wedding timeline

5 Tips on How to Create the Perfect Wedding Timeline

Usually, when you ask the question ‘How was your wedding?’ some brides will say it was magical and beautiful, but others will say something else – it was perfect but stressful. Most of the time that stressful feeling comes from not having good organization and not planning the time for every part of the wedding, i.e. not having a wedding day timeline. I always tell my brides to create a wedding day timeline as it helps to keep everyone, (especially the bride & groom and all the vendors) on top of how the day unfolds. All that being said, even running a few minutes late can throw the whole day off-track and add stress to your big day.

If you hired a wedding planner/coordinator this will be a pretty easy task for you, but if you are in the situation where you are planning your own wedding the following steps might come in handy. Please keep in mind that each wedding timeline will be unique to the couple’s own wedding day and it doesn’t have to perfectly match yours.

So grab your pen, take your notes and let’s work the timeline together.

#1 Start with the times you already know

Before you start filling the timeline and creating sections you need to focus on the times you already know. Usually, that includes the start of the ceremony, reception and the end time. After you add these important parts it will be much easier for you to build the timeline around those times.

#2 Think about your important events of the day

★ Do you want to do a first look before the ceremony? If so you can do family/bridal party and or formal couple pictures before as well! It will take less time away from your guests after the ceremony.

★ Do you want to do a traditional ceremony or a modern ceremony? Keep in mind that ceremonies typically are 15-20 minutes long unless it is a religious ceremony.

★ Maybe you want to do portraits at sunset time? The best way to find the sunset time is to search online the location of your wedding and date, it will totally tell you exactly, to the minute, what time the sun will set. Plan to take sunset photos with your photographer, or have a special moment then so your wedding day sunset can be captured.

#3 Talk with your photographer

Before you are set the times for photography coverage always count on your photographer’s opinion. Most of the time the photographer has their own timeline. Talk with him/her to capture the most important details. Before dinner/reception let your photographer have at least 15 minutes before the guest comes in, that way you can have those details untouched. If you plan on showcasing your wedding, know that publications love these shots too.

For family and group shots, try to keep the list around 10 groupings for your photographers’ sake, as these can take a lot of time when there is an extensive list. This does not include photos of just the Bride and Groom and wedding party. Each listed grouping can take up to 5 minutes. So be prepared!

#4 Always plan for more time then you think

It would be nice to have extra time on your day, so take a deep breath and enjoy the moments. The last thing you want to be worried about is that you are short on time. Makeup & hair are generally what brides don’t plan enough time for on the wedding day. Tip – plan more time than the hair and makeup artist tell you. There is lots of variance in how long hair and make up actually take. The last thing you want to do is start the day stressed.

Then you have robe shots with bridesmaids, getting in dress shots, final touches, putting on shoes… Plan at least 30 minutes for this if you want your bridesmaids involved. Also consider your dress, is it a lace-up or have lots of buttons? Is your ceremony at the same venue as the reception? Do you need to travel for 1 hour or 15 minutes to the location? Plan more time!

#5 Send the timeline to the vendors

After you are finished with the timeline the next step is to make sure it gets to all your vendors. Even though this step is last, remember it’s very important. Why go through all that trouble to make the perfect timeline if you don’t share with the people who will give their best to make your wedding absolutely flawless?

Printable Example Wedding Timeline

I was so excited to create this for you. Take a look at my timeline. It’s printable! You are more than welcome to use it and adjust to your time. Let me know down in the comments if you found the 5 tips helpful and if you decided to use my example timeline.

wedding timeline



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