Tips and Tidbits: Creating Your Wedding Day Timeline


Happy Wednesday, friends! We’ve gotten to the midpoint in the week. Hopefully it’s been treating you well!

Today we wanted to talk to you about one of the most important (and potentially aggravating) parts of your wedding planning process, creating your wedding day timeline.

wedding ceremony in gazebo

It is important to have a timeline for your wedding day for a lot of reasons. It will be the basic schedule of everything that happens that day and having it written out will keep you on track. You will share it with all of your vendors, bridal party members and any other key players in the production of the day.

It is important to keep in mind, though, the timeline is a tool of structure, not a law cast in stone. There will be parts that don’t go as planned. You’ll be late on some things and early on others. But that’s just the way a wedding goes. It’s okay. You’ll just keep moving forward whether you’re “on time” or not.

Constructing the timeline can be a daunting task. You most likely haven’t been married before, so how are you supposed to know what time everything should happen?

bride walks down aisle with dad

As seasoned wedding professionals, we are here to offer some insights on this daunting task.

Start by collecting information. Here is a list of some of the basic questions you’ll need to ask to gain the information you’ll need.

What time can we get into the venue space?

What time are we required to leave?

Are you going to do a first look?

How large is your bridal party?

How many formal portraits do you want?

Is your ceremony and reception in the same place?

If not, how far apart are they?

How long will hair and makeup take?

How many girls are getting ready with you?

How long will your ceremony last?

Are you doing any wedding traditions? Ie. Bouquet toss, first dance, father-daughter dance, cake cutting, toasts.

How many people are giving toasts?

bridesmaids and bride get ready

Once you have this information together, you can start to put the events of the day in order. Here is a sample timeline from one of our weddings last year. Keep in mind that every wedding is different, so your timeline won’t look exactly like this.

2:00 p.m. Bride gets hair and makeup done

3:00 p.m. Steph and Jim arrive

3:10 p.m. Steph takes dress and accessories to photograph

3:25 p.m. Jim finds the guys to get a few shots

3:30 p.m. Candice gets into her dress

3:45 p.m. Boys and Jim leave for first look

3:55 p.m. Girls and Steph leave for first look

4:15 p.m. First look photos

4:45 p.m. Bridal Party photos

5:15 p.m. Finish photos and get back to the hotel

5:25 p.m. Jim and Steph take photos of the reception site

5:45 p.m. Head to ceremony site

6:00 p.m. Ceremony starts

6:20 p.m. Ceremony ends

6:30 p.m. Family photos

6:50 p.m. Bride and groom photos on the beach

7:20 p.m. Arrive at reception site

7:30 p.m. Grand Entrance

7:45 p.m. Dinner begins

8:30 p.m. Toasts

9:00 p.m. First dance Father-Daughter Dance,

                      Mother-Son Dance

9:30 p.m. Bouquet/garter toss

9:45 p.m. Last dance

10:00 p.m. Bride and groom exit

bride and groom dancing

Though it may sound like a daunting task, there are plenty of people who can help you create a wedding day timeline that works for you and your special day. Your coordinator and photographer specifically have plenty of experience choreographing all the events that go into the perfect wedding, and we’re here to help!

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We are Jim and Stephanie, husband and wife wedding photographers. We live on a 36 foot sailboat in the Pacific Northwest with our dog, Katie, our dreams of adventure, and our Chemex coffee maker. 

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