Wedding Day Timeline Rules Every Couple Should Follow

  • Publication date: 10/04/2022
  • Updated: 04/07/2023

Wedding planning usually starts at least a year in advance. If everything is carefully thought out, this day will be associated with only the best emotions and memories. All guests, as well as newlyweds, will be satisfied with the holiday. This way, you won't go from the joyful euphoria of the ceremony to confusion from unforeseen situations at the reception.

Experts recommend making a wedding day timeline sample with the purpose of not forgetting anything. In order for everything to go smoothly, you need to follow some rules. Here they are!

Ask Your Wedding Planner For Help

Rebecca Ou
Photo by Rebecca Ou

We mean the wedding timeline help. The professional is responsible for everything that happens during the day and all the way before it starts. They are skilled to solve all problems that may arise. Having a rich background in this sphere, the wedding planner is able to think through all the nuances in advance and create a few different wedding day timeline ideas just for you. Depending on the time of the ceremony, the time of the year, and other factors, the planner will adjust any wedding timeline template to your unique situation.

In case you’re planning the wedding on your own, here’s a detailed wedding day timeline example:

8:45 am Make-up and hair

10:15 am Shooting the details

12:15 pm Bridal portraits

12:45 pm Bride and groom depart for the venue

1:00 pm First look

2:30 pm Photoshoot with a wedding party

3:15 pm Family photos

3:45 pm Photographer and videographer capture the details of the venue

4:15 pm Guests take their places

4:30 pm Ceremony begins

5:00 pm Cocktail hour begins

6:10 pm Buffet ready

6:15 pm Move guests into dinner

6:20 pm Sunset Photos

6:40 pm Grand Entrance

7:15 pm Toasts

7:55 pm First dance

8:05 pm Open dance

9:00 pm Photographer and videographer depart

10:30 pm Last call

12 am - Out of the venue

This is the wedding day timeline considering that the ceremony and reception are in the same place. The main rule when adjusting this template to your own wedding is to start planning from the time of the ceremony.

Go To Bed Earlier The Day Before The Wedding
Photo by

You have to wake up earlier on the big day, approximately at 8 am. Don't forget to go to bed early the night before the wedding, you have to look great at your celebration.

Remember To Eat Your Breakfast!

Jessica Bordner Photo
Photo by Jessica Bordner Photo

Most brides are nervously rushing on the wedding morning and some of them skip breakfast. That can cause trouble later. Imagine you are standing at the altar and suddenly your eyes are cloudy, your head is spinning, and you feel that you’re about to pass out. In moments of excessive excitement, this is quite common. To prevent this, be sure to have breakfast and don’t drink champagne or other alcoholic beverages while hungry. Dehydration can also be one of the reasons for feeling unwell.

Leave Some Extra Time For The Morning Preps

Ivash Photographer
Photo by Volodymyr Ivash Photographer

Here’s a classic wedding timeline example of the bride's morning:

  1. On average, make-up and hair artists need 2-2.5 hours to create a bride's look.
  2. The photographer and videographer take 20-30 minutes to shoot the details.
  3. The photoshoot of the bride in a dress takes at least 30-40 minutes.
  4. The first look shoot may take up to 30 minutes, depending on the idea.

Double Check If Everything’s Going According To The Wedding Timeline

Krystal Balzer
Photo by Krystal Balzer

Contact all vendors and people who have any duties and make sure everyone copes with them and that no one is late. Remember that the bride and groom shouldn’t be responsible for monitoring the implementation of all tasks during the day. Let the professional keep track of time, while you’re having fun.

Be Ready That Something Will Go Wrong

Parm Masuta
Photo by Parm Masuta Photographer

Small troubles happen. No one is secured from an unfortunate coincidence of circumstances. Advice to remember: never let the tiny things spoil your perfect day. Experts recommend having this bridal emergency kit:

  1. Matting napkins
  2. A pair of comfortable shoes
  3. Adhesive plaster
  4. Makeup (especially lipstick)
  5. Paper handkerchiefs
  6. A sewing kit
  7. Jewelry cleaner
  8. Extra earrings
  9. Safety pins
  10. Deodorant
  11. Painkillers
  12. Tampons or pads
  13. Baby powder
  14. Hand lotion
  15. Bug spray
  16. Phone charger
  17. Stain remover

We hope there is no need to remind you to take passports and rings. Make sure you also have a second plan for your photosession in case of bad weather or other unpredictable circumstances.

Sometimes the light might suddenly go out. That’s why, it’s better to choose a venue that has its own generator, but, of course, this is not always possible. Stock up on several dozen candles in advance. The flickering light will add some magic atmosphere and may save your celebration from failure.

Add More Time For The Road

Myra Roman
Photo by Myra Roman Photographer

Due to the lack of time, the newlyweds often don’t have time to prepare for the shoot. All this negatively affects the result. Plan a photoshoot taking into account the time for driving around the city.

Make Sure Your Vendors Are One Team

Photo by @oliviamarshallphoto

It’s unlikely that anyone will be satisfied if the DJ plays dance music while the cake is being served. Or if the photographer doesn’t capture your first dance because he wasn’t updated with the change of the timeline. All your vendors must work as one team.

Add The Highlights To Your Wedding Timeline

Photo by @haintbluecollective

Such extremely important things as the bouquet toss, toasts, cake cutting, and many others are often taken for granted and not put into the wedding day timeline checklist. Pretty bad. If there’s no particular time for these moments, they may never happen at all.

Don’t Make Your Guests Hungry

Photo by @christianothstudio

If the ceremony and the reception take place in different venues, every effort should be made to shorten the time gap between them. If this can't be avoided, fill the pause with a buffet table.

Wedding Day Timeline Ideas

Photo by @angelpatriciaphoto

Here are some more templates on how to plan your big day!

Daytime Wedding Template

6:00 am Wake up

8:00 am Make-up and hair

10:00 am Put on the dress shoot

11:00 am Ceremony

12:00 am Reception begins

12:45 am Mealtime

14:00 am Dancing

15:45 am Grand exit

Brunch Wedding Reception Timeline

11:30 am Cocktail Hour / Wedding Party Photoshoot

11:40 am Grand Entrance

12:00 pm Brunch starts

12:45 pm Toasts

1:00 pm First Dance

2:00 pm Dessert / Cake cutting / Photos

2:30 pm Thank you speech

3:15 pm Couple departs

Sunset Ceremony Template

6:00 pm Family photos

6:30 pm Guests arrive

6:45 pm Ceremony starts

7:15 pm Cocktail hour

8:15 pm Dinner

10:15 pm Toasts

11:00 pm First Dance

12:00 am Cut the cake

Dance till dawn!

Wedding Weekend Timeline


6:30 pm Ceremony rehearsal

9:00 pm Bedtime


6:00 am Rise and shine

6:30 am Hair and make-up

8:00 am First look

11:30 am Welcome drinks at the venue

12:00 pm Ceremony starts

12:45 pm Cocktail hour

13:45 pm Reception starts

6:00 pm Pictures

7:30 pm After party at the hotel


9:00 am Brunch at the hotel

Kiss your guests goodbye and head for a honeymoon!

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Natali Grace Levine Editor-in-Chief

Manages The Wezoree's content strategy
Writes and edits articles for the Inspiration Blog