Creating your Wedding Day timeline – 4 things to consider

Creating your Wedding Day Timeline

Would you believe that creating your wedding day timeline is something that Brides leave to the end of their planning? Well please don’t do that. Having a general idea of when things are happening sooner will make a lot less stress later on.  Setting a ceremony time and then a reception time and realize you have too much or too little in between has caught many brides by surprise.

I recently talked with a bride who was planning her ceremony for 2 and her reception to start at 6. I asked her if there was a reason she picked those times and she said she thought they looked reasonable. Plus this is what she had seen at other weddings. So then I asked her how she felt, as a guest, waiting so long in between times.  Needless to say, she said she was bored, they went shopping, but overall lost the feel of the celebration. She didn’t want that but wasn’t sure how to correct it.

As you start to plan your wedding and book your suppliers, namely venue and ceremony location, start working out how you want your wedding day timeline to work.  You should consider these 4 things as you start putting it together.

Bride getting hair done before wedding


Do some research:

Find out how long it takes for your ceremony.

How long does it take for your makeup and hair to be done as well as those of your wedding party?  The larger the party the longer it will take.

The time it takes to get to the ceremony, to the reception, to set up/decorate.

Time out all parts of the wedding day.

What all are you doing?  Receiving line, photographs, Bouquet and garter toss, dinner – buffet or served, speeches….. Jot down the way you see things unfolding and this will start to give you an idea and where things might go.



Allow for delays and overtime

You know as well as I do that it’s very difficult for appointment times to run according to plan. Make sure you add extra time for hair and make up appointments even if the professional is coming to you.

This is also where you factor in traffic delays, travel time to appointments and to the ceremony and reception.  Brides often forget to consider the time it takes getting in and out of the car for herself as well as her bridal party. 5 minutes here and there adds up to being late for your ceremony.  


For most couples, having professional photos done are one of the main highlights of the wedding day. It can also be one of the biggest time consumers. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but it must be taken into account. This is where you must talk to you photographer and make it clear the type and quantity of photos you want.

I remember once I asked a photographer how much time they needed for the couple and she said 3 hours. She verified this by listing off all the different shots she wanted to take. But I had been working with the couple for awhile and knew they didn’t want to take that long or wanted that many pictures. So we agreed that 1.5 hours was enough knowing that it would still be closer to 2 when all was done. It’s important to convey how much time you want to spend with picture taking.

Photographers will take pictures all day because they love it. Consider doing a First Look to break up the time as well as ask for more candid shots as opposed to posed ones. 


Location of Ceremony and Reception

It is much more common these days for couples to have their ceremony and reception in the same location.  This can be a great time saver unless the room has to be flipped but that can often be done in under an hour.  Consider having your photos also done on site so you don’t have to take up time to travel to another location.

If your ceremony and reception are in different locations, allow for travel time, parking, etc.

Before you start creating your wedding day timeline, here are a couple of timelines I created for 2 of my weddings.  One is with a ceremony and reception in the same place and the other where they were separated. In both cases, the majority of pictures were taken before the wedding. Click on them to enlarge. 

Sample wedding day timeline
Sample wedding day timeline

The thing to remember here is that all you’ve been working for is coming together and will be over in a matter of 12 hours. All those details have to be framed within the allotted time of your wedding day. It’s particularly important to have them in order and given the time they deserve and most of all, for you to enjoy them. And don’t forget to share your timeline with all your vendors, venues, bridal party, planner and any necessary family. The more people that know how you see the day unfolding, the better chances of that happening.

I try to remind couples that this day will literally fly by in the blink of an eye. You want to be as much a part of the activities with your guests as possible. The better flow to the day, the more chances are of you enjoying it as you planned. 

If you’re ready to take charge of your wedding planning and restore fun and balance to your life, then I offer two ways we can work together:

Just click on either package to get the full details. And remember, you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your home! What have you got to lose – Stress? Anxiety?

Join other brides and put yourself back in control of your wedding planning. A Virtual Wedding Planner is your new best friend.

Nancy Curtis

Nancy (that's me) is a Kickass Virtual Wedding Planner whose goal is to give every bride the opportunity to plan their wedding with as little stress as possible. Is that something you would like to do? Step by step, I show you how to plan the wedding of your dreams without having to spend countless hours or put yourself in debt. I believe with the right plan for your wedding, you can have that special day you've been dreaming of and enjoy every step of the way. Would you like more information about HOW I can help reduce the stress and overwhelm in your wedding planning? Drop me a line with your details using my CONTACT FORM HERE and I'll follow up with your promptly. And in the meantime, while you're waiting, get started with your wedding planning by Downloading my FREE 6 Simple Steps to Get you Down the Aisle and Keep you Sane Planning Guide to avoid the overwhelm in your wedding planning. Happy Planning!

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