How to build a perfect wedding day timeline

November 11, 2020

Wedding days are jam packed and really do fly by. There’s so many moving pieces and surprisingly a lot to do all crammed into one day. That old cliché about it going by so fast you don’t even get a piece of your own cake? That can totally happen. But it doesn’t have to! Having a solid wedding day timeline helps the day flow smoothly and makes sure you get to experience every part. You can work with your photographer and/or wedding coordinator to build a custom timeline, but if you have no idea where to start here’s a few tips!

Think about which parts of the day are most important to you:

Of course the whole day is important! But which parts do you want to prioritize the most? Are golden hour/sunset photos a must have? Do you want to have 15 minutes alone with your new spouse? Is joining cocktail hour an absolute must? All of these things can effect your timeline so its good to know what you don’t want to go without!

Build backwards:

Once you know what your timeline must haves are, build backwards from there. For example, if sunset photos are an absolute must, use sunset time as your starting point to make sure things like toasts, ceremony, or family photos won’t interfere with the best light. You can decide on a ceremony time, first look time, and getting ready time from there. Your wedding photographer can really help with this part!

Build in buffers:

Things normally take longer than expected on wedding days! Plan for that and give yourself more time than you think you’ll need. You don’t want to be rushed and frantic; you want to actually be able to enjoy all the moments! Getting dressed may only seem like it should take a few minutes, but there are photos and reactions from the other people in the room and small adjustments that can make it take longer.

Give yourself time and set expectations

This kind of goes along with “build in buffers”, but give yourself enough time for things. Try and space them out a little bit. Those candid or really creative couple photos or wedding party photos you see on Pinterest that you love? You need time for those. Want to keep things meaningful and enjoy all your planning? You need time for that. Communicate with your family and wedding party about how important your timeline is and send them copies ahead time so everyone knows when to be where and what time they need to be ready.

First looks are wonderful

First looks are incredible for a lot of reasons. First and foremost, they’re a second for the two of you to have time alone together and take a deep breath before your ceremony. You can actually talk to each other and take a moment and get rid of any nerves and anxiety. Most couples feel so much more at ease once they see each other. A lot of times when a couple waits to see each other at the ceremony, they don’t get any time alone together the whole day. They go straight from the ceremony to family photos to dinner. First looks also help your timeline run more smoothly. Many of the photos can be done pre-ceremony so that after the ceremony you can join your guests and relax; you don’t have that “to do list” feeling hanging around.

Be flexible: A timeline is a guideline. Don’t forget that and don’t stress if things don’t go exactly according to plan minute by minute. Its stilly our day and you want it to be wonderful and romantic, not frenzied and stressed. At the end of the day the one thing that really matters is you’re marrying the love of your life surrounded by people who love you!


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