How to Create a Wedding Day Timeline

November 7, 2020


If you are planning a wedding, you may have heard others talk about how to create a wedding day timeline. It’s every couple’s dream to celebrate their wedding day with the people they love and have everything go to plan, however, if I can give you one piece of advice? Be prepared for the unexpected! You can plan and plan to your heart’s content, but I can assure not every wedding goes 100% to plan. However, having a well thought out timeline that everyone is across giving you a greater chance of having a wedding day that flows seamlessly and is stress-free!

In USA, a wedding day timeline is a schedule of everything that is happening on your wedding day. Having a list of all the activities that need to happen on your wedding day and what time they are happening will help you and all of your wedding vendors stay on track on your day. It’s a great reference point for your bridal party, and vendors, as it gives them a clear view of how you want the day to run. When you have a well thought out wedding day timeline, you can sit back and really enjoy your day, stress-free!

So here are some helpful tips to help you create the perfect timeline for your wedding day!


The best way to start with your wedding day timeline is to divide your day into three major parts:

1. Pre-wedding

2. Ceremony

3. Reception

From this, you can now add key activities to each major part. For example, you know what time your ceremony is starting so you would write that down (Ceremony Start Time) as a key activity under ‘Ceremony’. You may also know what time your reception is starting and what time you have booked the venue until, so you would also write ‘Reception Start’ and ‘Reception End’ key activities down under ‘Reception’.


Getting exact timings of services up front is crucial for your timeline. The vendors you have chosen to help create your wedding day will be able to provide you with timings and proposed schedules for their services. They are wedding professionals that know exactly how most wedding days run so are the real experts to contact and ask for assistance! Your timeline will be shared and will serve as a reference point for all of your wedding vendors too. So having an accurate timeline will ensure they know exactly where they need to be and when, so your day runs as smoothly as possible.


Once you are done adding your key activities, you’ve now got a baseline to start adding all the other activities for your day. You can map out backward or forward from your key activities until you come up with the best sequence and transition of events. Chatting to your vendors and understanding how long it takes them to complete their services will assist you in allowing enough time for them.

A handy thing to do is to write down all the finer details next to each activity as well, like:

  • The vendor name, contact number, email etc.

  • How long the activity takes (e.g. hair and makeup – 90mins)

  • Any physical items that are needed to be collected/delivered etc.

  • Travel/drive times      


Once you have scheduled all of the activities into a list, it is then a good idea to share this as a draft timeline with your wedding vendors. Your vendors will then be able to review your wedding day timeline and let you know if there are any problems with the timings that they can see and may affect your day. You will then be able to make any adjustments ahead of time and distribute a final copy out to all of your vendors, bridal party and other friends and family that are helping to bring your wedding day together.

I have put together an example of a wedding day timeline below, to help you get started and give you some ideas!

The below example is for a wedding day where the ceremony starts at 3.00pm.


10:00am – Hair and makeup artist arrives and begins on bridesmaids

(Hair and makeup start time will vary depending on how many bridesmaids you have)

12:00pm – Hair and Makeup on the bride begins

12:30pm – WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER arrives at Bride’s location, second shooter arrives at Grooms location

(Photographer will capture all the detail shots of the dress, shoes, rings etc, while the bride is finishing with hair and makeup)

1:30pm – Bride begins getting dressed

2.00pm – Second Shooter (photographer) leaves Groom and heads for the Ceremony

(the second shooter will capture the ceremony setup up and the guests arrival)

2.30pm – Photographer (Primary) leaves for the Ceremony

2.30pm – Groom and groomsmen arrive at Ceremony location

2:30pm – Guests start arriving at the ceremony location and are shown to their seats

2:45pm – Bride leaves for Ceremony


3:00pm – Ceremony starts

3:30pm – Ceremony ends

(Your ceremony length will all depend on the type of ceremony you have chosen for your wedding day)

3:45 to 4:15pm – Group photo and family portraits

4:15 to 5:45pm – Bridal Party photos

(A good idea is to schedule 30 mins for just the two of you and your photographer during this time for a couples portrait session, before you head to the reception. The best time for this is during golden hour, the hour before sunset. Most photographers will all agree that this is such a perfect time to capture portraits. The warm and dramatic light of golden hour is truly breathtaking and gives off a mellow, romantic vibe. While making your timeline, check out the SUNSET TIME on your wedding day, and try to work your photos in around this time.)


5:00pm – Reception venue opens and guests are welcomed

5:00pm to 6:00pm – Cocktail Hour

6:00pm – Bridal Party Entrance

6:30pm – Dinner is served

7:30pm – Speeches

8:30pm – Cake Cutting

8:45pm – First dance

9:00pm – Dance Floor opens and the party begins!

9:30pm – Bouquet and garter toss (if you are doing these)

11:00pm – Reception Ends/Grand Exit

So there you have it! A basic example of a wedding day timeline that hopefully helps you on your way to creating the best timeline for you and your special day. I hope you have found this guide helpful and your wedding day is all you dreamed it to be!

Much Love,