride wakes up. Yes! I plan all the way to the first alarm of the day! Don’t forget to plan for the boys too!! Sometimes it needs to be spelled out for them; they need to know when and where to be! This is why I like the timeline from Etsy I mentioned above. It has a column for the Bridesmaids and a column for the Groomsmen.

Don’t forget to build in a little bit of a time buffer each step of the way (5-10 minutes max). You never know when a zipper will break or traffic will hold someone up. It’s better to have a little bit of extra time than to have too little time.

Groom and Minister talk before the ceremony
Greg and the minister chat before the ceremony.

Create your Perfect Wedding Day Timeline Early and communicate it to everyone involved.

Even if you don’t have all of your vendors booked yet, you can still plan your Perfect Wedding Day Timeline. Plan your day early so that you, your wedding party, and your vendors know exactly what to expect. Give your Perfect Wedding Day Timeline to your wedding party, vendors, and any VIPs such as immediate family members or anyone else needing to be at a specific place at a specific time. Remember, you can always tweak your timeline before the big day if you need to.

Ready to book your wedding or engagement photographer? I’m here to help! I can even help you create your Perfect Wedding Day Timeline too!

  1. Jamescof says:

    Thanks really practical. Will certainly share website with my pals.

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