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How to Create a Wedding Day Timeline

The wedding day timeline is one of the most important steps you can take prior to the big day to ensure a seamless and smooth event. If you have hired a planner, then of course they can take care of this for you, but if not you will need to follow this guide to create one! This is just a guide and of course things can take a little longer/shorter depending on your exact needs.

Here is how I start my timelines:

Start at ceremony and work down from there, and then once that is complete I work backwards from ceremony:

  • Ceremony start time

  • Cocktail hour starts- 30 min after ceremony

  • Family Photos- 5 min after start of cocktail hour

  • Newlywed Photos- 20 min after start of family photos

  • Bridal party photos-20 min after start of newlywed photos

  • Guests seated for dinner- 1 hour after cocktail hour starts

  • Grand Entrance- 10 min after guests were seated for dinner

  • First Dance- 5 min after grand entrance

  • Welcome speech- 5 min after first dance

  • Dinner service starts- 5 min after welcome speech

  • Toasts- 1 hour after dinner service starts (allow for 5 min per person)

  • Thank you by Newlyweds after toasts

  • Father/daughter Dance- 5 min after Thank you by newlywed starts

  • Mother/Son Dance- 5 min after father/daughter dance starts

  • Cake Cutting- 5 min after mother/son dance starts

  • Open dancing starts-5 min after cake cutting starts

  • Bouquet Toss- this can be done anytime in evening before photographer leaves

  • Garter Toss- 5 minutes after bouquet toss

  • Last song-5 minutes before end of event

Start at ceremony and work backwards

Ceremony start time

  • 30 min before- Photos finished bridal party to refresh

  • 30 min before photos finished- Bridal Party Photos

  • 45 min before bridal party photos- First Look

  • 20 min before first look- Bride and Bridesmaid Photos

  • 20 min before- Groom/groomsmen Photos with second shooter

  • 30 min before photos- bride into dress/ bridal portraits

  • 15 min before Groom and groomsmen photos- groom and groomsmen getting ready

  • 30 min before bride into dress- Hair and Makeup Complete

  • Photo coverage begin

  • Contact hair/makeup for start times in order to be done on time according to your timeline

Make sense? I hope so, but if not here is a sample with ceremony starting at 5PM

2:00 PM Hair and makeup complete

2:30 PM Bride into dress

2:30 PM Groom and groomsmen getting ready photos with second photographer

2:55 PM Bride and bridesmaids photos

2:55 PM Groom and groomsmen photos with second photographer

3:15 PM First look/ couple photos

4:00 PM Bridal party photos

4:30 PM Photos finished

5:00 PM Ceremony starts

5:30 PM Cocktail hour starts

5:35 PM Family photos

5:55 PM Bridal party photos

6:15 PM Newlywed photos

6:30 PM Guests seat for dinner

6:40 PM Grand entrance

6:45 PM First dance

6:50 PM Welcome speech

6:55 PM Dinner service starts

7:55 PM Toasts

8:10 PM Thank you by newlyweds

8:15 PM Father/daughter dance

8:20 PM Mother/son dance

8:25 PM Cake cutting

8:30 PM Open dance floor

9:55 PM Last dance

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