Hi ladies! Today we are going to tackle one of my most asked questions. “What the heck should my wedding timeline look like?” Wedding timelines help keep your day running smoothly, help your vendors know when and where they need to be in certain places, and help with how we will be capturing your photos!
Since wedding timelines vary so much with each wedding, I’m going to walk through some general tips and then give you a sample timeline at the end!
Decide on a first look or traditional look. This is going to have a huge impact on how your wedding day will run. I have a full blog post breaking down the two different options and helping you decide which one is for you. You can read it here!
Plan out what time of day you want to have your ceremony. Think about what season your wedding is in, what time sunset will be, and if you want to have a morning or afternoon ceremony. When I help brides set up their timelines, this is one of the first things we decide on, so we can build the timeline around it.
Work out if you’ll have a cocktail hour, have to drive somewhere for hair or makeup, or if there is a long distance between the ceremony and reception that you need to work into your timeline. This helps frame your timeline even more.
Find out if there are any special time frames you have to work with for your vendors. Does the caterer need to start dinner by 6 pm? Is your DJ not setting up for reception until 7 pm? Figure out if you have any special time frames that you’ll need to know when planning your timeline.
Do you have any special events you need to block out time for? For example, a first look with your dad, a prayer circle with your friends, or giving your grandma a bouquet of flowers before the ceremony. Any sort of special moments you’d like to be included, write them down so you have time for them.
Give yourself wiggle room! As much as you’d love to stick to your wedding timeline, weddings have a way of flying by. You may plan for 15 minutes of family formal photos and they end up being 20 minutes. Or you think it’ll only take 10 minutes to drive to your reception from the ceremony but with traffic and parking it ends up being 20 minutes. Build in some wiggle room so that you don’t have to be stressed about the day running minute by minute.
Start mapping them all together! Take the things you’ve thought out with 1-6 and start laying them out in a timeline and filling it in. I have a sample one to help you out below!
Sample First Look Timeline
12:30 pm Get ready
1:30 pm Get into dress/photos with girls
2 pm Drive to ceremony location
2:15 pm First look/Bridal portraits
3:15 pm Bridal party photos
3:45 pm Last touch ups before ceremony
4 pm: Ceremony
4:30 pm: Cocktail hour for guests/family formal photographs
5:30 pm Dinner
6 pm Toasts
6:15 pm Cake cutting
6:30 pm Formal dances
6:45 pm Open dance floor/party
These tips should help you build your perfect timeline but I know it can be overwhelming to map out your whole wedding day! Which is exactly why I am here. I have photographed first looks, traditional looks, sunset ceremonies, and everything in between. I can help walk you through a timeline that makes sense for your special day. Reach out to me today and let’s build your perfect timeline!
Wedding photography assisted Nicole Kirshner Photography