Creating a Wedding Day Timeline

Everyone says that the wedding day flies by… and well, that’s because it does!

After months and months of planning, your wedding day ends up coming down to the span of a few hours. I mean, when you think about it, it’s kind of crazy; you spend hundreds of hours planning all the details for your perfect wedding day, and it’s over in less than 24 hours.

Well friends, this is precisely why your wedding day timeline is one of the most important things needed for your wedding day to run smoothly. (And believe me- I’ve been to a wedding or two where there wasn’t a timeline, and it was NOT a pretty sight!)

For the best results, you should start creating your wedding day timeline early on in your planning- in fact, you probably have already done it, and you just don’t realize it! For example, when you book your venue, they ask you what time you need the space. And when you book your photographer, they ask you how many hours you need their service for, right? This goes to show the importance of a timeline- because everything that happens on your wedding day is dependent on time.

Now, I’m not saying that what you decide on 12 months before your wedding is going to be what actually happens on your wedding day- we all know that things most certainly change and get updated when it comes to a wedding. But what I AM saying is that you should have some idea of your wedding day timeline throughout your whole planning process. [Note: Of course, if you have a wedding planner, they will work with you on your timeline and handle most of this for you!!]

Whenever I create a wedding day timeline, I don’t just start from the beginning of the day- I start in the middle, with the times that I know are set in stone, and then I work backwards. More specifically, I start at the ceremony time, since that is the first time that is set in stone. So here are few key questions to answer before creating your wedding day timeline:

How many people will be getting hair and makeup done? (1 hour per person) 

Are you doing a first look? 

What time will your ceremony start?

How long will it take to get from the place you are getting ready, to your ceremony location?

How long will it take to get from your ceremony location to your reception location (if applicable)? 

How long do you have your reception space/caterer/DJ? 

In addition to these questions being answered, there are also a few common tidbits that you need to consider when creating a Wedding Day Timeline.

– Hair and makeup appointments- times and locations

– Time of arrival to ceremony location for bride and groom (especially necessary if needing to stay “hidden” from each other), and transportation to and from ceremony if needed

– Time for photos before and/or after ceremony

– Time to bustle your dress

– Will you and your new husband be attending the cocktail hour?

– Announcement/Grand Entrance into your reception (and who will be announced- bridal party and parents, just bridal party, etc)

– Time of First Dance

– Time dinner will be served/buffet opened

– Time of Father/Daughter and Mother/Son Dances

–  Cake Cutting

– Toasts

Once you have the answers to the questions above, you can start creating your timeline!


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