5 Easy Steps For a Successful Wedding Day Timeline

wedding day timeline

When it comes to planning a wedding, having a detailed day-of timeline is one of the most helpful ways to ensure that everything goes smoothly. From getting ready, to your first kiss, to your grand wedding exit, here are some of our top pointers for creating a perfect wedding day timeline.

1. Factor in extra time for hair and makeup

Experts agree that hair and makeup for the bridal party almost always take longer than anticipated. When creating your wedding day timeline, be sure to allot plenty of time—factoring in extra time for hairstyle changes and makeup modifications. Once you decide how long you think your makeup and hair will take, add an additional hour of buffer time to ensure you remain on schedule no matter what.

2. Plan for your guests to arrive early

Guests typically begin to arrive at the wedding 30 minutes before the designated start time. Be sure to factor this into your wedding day timeline, having everything set up and pre-ceremony music ready to start about 30 minutes before the actual ceremony. If you are taking pre-ceremony photos in the church or venue, be sure that you are safely hidden away at least half an hour beforehand so that you don’t end up chatting with guests as they arrive.

3. Set a time limit for toasts

Yes, toasts can be a meaningful and memorable part of your wedding reception, but they also can drag on—leaving guests bored and delaying your reception timeline. When it comes to planned speeches for the best man, maid of honor, and family members, be sure to discuss length in advance. Research has found that speeches that are three to five minutes in length are best. Brides.com also suggests dispersing the speeches throughout the reception, rather than having them all at once. This is an easy way to ensure guests don’t lose interest.

4. Don’t forget to factor in plenty of time for photos

Photos can be one of the most time-consuming activities in a wedding day timeline and are also dependent on lighting, so it is important to plan this segment of your wedding day timeline very well. In order to get all of the photos that you want, create a list of shots for your photographer a few weeks before the wedding. This will allow them to streamline the process for an efficient day-of timeline. Planning on sunset photos? This is one of the best times of day to capture beautiful images, so be sure to consider when the sun sets while planning.

5. Make sure to schedule your wedding exit

As you plan the details of your wedding day timeline, don’t forget to factor in 10-15 minutes for your grand wedding send off! This can be one of the most memorable moments of your reception, and also an incredible opportunity for some final photos. Wedding planners suggest having the DJ or MC make an announcement before your getaway, directing friends and family to the appropriate exit location. If guests are lighting sparklers, blowing bubbles, or throwing rice, be sure that your wedding coordinator begins to distribute these materials about 10 minutes before you depart.