When it comes to your wedding, a well planned timeline with make the day go much smoother! That’s why creating a wedding day timeline is absolutely vital — even running a few minutes late can throw the whole day off-track and cause unnecessary stress. Keep in mind though that each couple’s wedding timeline will be unique to their wedding day, and is dependent on vendors and venues and families and more. That being said, there are some tried-and-true wedding day timeline tips that, will help your big day go off without a hitch.
There are several questions you’ll need to answer before you can start creating your wedding day timeline. If you can answer them, you’re probably ready to start creating your wedding schedule (keep in mind your planner and photographer will be a huge help in this process)!
Let’s keep it real, your wedding is going to be a long (but amazing) day, and there’s no such thing as starting the getting-ready process too soon—particularly if you’re planning on a first look and taking photos before your ceremony. If your ceremony starts at 3 p.m., for example, I recommend starting to prep at around 8 a.m. Yes, it may seem crazy, but realize that it can take up to 2+ hours for a bride to get her hair and makeup done. And if your girls are getting their hair and makeup done too , that adds even more time. So yes, starting your wedding day as early as possible is a great idea. Here is another great blog post on some great getting ready tips!
Your wedding planner, photographer, and venue event managers are usually the go-to sources to assist you in creating your “official” wedding timeline. You’ll also want to speak with your other vendors to find out how long they’ll need for set-up and prep so that you can schedule them accordingly and provide them with enough time to complete their tasks.
There are going to be some little things that will take extra time that you might not include in your timeline—such as eating breakfast/ lunch, signing the marriage license, travel/ traffic, and more. No one ever complains that they had “too much” time! You’ll be glad you planned ahead!
Even though your wedding guests will likely have just enjoyed cocktail hour with appetizers, you shouldn’t make them wait too long before dinner is served. Dinner should be served 30 to 45 minutes after the reception begins. The type of dinner (sit down or buffet) will play a role in this but think about how you schedule the meal, the toasts, and the dancing portion of the evening.
Your wedding day timeline should be given to all of your vendors, as well as family members, wedding party, etc. This way, everyone knows where they are supposed to be and when. On the day of your wedding, your wedding planner or event manager should be the “keeper of the timeline,” making sure things are running smoothly, but also enlist a family or wedding party member to help with the process.