Wedding Day Timeline Tips

You’ve hired your vendors, paid your deposits, and nailed down all of your details–except your timeline. Sure, you think, that’s pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things, right?


Your wedding timeline is the governing factor of your event, and the way in which you construct it can, and will, seriously affect the trajectory of your day. The time of your ceremony, the way you schedule your photographers, and your reception dinner details will all impact the pacing of your wedding and the amount of time you have to work with. Below are a few wedding timeline tips to ensure that your big day is everything you want it to be and more!

  • Ceremony time. Although this one may seem obvious, it’s not as simple as it seems. Are you dreaming of a formal, black-tie wedding with hand-passed champagne and plated meals? Then you definitely don’t want a 3 PM ceremony, which is more appropriate for a casual, just-friends-and-family fete. Furthermore, your ceremony timeline should be in line with your venue rental; if your venue requires that clean up is complete and everyone is off-premise by 11 PM, then a 7 o’clock ceremony likely won’t give you enough time for thorough photography, a full reception, and a few games before open dancing. Know what you want, and be smart about how to use your time.
  • First look vs. real-time. A first look is a short photography session which occurs before the ceremony and captures (you guessed it) the first moment a couple sees one another on their wedding day. Doing a first look is also a great way to increase the amount of time you can spend with your guests, shorten your post-ceremony cocktail hour (which is typically when the majority of couple photos take place), and move your dinner up earlier. However, doing a first look may be a disadvantage to the more traditional couple who wants that magical moment to happen during the walk to the altar.
  • Length of photography coverage. When considering which photography package to book, take into consideration the length of your day and the different activities you have planned. While a three-hour package may be more cost-effective, remember that you will probably end up rushing through your day in order to get all of the photographs you want rather than enjoying the individual moments of your wedding. Contrastingly, if you’re planning a lunchtime wedding with a very casual, informal reception, you probably don’t want to book an eight-hour photography package that will stretch the boundaries of your day beyond what you really wanted.
  • Plated vs. buffet dinner. If you’re trying to minimize the amount of time it takes for your guests to eat in order to get to games and open dancing, a buffet-style dinner is the most efficient choice. If your reception is more concerned with mingling, or if every other aspect of your wedding is decidedly formal, you may want to opt for a plated dinner. Just don’t forget that this also means that each course requires a certain amount of time to be served and cleared, and you may have less time for things like your cake-cutting, bouquet toss, or sparkler exit in relation to your photography coverage and your venue rental.

Do you have other suggestions to consider while crafting a wedding day timeline? Let us know by filling out the form below. Otherwise, we’ll be back next week!