How To Create The Perfect Wedding Timeline

You have the venue selected, the vendors chosen, the dress ordered, everything feels organized and ready to go until all at once you realize, you don’t know what time you want all the aspects of your big day to fall into place!

Yes, this is common. The timeline of your day is something that can easily be overlooked after booking that perfect venue. However, there is no need to fret! Although all weddings occur at different time frames, depending on where and when your ceremony takes place, this guide can help in creating the perfect wedding timeline and allow for a realistic approach in the timing of things!


10:00 am: Get Ready!

Right now, the bride and her bridesmaids need to begin getting their hair and makeup done as well as the guys need to be getting ready too.  The groom and his groomsmen could pull off getting ready at 11:00 am.

12:00 – 2:00 pm: Vendor Arrival

Typically at this time, your vendors will be arriving to set up, test equipment, etc.

1:30 pm: Pictures Begin

Bridal party, family and possibly bride and groom pictures should be taken. However, if you are keeping it traditional and don’t want to see each other until after the ceremony, pictures of the bride and groom can be taken at the cocktail hour.  

3:30 pm: Guest Arrival Begins and Pre-Ceremony Music Kicks Off

4:00 pm: “Start Time”

This is the time that is on the invites, however, you will have guests that arrive late in addition to those who will arrive early. It is a smart tip to actually begin ten to fifteen minutes after this time.

4:10-15 pm: Ceremony Begins

4:45 pm: Ceremony Ends

Allow for an allotted time of about 30 minutes for the ceremony.  

5:00 pm: Cocktail Hour Starts

In addition, bride and groom pictures are being taken at this time as well.

6:00 pm: Cocktail Hour Ends, Seating for Dinner Begins

6:20 pm: Bridal Party Entrance

6:30 pm: Welcome Announcement and/or Blessing

6:40 pm: Dinner is Served!

The timing of dinner is crucial on the type of dinner you are having (buffet, plated, stationed). Make sure to ask your venue or caterer on how long typically the type of dinner you decide to go with takes to serve your amount of guests.

7:10 pm: Toasts

7: 20 pm: Cake Cutting

I suggest having the cake cutting after the toasts. This allows for a smooth transition into the first dance.

7:30 pm: First Dance

At this time, the waitstaff will serve dessert or the dessert will be displayed

7:35 pm: Father/Daughter Dance

7:40 pm: Mother/Son Dance

After these dance are finished, any other special dances the couple wishes to have take place.

7:45 pm: Dance Floor Opens to Guests

8:30 – 9:00 pm: Garter and Bouquet Toss

10:45 pm: Last Call

10:55 pm: Last Song

11:00 pm: Send Off


Photo:  Jessica Strickland Photography