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  • Writer's pictureMel Close

Planning Your Wedding Timeline - Helpful Tips and Tricks!

Updated: Sep 5, 2023

One of the questions we get most from our couples, is how to create a timeline for their wedding day! By creating an organized (and realistic) timeline, you can ensure that your day seamlessly flows from one event to another, allowing both yourselves and your guests to enjoy the perfect day.

Black and white image of bride and groom

Tip 1 – Talk to your vendors

Making sure that you ask your vendors how much set up/tear down time they require for their services is key, before you start building your timeline. If you are working with a wedding planner or coordinator, they can assist you with this! All photographer work differently, some may want extra time to take detail shots of your rings, shoes etc, whilst others may require more time for portrait shots. Finding out what your vendors need, in order to build your timeline, will ensure that they aren’t rushed, and can provide you with their best work.

Tip 2 – Venue logistics

All wedding venues have different logistics to take into account – are their stairs or an elevator to access the venue? Is there a long walk from the parking lot to the ceremony or reception space? Are you having two separate locations for your ceremony and reception? Take into account the amount of time your vendors and guests need to travel and access your venue, as well as thinking about where your guests will go if there is a large break between the ceremony and reception.

Newlyweds enjoying wedding cake

Tip 3 – Include buffer time

While you may thinking you only need 5 minutes to put on your wedding dress, give yourself ample time to do all tasks on your day! Remember you don’t want to feel rushed, so leaving more than enough time for hair and makeup, food and drink breaks, and travel time, will ensure that you can relax a little more and hopefully get some time to just sit and take in the moment. We also love to tell our couples to try and put aside some time to be alone together, whether it be after their first look photos, or right after the ceremony. The day will fly by, and having some brief alone time together will remind you of what the day is really all about.

Tip 4 – Mix up traditions

We see many couples now utilizing traditional elements of a wedding, but putting their own spin on things! For instance, some couples are choosing to have their grand entrance to the reception, immediately followed by their first dance. Also, speeches peppered in-between courses is a way to save up some time after the dinner, if you are wanting as much dancefloor and party time as possible. Many photographers services will end after the speeches and first dance, so by having these earlier than later, you can be sure these moments are captured with enough time for your photographer to also capture some of the party!

Newlyweds under a tree in the snow

Tip 5 – Work backwards

If you do not have a wedding planner or coordinator to assist you with creating your timeline, we recommend starting from the ceremony and working your way backwards, to ensure you start your day at the right time. No one wants to be up at the crack of dawn for what is a very long, busy day, but depending on your bridal party size, venue location, and other logistics, making sure you sure you start with enough time to get ready is crucial. By working backwards from the ceremony start time, you can add in all the elements needed to determine what time you’ll need to wake up on your wedding day! Work out travel time needed from your hotel/home to the venue, as well as any pre-ceremony photo time allocated, first looks, getting ready

time, as well as breakfast and/or lunch – and don’t forget to add buffer time to each event!

Our sample timeline is below based on a 4:30pm ceremony.

Sample wedding day timeline



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