One of the most stressful parts about wedding planning (despite the whole process being incredibly overwhelming) is creating a wedding day timeline! It is not only essential, but it is crucial to have to eliminate day-of stress and any type of scheduling conflicts. This will allow everyone - and I mean, everyone, from the make-up/hair vendors, to your mother-in-law, to the DJ, and everyone in-between - to be on the same page. It is your wedding and you have some sort of vision to exactly how you want your day to go but scheduling too much or too little time for certain things can cause lags, boredom, or even straight-up chaos.
We definitely recommend building a rough wedding day timeline in the start of the planning process, rather than waiting until the very end. As you continue to hire more vendors, you will be able to start envisioning your day - and can often spot timing mishaps early on.
Plan with your vendors
specifically your photographer and planner.
You need collaboration between vendors to give input so you are able to build a realistic wedding day timeline. As a wedding photographer myself, I always encourage my couples to allow thirty to forty minutes for golden hour bridal portraits (this will create the warm, romantic, glowy portraits I am known for!). If you do not have a planner, talk to your venue! They are definitely a great resource since they are consistently hosting weddings and know, from experience, what timelines typically work best.
START with your ceremony.
Usually the venue gives you a rough time for the start of your ceremony. Start with this and work backwards. Creating a simple timeline gives you an idea of where to add more detail. While working backward, go all the way to the time you wake up, go back to your ceremony and work towards the end of the night starting with major events - grand entrances, toasts, dances, cake cutting, etc - then add all the additional details around these events.
Transportation also takes time.
Taking time to figure out traveling time is super important for creating a timeline for photography. If you are not sticking to the same location from hair and makeup all the way to the end of reception, it might knock off a decent chunk of time between locations in transit. Also take in consideration that there might be guests that are NOT familiar with the area and unsure of traffic patterns or differences between locations. When creating a timeline, hop on google and estimate the travel time is between locations and ADD a buffer; this way your timeline is realistic (when is teleportation going to become a thing?). Things typically take longer than they are planned, so add a buffer so the day continues to go smoothly. Forgetting this detail will throw off your entire timeline for your wedding day.
SPEAKING OF BUFFERS
No matter what point of the timeline you are creating and how you are envisioning your day, add buffer time through out the day. For example, you're thinking that your ceremony is only going to last twenty minutes (pretty typically) then put on the timeline it is for thirty minutes. Google tells you it take eleven minutes to get from the first look to the ceremony, round up to fifteen. If you are doing a first look and have no traveling, finish up those photographs and allow thirty minutes of downtime before the ceremony. This will allow you to BREATHE, relax and to take your time enjoying your day. This will also protect the rest of your timeline if things are being delayed.
Also, I highly recommend scheduling about fifteen minutes of cocktail hour where you and your newly-announced spouse can soak up the moments. You did it, you're married and we want you to enjoy the day.
Sample of Day of Wedding Timeline:
Here is a wedding day timeline template that you can keep on your wedding Pinterest board!