Wedding timelines usually don’t make anyone very excited. They can seem fussy, rigid and go against your ‘go with the flow’ nature. But they are so important and by giving them some thought, your big day will be more relaxed and enjoyable.
Before you begin creating a wedding timeline with your wedding coordinator or photographer, sit down with you fiance and decide what is most important to you both. It may be talking with guests, enjoying your meal or dancing your heart out. Whatever you choose, make sure it is the priority and plan your timeline around that.
It is also really important to include buffer time. Weddings never run to the minute and that’s okay! Spend an extra few moments with your dad before walking up the aisle or take some time alone with your new spouse. With extra time throughout the day, you are free from stress and able to focus on the important things. If you are ahead of schedule, no worries, you’ll get extra time with your guests at cocktail hour which is always nice. A good tip for increasing your buffer time is to generously round up. Your ceremony may only be 20 minutes but by giving it 30 minutes you allow for delays or a last minute decision to have a reception line.If you are up for a ‘first look’ and some formal photographs before the ceremony, this wedding timeline will allow you to spend lots of time with your guests throughout the day. Additionally, there is lots of buffer time (especially before the ceremony) to allow for morning delays and give you as much time as you’d like during your special ‘first look’. If there are a few tears, you will also have plenty of time for touch-ups before you walk down the aisle. I have also included a pre-sunset wedding portrait session just before the guests are seated for dinner. This can be a great addition as it allows you both to sneak away for fifteen minutes and take it all in as a married couple! The amazing light at this time will help make your relaxed photographs really beautiful. To make extra time for dancing, I have included the toast during the meal. If you prefer to wait till everyone has finished enjoying their food, you can of course move the toast a bit later and adjust the time accordingly. Another option is to have dessert served following the meal and have the toasts at this time. This pushes back the first dance a bit but as the dancing is uninterrupted it balances out nicely.
10:00am – Begin getting ready
12:00pm – Photographer arrives
2:00pm – First Look and Formal Photographs of wedding party and family
3:30pm – Guests begin to arrive
4:00pm – Ceremony begins
4:30pm – Ceremony ends
4:40pm – Cocktail hour starts
5:30pm – Pre-sunset wedding portraits (for early Fall weddings)
5:45pm – Guests sit for dinner
6:00pm – Dinner
6:30pm – Toasts
7:30pm – First Dance
7:35pm – Dancing
8:30pm – Dessert
9:45pm – Last Call
10:00pm – Guests Depart
Remember, your timeline isn’t set in stone, it is a guideline to help create a day that is perfect for you both. A bit of flexibility goes a long way and can help everyone enjoy a day that is comfortable, relaxed and fun!