Building Your Wedding Timeline

Creating your wedding timeline is one of the most important parts of all the wedding planning! Having an accurate timeline helps you as a couple relax, but it is also crucial for your entire vendor team to ensure the success of your wedding day. Read on for some tips on building your wedding timeline!


1. Determine your photography coverage time

Start by knowing how much time your photographer is contracted for. Knowing this is critical to building your timeline and when to start and end parts of the day! You may have 8, 9, or 10 hours (or sometimes more or less). If you want getting ready photos and also are planning a sparkler exit, be sure to make sure you have your photographer for enough time to cover all of this!

Bride and groom kissing in front of building with windows


2. Decide if you want a first look

Having a first look or not will completely adjust the timeline of your day and the timing of your photos. If you have a first look, you’ll have quite a bit more time for photos ahead of the ceremony and can get most of your photos then. If you don’t do a first look, you won’t be able to do your couple portraits or full wedding party portraits until after the ceremony which requires you to have more time built in later in the day and likely means you won’t have time to attend cocktail hour.

Bride walking up to groom for first look

3. Choose the order of formalities

Formalities include things like your introduction to the reception, first dances, cake cutting, and speeches. Some people prefer to do most of these in the very beginning while others like to space them out through the night. You can choose any way you want, but keep that all in mind when building your timeline!

Bride and groom kissing after cutting the cake

4. Understand start and end times

Make sure you understand the start and end times for not only the venue, but also all of your vendors. We mentioned the photographer above, but you’ll want to have a grasp of times for all of your vendors. Understanding what time you have access to your venue is particularly important. You need to know not only what time the reception ends, but what time everyone needs to leave the venue. Typically there is an hour after your reception for vendors to tear down and clean up everything which needs to be included in the timeline.

Sweetheart table with florals and candlelight


We hope these tips are beneficial to building your wedding timeline, but if you’re having trouble with a timeline and need a planner to help, we’d love to talk! Contact us today!


Photography: Hillary Lacy Photography