Guide: How to Write the Perfect Wedding Day Timeline

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the task of creating a wedding day timeline, have no fear! One of the most common questions that we get from couples is “how do I write a wedding day timeline?” This can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be.

In this blog post, we will walk you through everything that you need to know in order to create a timeline for your big day!

Preparing your wedding day timeline

Before you can even start writing your wedding day timeline, you need to sit down and have an idea of the following items.

Who is responsible for creating the timeline?

For each wedding, this will be different. If you hired a wedding planner or coordinator, they will typically play a major role in planning and writing your timeline for you. They’re the ones who will communicate with all the vendors coordinating estimated times and such to make sure that your wedding day is planned out with the moving parts in mind.

If you’re not hiring a wedding coordinator for your wedding day, then typically it is on the couples to plan their wedding day timeline. That being said, if you’re hiring a professional photographer to capture your big day, they may be able to help you out with a lot of the timeline – especially to ensure there is enough time to capture all the major events. Writing a wedding day timeline draft for our couples is a service we offer complimentary in all of our photography packages.

When should you start working on your wedding timeline?

As soon as you book your date, venue, planner, and photographer, you should start working on your timeline. Some vendors, such as your wedding coordinator and photographer, will likely give input or help you write your timeline. Being organized, planning ahead, and making sure you have enough time allotted for each part of the day will be important to get a head start on.

Details to know before writing your wedding day timeline

Your timeline should include all of the major events that will take place on your wedding day, from start to finish. This means that you will need to know the following information before you can start creating your timeline:

  • What time you have access to your wedding venue
  • How long it will take to get ready (ex: hair and makeup for the bride and bridesmaids)
  • When you would like to do a first look (if you are doing one)
  • How long you would like to spend taking wedding photos before the ceremony
  • How long you would like to spend taking wedding photos after the ceremony
  • What is the number of people that are in the wedding party and family photos
  • The time of your ceremony
  • How long your wedding ceremony will last
  • The location of your wedding reception
  • The start time of your wedding reception
  • When you would like to have your grand entrance into the reception
  • What time your wedding cake will be cut
  • When you would like to do your first dance
  • What other events will be taking place during the reception
  • When you would like to do your last dance
  • What time your wedding reception will end

As you can see, there is a lot of information that you will need to gather before you can start creating your timeline.

What should you include in your wedding day timeline?

One of the most important things to keep in mind when writing your timeline is that photography takes time. A lot of couples make the mistake of thinking that they can just wing it on the day of, but that’s usually not the case. It’s important to allot enough time for your photographer to capture all of the special moments on your big day.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when writing your timeline:

Make sure you allow plenty of time for getting ready photos. This is one of the most important parts of the day from a photographer’s perspective, so you’ll want to make sure you give us enough time to capture all of the details.

Think about the light. When getting ready, is there enough natural light for your hair and makeup artists? What time of year are you getting married and what time does the sun set? Do you want to do golden hour photos? When it comes to wedding photography, lighting is everything. Make sure you allow enough time for your photographer to take advantage of the best light throughout the day.

Consider your locations. If you’re planning on doing a first look, make sure you allow enough time to get to the location and back. The same goes for couples portraits and family photos. We’ll need to factor in travel time when writing your timeline.

How big are your group photos? The larger the groups, the more time it will take to accomplish those photos. We always recommend keeping family photos simple by doing immediate family and grandparents.

Wedding Day Timeline Example

12:00 – Photographer Arrives (Getting ready, dress, details and drone shots)
12:30 – Bride puts on dress (bridal portraits)
12:45 – Groom heads to first look location (groom shots)
1:00 – First look, letter reading, couple photos
2:00 – Bridal party photos
3:00 – Family Photos
4:00 – Hide away for Ceremony (eat something, drink water, have time alone together)
4:30 – Ceremony Starts
5:00 – Ceremony ends – cocktail hour begins
6:00 – Grand entrance
6:15 – Dinner starts
6:30 – Speeches
7:00 – Cake cutting and dessert served
7:30 – Start Dances (couple’s first dance, father daughter, mother son, then open dance)
8:30 – Golden hour photos
8:45 – Sunset
10:00 – Sparkler sendoff, photography coverage done afterwards

About Us

Hi! We’re Luke and Halle, a husband and wife photography team based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We started Lulle Photo in 2016 as a way to capture the happiest moments of people’s lives. Our specialty is weddings and elopements, but we offer photography and videography services to clients of all kinds.

What makes us unique is our focus on storytelling. We believe that every photo or video should tell a story, and we work hard to capture those special moments that will be remembered for a lifetime.

If you are looking for someone to capture your wedding day, whether that be photo or video, we’d love to connect and see if we’d be a good fit working together. Contact us to get the conversation started! To stay up to date on our work, follow us on Instagram!

Looking for more wedding planning resources? You may also want to check out:

It's about helping you remember not only what it looked like, but also what it felt like through authentic and candid memories documented.

We value relationship with you above all else. We won't just show up as those people with the cameras "stalking you" all day.

Let us take you on a double date, support you throughout the planning season, and help you intentionally craft a day that doesn't just feel like one long photoshoot.

Our job as your wedding photographer and videographer is so much more than creating beautiful photos and films. 

Luke + Halle = Lulle

A husband and wife wedding photography & videography team

Luke + Halle = Lulle