Why Your Wedding Needs A Timeline

Uncategorized Jul 29, 2020

Every couple hopes that their wedding day will go off without a hitch! 

The best way to make that happen?

A wedding timeline.

It's SO important that everyone participating in your special day has a copy of your timeline. The DJ, your photographer, your caterer, and your always tardy great-aunt Sally.

The last thing you need to be doing on your special day is to spend your time worrying or keeping track of what might need to happen next. With a timeline, your next step is already planned.

Keep reading to find out why this is SO vital and how to create your own.


A wedding timeline is different than the condensed version your guests will receive. Rather, it's an itemized list of everything that needs to happen, the order, and the amount of time allowed. 

It starts with your wedding party, and though it can be tedious to make, as you fill in the time slots you'll begin to see that even a tentative plan is just SO helpful.

I've photographed A LOT of weddings as an Idaho Wedding Photographer. I've also assisted in planning a lot of weddings for friends and family because of my experience with weddings.

Those without a plan, they kinda fall apart! 

Once completed, the timeline should be distributed to everyone in your wedding party, as well as extended family who will be included in post-ceremony photographs. This will ensure that they stick around, instead of running off to the reception.

Make sure you stress the importance of the timeline. Keep multiple copies around on the big day, that way you don't have to field a million questions about who/what/when - you can simply refer them to the timeline.


Before you get started creating your wedding day timeline, you should have booked all of your vendors, so you know who and what to fit in. Otherwise, you will probably end up rewriting it several times!

To get started, sit down and begin penciling in things to do and the estimated time each task should take. It should look similar to the following list:

12:00 - Getting Ready & Style Details

12:45 - All Hair and Makeup Finished

1:00 - Dress On & Final Touches

1:30 - First Look & Couple Portraits

2:30 - Wedding Party

3:00 - Family Portraits

3:30 - Break & Details of the Venue

4:00 - Ceremony Begins

4:30 - Ceremony Ends

4:40 - The Couple First Married Pictures

5:00 - Grand Entrance to Reception

5:05 - Speeches/dinner etc...

6:00 - First Dance

6:30 - Sunset Pictures with The Couple

8:00 - Cake Cutting

8:30 - Bouquet and Garter

9:45 - Grand Exit

There you have it! That is just one of MANY sample timelines you can use. It will all depend on your priorities for the day!

Here is a second, although still similar timeline. It has a few more things you may want to consider! 

10:30 a.m. Start getting ready / Hair & makeup artists arrive

12:00 – 2:00 p.m. Photographer, videographer, and other vendors arrive

2:00 p.m. Bride's hair & makeup

2:30 p.m. Bride begins getting dressed

2:45 p.m. Bridal portraits

3:00 p.m. Bridal photos with Bridesmaids

3:30 p.m. First look with Bride & Groom

3:30 – 4:10 p.m. Bride & Grooms photos

4:10 – 5:00 p.m. Wedding party photos & family photos

5:30 p.m. Ceremony starts

5:50 p.m. Ceremony ends

5:50 – 6:00 p.m. Family and group photos

6:00 – 7:00 p.m. Cocktail hour, move guests into the reception room by 6:55 p.m.

7:00 p.m. Grand entrance / Reception starts

7:10 p.m. Dinner begins

9:00 p.m. Speeches & toasts

9:25 p.m. Cake cutting

9:30 p.m. First dance, followed by parent dances

9:45 p.m. Open up the dance floor to guests

11:30 p.m. Reception ends


One thing I have found that makes a difference in the final images a bride gets of their day is when they include me as the photographer in the early stages of the timeline creation.

I can gather what your main priorities to be captured are, and then I can tell you how long each of those things will take. This way, you don't desperately want sunset pictures with your new hubby but forgot to plan it out. Or you don't accidentally plan 5 minutes for family portraits... you're going to need more time than that! 

You can find a lot of different timeline examples on the internet, just search Google! But if you are planning a wedding with me, come in for an extra consult (free of course!) and I can sit down and help you. I've done it a lot and I know exactly how much time is required for each task!


A few things to think about when you're designing your day... fit these into my sample timeline or use it to design your own!

  • Waking up and eating breakfast
  • Wedding party arriving
  • Wedding party hair and makeup, getting dressed
  • Bride hair and makeup, getting dressed
  • Groom and groomsmen preparation
  • Pre-wedding photos at the accommodation and/or first look
  • Ceremony transport
  • Ceremony proceedings
  • Post-ceremony photos
  • Cocktail hour (including food and beverage service)
  • Reception entrance (guests)
  • Reception entrance (wedding party)
  • Dinner service
  • Speeches
  • First dance
  • Family dances
  • Dance floor opens
  • Cake cutting
  • Reception exit


Hopefully, you now can see the HUGE benefit to having a timeline prepared. It sounds awful, but get it set in stone and then have someone in charge of moving things forward on time, whether it's the maid of honor or your wedding planner. (it just shouldn't be you!)

Are you currently seeking a wedding photographer? 

I travel throughout Idaho for weddings, and can also be hired for overseas travel. (ask me about my weddings in Spain and France, they were amazing!)

If you want more information about my wedding packages, send me an email at [email protected] and I would love to chat with you!



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