How to Plan Your Wedding Day Timeline

(+ a FREE Wedding Day Timeline Download!)

Hey friend, and welcome back!

I know how stressful wedding planning can be. One of the areas I get asked about a LOT by my brides is the timeline of their wedding day. Some of the most common questions I get are:

  • What should it look like?
  • How much time should they set aside to get ready?
  • When should they do family formals?
  • How long will pictures take?

If you've asked yourself any of these questions, or felt at all confused or worried about your wedding day timeline, then this blog post is for you! Keep reading, friend!

As a professional wedding photographer, one of my primary jobs outside of taking photos is making sure that my couples have a well thought-out wedding day timeline. When I'm creating a timeline for a couple, I always start with 3 questions:

  1. When is your ceremony?
  2. Do you want to do a first look?
  3. Where are your ceremony and reception taking place, and where are you getting ready?

These details are important for me to know up front for a few reasons:

  • The ceremony time is what I plan the entire day around; that time is the anchor for the whole timeline.
  • Whether or not you decide to do a first look will affect when we do the majority of portraits during the day.
  • Where your ceremony and reception are taking place and where you're getting ready will affect travel times throughout the entire day.

Once I know these specific details, I am then able to start building the couples timeline!

I always start building the timeline with the ceremony time and work backwards. If I know the ceremony is going to be at 2pm, then I start the timeline with writing down the ceremony time, and work back towards the morning. Guests need to start being seated by 1:30, which means the Bride needs to be in hiding by 1:20, which means all portraits need to be wrapped up by 1:10, and so on and so forth. I continue building the timeline backwards until I reach the time when the ladies should start getting ready.

Once I've built the timeline leading up to the ceremony, I then work through the day following the ceremony and through the reception. If the ceremony is at 2:00 and is a standard 30 minutes, then family formals should take place at 2:40. Family formals normally take 20 minutes, which means "just married" portraits of the Bride and Groom can start at 3:00. I keep building throughout the rest of the day from there!

I know it can be difficult knowing how much time to allocate towards specific events, which is why I have this FREE timeline template for you! Click the button below to access the template!

With this template you can plug in your own times (starting with your ceremony time), add your own images, and download when finished!

Hopefully this template makes your timeline planning process as seamless and stress-free as possible! If you know someone who this may be helpful for, you can share it using one of the social links below. :)


Katie xx