Weddings can seem like such a daunting task to plan and coordinate, especially when you don’t have a planner or day-of-coordinator. It can feel like timing is everything during such an important day. What if I told you it doesn’t have to be that hard? What!? Don’t believe me? Continue reading and I will give you my best tips for planning your wedding day timeline. I will even give you an example timeline to give you a starting point.
This is probably to most tedious part because you have to think about your overall day and all the moving parts. Here is when you collect all your data from your vendors and figure out how long you have them contracted for. For example, when will hair and makeup be showing up and leaving, when will guests board your shuttle to arrive at the ceremony. This can seem crazy, but don’t sweat it.
If your ceremony is at 2 (like mine), I am planning when the photographer arrives, when hair and makeup is done in regards to this time. All of these times can vary depending on how many people are getting their hair and makeup done, if you’re doing a first look, etc.
Give yourself time in the morning to get ready. If ceremony is at 2pm start getting ready at 8am, especially if you have many bridesmaids or people joining you for preparation. This allows ample time for you to get ready (each person takes 90min to get hair and makeup done).
Talk to your wedding planner or venue coordinator. They have done this a million times and know everything that a wedding day entails. To read more on if you should hire a planner, click here.
When it comes to vendors, this is one of the most important because let’s face it, we all want those Instagram worthy images. However, those can’t happen if you don’t allow time for the photographer to create those after the usual family portraits. To ensure that every important moment is captured during your day from getting ready with your crew to your amazing exit, you should have your photographer there for 8 hours.
Be sure that you email, print, ANYTHING this timeline and give it to ALL of your vendors. This will ensure that everyone knows where to be and when. Also, if you don’t have a planner or day-of-coordinator assign a family member to be in charge of the timeline so that you can just sit back and enjoy your marvelously planned out day.
This is an example timeline from Abigail and Zach’s wedding, which was a Catholic Mass with three locations, no first look, and an early sunset.
Getting Ready Location: Wyndham Hotel Gettysburg
7:00 Hair and makeup arrive for Bride and two bridesmaids
9:00 Photographer arrives
10:00 Hair and makeup done
10:15 – 10:30 Photographer captures Bride getting into dress
10:20 – 10:50 Bride portraits
11:00 – 11:30 Drive to ceremony location
Ceremony Location: 1000 Old River Rd.
11:30 – 11:45 Bride & Groom hide, rest & retouch
12:00 – 1:10 Wedding Ceremony (must be out by 1:30)
1:15 – 1:30 Pictures at Chapel with priests and some immediate family
2:00 – 2:20 Drive to reception location
Reception Location: Springfield Manor
2:30 – 2:50 Immediate family portraits
3:00 – 3:40 Bridal party portraits
3:45 – 4:30 Husband & Wife sunset portraits (cocktail starts at 4pm)
4:30 Bride and Groom join cocktail with guests
5:00 – 5:15 Reception starts, guests seated & grand entrances
5:30 Entrance, Blessing/Salads/Toasts
6:30 – 6:45 Cake/First dance/ Father/daughter and Mother/son
9:00 Sparkler exit
Grab Your Guide
A lot of moving pieces go into planning a wedding day timeline and we know it can be overwhelming! Grab our free guide to plan the perfect timeline for your day.