Typical Wedding Timeline
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The perfect wedding is one that's been timed to perfection. From first look to first dance, every moment must be thoughtfully placed within a wedding day timeline. Otherwise, events may overrun, details could be missed, and you'll end up with a ceremony and reception that doesn't feel like you'd dreamed it would.
No matter what style of big day you're planning, a solid wedding itinerary is a must. Especially if you're struggling with visualizing the day itself. Breaking down the day into chunks of 30 minutes or less, will help you find gaps in the schedule, and ensure your entire day runs smoothly. Making it an endlessly useful task, regardless of what stage of wedding planning you're at.
Putting together a well-thought-out wedding timeline from scratch is, however, no mean feat, especially if this is your first experience of putting together an event. Which is why we created our Wedding Day Timeline Template, a completely free tool that'll help you craft the perfect big day schedule. All the key events a typical wedding timeline would feature are already there, and can be easily moved around, adjusted and perfected to suit your special day. Which is key when creating the perfect wedding day timeline, as no two celebrations are the same. A sample wedding day should always only be used as a base to create your own unique wedding schedule from.
Typical Wedding Timeline
— Wake Up, Shower
— Hair and makeup
— Everyone gets dressed
— Lunch or Snack
— Photographer Arrives
— Photo Session
— Photos with family
— Photos with guests
— Limo Arrives
— Arrive to Ceremony
— I Do!
— Cocktails and Photos
— All travel to reception
— Grand Entrance
— First Dance
— Toasts Prayers
— Party Time!
— Cut Cake
— Firework & Send Off
— Grand Exit
- Typical Wedding Day Timeline Tips
- Give Yourself Time
- Start Early
- Use Your Wedding Photography Time Wisely
- Wedding Readings & Unity Ceremonies
- Don't Gate Keep the Timeline of Your Wedding
- Plan Events Around the Setting of the Sun
Typical Wedding Day Timeline Tips
To help you get the best out of our wedding day timeline template, we thought we'd share a few tips on how best to put together your own play-by-play.
Creating a typical wedding day timeline is about balancing structure with flexibility. It’s a tool to help you enjoy the day to its fullest, ensuring that each moment, from the ceremony to the final dance, is a cherished memory.
Give Yourself Time
Your wedding day will be unlike any other day you've experienced, and it's almost impossible to accurately predict how long any every step on the wedding day schedule will take. Even journeys in your hometown you've taken countless times before, will suddenly take longer, or offer up delays you've otherwise never experienced. The process of getting ready will also be nothing like the ritual you go through every day. And however much you want to cut down hair and makeup time on the day, to squeeze in extra events, it will always take longer than you anticipated. And you'll end up rushing wedding dress preparations, and special time with your bridesmaids. Not a good way to begin your day.
Add extra time to every section of your wedding reception timeline, and ensure the lead up to your ceremony is relaxed. Don't force extra moments with your wedding photographer into the schedule, at the expense of your enjoyment of the day.
Following on from the last point, if you do want to plan extra portraits, or bring to life fun suggestions from your wedding planner, you need to start early. Even if you're working with an evening wedding timeline, it pays to get up before you need to. For example, if your ceremony start time is 4pm, don't leave getting ready until midday. Start before 9am, and get your hair and makeup done early. That way, your photography timeline is suddenly a lot more flexible, and you'll be able to tick off countless shots with the wedding party and family, way before you would have done. Saving you, and them, from missing out on catch up time with loved ones later on in the day.
Use Your Wedding Photography Time Wisely
Wedding photographers typically offer packages based on time spent shooting. Be that 8 hours of coverage, 4 hours, or even just capturing the ceremony and a couple of portraits. For this reason, we always advise using a wedding timeline template fairly early on when planning a wedding, as it will help you decide which type of package you should choose. While also ensuring that every shot is planned to perfection.
During the introduction, you should also expect the order of service to be explained, along with a few words behind the meaning of certain elements.
Wedding Readings & Unity Ceremonies
Wedding readings offer a delightful opportunity to share just how you feel about your partner, and your relationship. Whether you decide to recite a poem, book, film script or write your own words. A good ceremony reading rarely fails to leave a dry eye in the house. If you would like to bring an extra dynamic to this part of the ceremony, consider bringing in loved ones to speak on your behalf, or share their own thoughts.
Keep in mind that even if you've booked an 8-hour package with your photographer, for example, that length of time may not be enough to capture every detail from start to finish. Look at your timeline, and every wedding moment you want photographed, and let that guide both your schedule, and the type of photography package you select. If you want your getting ready moments captured, and the cutting of your cake, maybe move forward festivities within your reception space to ensure nothing is missed.
Don't Gate Keep the Timeline of Your Wedding
Good event planningrelies on excellent communication. And while you may have put together the ultimate wedding timeline all on your own, you're now going to need to share it! Almost every wedding vendor involved in your celebration will benefit from understanding the timeline of your entire wedding day. From catering and hair stylists, through to the DJ and entertainers. Even the best man and maid of honor should be given a copy, especially if you want them in charge of keeping vendors in check.
The benefit of using an online wedding timeline template such as ours, is that you can quickly and easily invite wedding party members and vendors to join your wedding planning project. Providing them with instant access to the information they need to help you. Rather just email your timeline? In one click you can export your schedule, ready to be emailed off to whoever needs it.
Plan Events Around the Setting of the Sun
Any wedding day moment looks just that bit more spectacular when captured during golden hour. That magical time around sunrise and sunset when the world is bathed in a hazy, warm glow. Softening edges, and offering couples a wonderfully romantic backdrop to their portraits.
Any wedding photography team will attempt to at least capture your couple portraits around golden hour. But if there are other moments you would rather take place during this time, such as your ceremony, or maybe cocktail hour - let that inform your reception schedule.
If you're prepared to really start early on the day, you could make the most of both golden hours. A lot of eloping couples choose to have their ceremony around sunrise, as it gives the moment such a dreamy quality. And as they're marrying without guests, they don't need to worry about dragging the father of the bride out of his bed super early just for the wedding ceremony!
As long as your photographer is happy to start early, you could arrange to have portraits taken at sunrise. The first look is a special shot anyway, but imagine if it was captured during golden hour! Followed by your portraits. This would certainly lengthen the traditional wedding timeline, but it would be worth it to get those unique shots!
In wrapping up the topic of a typical wedding timeline, it's clear that the key to a perfect wedding day timeline lies in careful planning and consideration of sample timelines. These samples serve as a blueprint, helping couples to envision their day and keep everything on track. From the early morning preparations to the final dance of the night, a well-thought-out timeline ensures that every moment is accounted for, and the day unfolds seamlessly. By tailoring these sample timelines to your specific needs and desires, you can create a customized schedule that not only maintains the day's flow but also reflects the unique essence of your celebration. Remember, a meticulously planned timeline is the secret to a stress-free, joyous wedding day where every moment is cherished.
Explore other topics related to wedding timeline
The online Wedding Planning Assistant provides a wide range of professional tools, including a detailed wedding timeline, meticulously designed to aid you in the coordination and organization of your special celebration.
We offer an international wedding planner service, open to all. Soon we hope to make our software available in all languages, so far, we have created versions for these languages: