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The Importance of a Wedding Day Timeline and How to Create One

Wedding Day Timeline captured by Joe Kinerman

The wedding day is undoubtedly one of the most important days in a person's life. It’s a day filled with love, excitement, and celebration. However, planning the perfect wedding can be overwhelming and stressful without proper organisation and let's face it, not everyone has the luxury of a wedding planner.

Having a solid timeline ensures that your special day runs smoothly, leaving you to focus on what truly matters - creating unforgettable memories with your loved ones.

So let’s explore the importance of having a well-planned wedding day timeline and guide you through creating one that suits your needs perfectly. From setting realistic timelines for suppliers to accounting for unexpected events – we've got all the tips and tricks you need to make sure your big day goes off without any hitches! So sit back, relax, and let us help you start planning for an unforgettable wedding experience!

What is a Wedding Day Timeline?

A wedding day timeline is a schedule of events for the day of the wedding. This timeline should be created in advance and sent to all involved parties, such as the venue, photographer, videographer, and officiant etc. If you don’t have a planner to help you, then you will be responsible for setting this up for yourselves and the timeline will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and that the day runs smoothly.

Unless you are having a cultural event, like a Hindu celebration, the wedding day timeline will usually start with your ceremony, then afterwards, there is are reception drinks where guests can mingle and celebrate and this is your opportunity to have family and couple photos.

The reception can last anywhere from 1-2 hours, depending on the size and formality of the wedding. Just remember the longer the reception drinks, the more money you pay on drinks (in case you are on a tighter budget)

It is important to note any special events that will be taking place during the day, such as speeches, cake cutting, first dance, bouquet toss. These events can be listed in order that they happen on the timeline so that everyone knows when they are supposed to happen. Having a well-planned timeline will help make your wedding day run smoothly and stress-free!

I would give 10 mins for your cake cutting, to factor getting the Bride and Groom to the cake itself, getting all your guests to come forward and join you and of course the all important cut.

Speeches, I normally factor in around 30 mins for 3-5 speakers, but you will know your own speakers to know if this is long enough or too long.

Why is it Important to Have a Wedding Day Timeline?

It is important to have a wedding day timeline for a number of reasons. First, it ensures that the day runs smoothly and that all of the scheduled events happen in a timely manner. It means that all your suppliers can run to the same timeline that will help keep things on track.

Second, it should allow you to enjoy your wedding day without having to worry about the little details.

Third, it keeps your guests informed about what is happening and when, so they can be sure to be where they need to be at the right time. (in the event you don’t have a planner doing this)

Creating a wedding day timeline can seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be. Start by sitting down with your partner and discussing what you both want out of the day.

Do you want a traditional ceremony followed by reception drinks, wedding breakfast and dancing, or are you looking for something more unique? Once you have an idea of the overall flow of the day, you can start putting together a list of must-have photos and events.

From there, reach out to your suppliers and get their input on timings. Your photographer will need time for shots of just the two of you as well as group photos with your wedding party and guests. Make sure to factor in travel time between locations (as small as room to room), as well as any set-up or breakdown time for rentals like furniture or lighting. Once you have all of this information, you can start piecing together your timeline.

Don't forget to leave some wiggle room in your timeline in case things run behind schedule - it happens! And most importantly, remember to relax and enjoy your special day!

What Should be Included in the Timeline?

There are a few key elements that should be included in any wedding day timeline, no matter what the size or scope of the event. First and foremost, you'll need to leave plenty of time to do your bridal prep. This is especially important for the bride, but all members of the wedding party should plan to have their hair and makeup done well in advance of the ceremony.

Next, you'll need to factor in travel time. If you're getting married in a different location to where you live, account for travel time, as well as any other transportation you'll need to get to your ceremony and reception venues.

Of course, you'll also need to allot time for the actual ceremony itself. How long your ceremony will take will depend on a variety of factors and how many many readings or musical selections you have planned etc. You will normally be guided by your Registrar, Officient, Priest, Pastor etc.

After the ceremony comes reception drinks and then dinner. Again, how long these events will last will depend on your specific plans, but it's important to leave enough time between them so that your guests can mingle and aren't left feeling rushed and give you time for photos.

Keeping on time for your wedding

Other elements to consider in your timeline, not necessarily in this order

Time for guests to get seated

Cake Cutting

First Dance


Bouquet toss

Any erformances

Evening Party

Evening food


Evening guests arrivals

How to Create an Effective Wedding Day Timeline

By mapping out a detailed schedule of the events leading up to, during, and after your ceremony and reception, you can avoid any potential stressful situations and ensure that everyone knows what needs to happen and when.

While every wedding will be different and require a unique timeline, there are some key elements that should be included in all timelines. Here are a few tips for creating an effective wedding day timeline:

1. Start with a rough outline of the sequence of events. You don't need to get too specific at this stage. Factor in hair and makeup, photos, the ceremony, reception drinks and evening party.

2. Begin planning your timeline during your planning process so that you can advise suppliers when you may want them to arrive and set up. Then 6-8 weeks before your wedding date give it a tweak as you should know by then what time is needed.

3. Make sure to leave buffer time between each event. No one wants to feel like they're being rushed from one thing to the next on their wedding day! Build in the odd 5/10 mins buffer in case anything runs behind schedule you can get back on track later.

4. Delegate tasks to trusted family and friends.

Tips for Sticking to the Wedding Day Timeline

It's no secret that wedding days can be hectic.

Make a list of must-take photos beforehand. Discuss with your photographer which shots are most important to you and make sure they're factored into the timeline first.

Factor in time for moving guests from location to location, this will soon steal your timeline and make you run late. I always find a lovely warm day and guests mingling outside, nobody wants to come inside to sit down for food, so that can be a challenge on it’s own, so make sure you build in time for human movement in your day and you’ll be good!

So as you can see creating a wedding day timeline is an essential part of planning your big day. It allows you to take control of your day, rather than it controlling what you do with your day and helps ensure that everything runs smoothly. With a little bit of time and effort, you can create a stress-free schedule for your special day that will make it one you’ll never forget.

If you are worried, we plan to start running free wedding planning zoom calls this month for nearly weds to jump in for advice as we appreciate without a help of a professional planner, sometimes you just need a little helping hand. So make sure you sign up for our mailing list to get wind of when these will happen and come and join us on our page and wait for the notification when these start.

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