When it comes to your wedding, timing is everything! 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 annoy your guests).
Check out these tips on creating a wedding day timeline that will help your wedding run like clockwork!
Think about your wedding’s unique logistics
There are several decisions you’ll need to make before you can start creating your wedding day timeline. If you can answer these questions, you’re probably ready to start creating your wedding schedule!
- Will you be getting ready at your ceremony location or somewhere else (like a hotel with a room block reserved for you and your guests)?
- Are your ceremony and reception in separate locations? If so, you’ll have to factor travel time into your wedding timeline.
- Will you be providing transportation for your wedding party members and/or guests? If so, this can make travel a bit smoother and quicker.
- Are you planning on having a “first look” and doing photos before the ceremony? Or would you rather wait until cocktail hour to do couple and group portraits?
- How long will your ceremony be? This will require a discussion with your officiant.
- Will your cocktail hour take place between the ceremony and reception or before the ceremony?
- Will you have a receiving line?
- How many toasts or special dances will you have?
- Does your reception venue have a curfew, meaning you’ll have to end the reception at a specific time? Your wedding reception timeline will be tighter if you have to end the party at a predetermined time.
- Are you doing a first dance or other ceremonial dances at your reception?
- How much time is included in your vendors’ contracts? How long will your photographers (DJ/band, videographer, etc.) be present at your wedding?
- Are you hosting an after-party or parties?
Start your wedding timeline from scratch
Every wedding is different, so copying a wedding timeline template you found on the internet word-for-word is probably not going to work for your big day (of course you can use these templates as inspiration, though!). Start fresh, and use your ceremony time as a starting point. Make a list of all of the events (getting ready, photo sessions, cocktail hour, first dance) that need to happen before and after the ceremony and then determine how long each of these will take. You can then start to plot your wedding day agenda accordingly. Check out the wedding timeline template below as a guide (but again, don’t copy this verbatim for your wedding!):