Use this guide below to create your wedding day timeline. Keep in mind, every photographer and vendor is different so this could be out of order. Again, use this as a guide to help plan what your wedding is going to be like and adjust as you plan along. Typically, the final draft is complete about a month prior to your wedding date with possible minor changes a week before.
Google Docs is a great tool to keep your wedding plans in 1 location while also being able to share it with anyone involved with your wedding planning like your vendors.
10 a.m. Hair & Makeup Artists Arrive
Relax as you sit in the chair and get pampered on your beautiful wedding day! Depending on the size of your bridal party you may have your own hair & makeup artist while the bridesmaids have a hair & makeup artist. Example: Bride has 1 hair artist & 1 makeup artist (or 1 that is doing both). The Bridesmaids/MOH/MOB/Flower Girl has 1 hair artist & 1 makeup artist.
11 a.m. Photographer & Videographer Arrive
To photograph the details: venue, rings, flowers, jewelry, garter, sentimental items, getting ready, etc.
12:30 p.m. Bridesmaids Are Dressed and Ready
Bridal party and anyone else involved in main photographs (flower girl, mother of the bride etc.) have their hair & makeup complete and dressed.
They open any bridal gifts they received.
NOTE: if you want to do a celebration with robes then plan this before they all get into their bridesmaids dresses and have ready any props like champagne!
1:15 p.m. Bride Gets Dressed
Before you slip into your gorgeous dress, head to the restroom and see if you gotta go! Photographer then captures your mom, grandma, or maid of honor lacing or zipping up your dress. Photographing slipping into your shoes and having your wedding jewelry put on.
1:30 p.m.Bridal Portraits
Self portraits in your gorgeous gown and details around your venue.
2 p.m. Bridesmaids Photos
These are casual and fun photographs with your favorite friends that will be standing by your side when you say, “I do”!
2:30 p.m. 1st Look
Optional and reasons why to consider doing a 1st look!
You will share a moment seeing each other for the first time together. This gives you each time to cry, laugh or embrace each other which is something you won’t be able to do as you walk down the aisle. Helps you relieve any nerves you are having too.
2:30 p.m. – 3:10 p.m. Bride & Groom Portraits
This is if you decide to do a 1st look then you can get a few portraits of each other around the venue. Don’t worry, you’ll do more portraits after ceremony as newlyweds!
3:10 p.m. Wedding Party & Family Photos
This can be done before ceremony or after ceremony. If you have a very big family list then you can consider doing half of the family photos before and the rest after ceremony. Discuss with your photographer and coordinator.
4 p.m. Freshen Up & Hydrate!
Head inside to your waiting area. Soak in this moment, hydrate, freshen up your makeup, adjust any hair pins if necessary and breathe.
4:30 p.m. Ceremony
Non-religious ceremonies last about 20 minutes and religious ceremonies can last up to an 1 hour.
5 p.m. Cocktail Hour
Your guests enjoy the finger foods, drinks and play some games if there’s any available while they wait for reception.
5:10 p.m. Sunset Portraits
Gorgeous sunset portraits of the two of you during cocktail hour. You will get to enjoy your cocktail hour with your guests.
Note: You can check out TimeandDate for sunset times based on your wedding date and location.
6 p.m. Guests Invited to Reception & Seating
Guests find their tables to be seated.
6:15 p.m. Grand Entrance & 1st Dance
This can be your bridal parties being announced during the entrance then have you both make your grand entrance after. Then you’d jump into your 1st dance.
6:25 p.m. Welcome Toasts
Traditionally, one of the parents say a brief welcome toast to the guests. A prayer may be said as well prior to dinner.
6:30 p.m. Dinner
Dinner is served or buffet style goes by tables announced by the DJ.
7:15 p.m. Bridal Party Speeches
While dinner is being wrapped up, the Best Man & Maid of Honor start off with the speeches. Recommended to advice them to keep it within a limit to hold on guests attention rather than dragging it. Typically, speeches go for 5 minutes.
7:30 p.m. Parent Dances
Traditionally, it’s father-daughter dance & mother-son dances after speeches.
Personal experience: My mother-in-law had passed away so we had his sister (my sister-in-law) dance with my now husband. It was a precious moment!
After the traditional dances, it transitions to an open dance floor for a few songs before jumping into the next events.
8:20 p.m. Cake cutting, Bouquet toss & Garter toss
In this order, if you’re keeping the traditional wedding events. Otherwise…
8:35 p.m. Open dance floor
Dance your butt off!
10:30 p.m. Grand Exit
You can arrange for a final song with your DJ / band ahead of time. A great DJ will also announce prior to that song coming up so they’re aware the night is coming to an end.
You all then head out for a grand exit with sparklers, confetti canons or other festive idea you have!
Sometimes, a fake grand exit can happen earlier if your photographer is not hired to stay completely through the night and you would want it captured. In that case, it would happen in between songs during the open dance floor then will resume the open dance floor.
I hope this guide on How to Create a Wedding Day Timeline guide helps you get started with ideas and how you want your wedding day to be like!
Rearrange it to make it your own! Have fun!