wedding day timeline

Creating your wedding day timeline is one of my biggest tasks as a wedding planner. We create a master timeline that includes every piece of timing information, a friends & family timeline, and then a timeline for every vendor involved in the wedding. With an average of 10 vendors per event, there is a lot of managing the comings and goings of a lot of people. If you are putting together a timeline on your own or just want to have an idea of what to expect, then you are in the right place!

First, as you start to have logistics and timeline thoughts, start writing them down. Keep a note on your phone or a Google Doc just to keep those specific thoughts in one place.

Here are some things I want you to think through & ask yourself:

  1. How many locations do you have and what is the travel time between them all?
    For example, are you getting ready at a hotel, but then the ceremony is at your church and then reception elsewhere? How will everyone get to all of those locations and what is the driving distance/time?
  2. Are you having a first look where you will see your fiance before the ceremony or will the first time you see each other be at the ceremony?
    If you are doing a first look, I typically assume there will be three hours of photography from when the bride puts on her dress through photos complete one hour prior to the ceremony. If you are not doing a first look, typically photos take 1.5 hours prior to the ceremony, and at least an hour after the ceremony.
  3. What is the length of time you have your photographer/videographer?
    This is super important as you start to plan your timeline as you want to be sure all those special moments are captured. Typically, eight hours of photography coverage can be enough, but it all really depends on the time of the ceremony and reception and all the details in between. If you have less than eight hours, work with your photo & video team on strategic scheduling or consider adding hours to your service.
  4. What are the ceremonies or traditions taking place at the reception?
    For example, first dances, toasts, sorority/fraternity songs, money dance, bouquet & garter toss, or special cultural ceremonies. They are all great but take time and need to be scheduled. Consider this when planning.

I hope this helps you get going in working on your wedding day timeline.  To help you get started, I am sharing the exact form I use when putting together a client’s timeline. It will help you gather all the important information you need from each vendor on your team to put the timeline puzzle together. Grab yours here. If you are looking for more help, check out our wedding timeline workbook here, which includes a vendor confirmation worksheet.


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