We’ve all heard the expression “Timing is everything”. When applied to your wedding day, it takes on a whole new meaning. With so many moving parts, one glitch no matter how small, has the potential of causing delays for the rest of your big day.

Yes, each wedding is different, but no matter how your wedding looks, there are some timing tips that can and should be utilized by every couple for a smooth day.

Last minute changes in timing for one event could mean you’ll have to adjust the timing for the following event, which then could force you into sacrificing specific activities because there is just not enough time to get it all done. This is why a creating a timeline for your wedding day is so important for everyone in attendance and those providing a service. (Vendors)

Let’s dive in and look at the basics plus some key concepts and terms to help you construct a timeline that really works.

Hair & Make up:

How many individuals will need Hair & Make-up services and where will you get ready? At the venue? A hotel? Your Home? Make sure to ask how much time it will take for the number of individuals who need the service. Then, coordinate the start time for the hair & make up team and the photographer, who will dictate your ‘be-ready’ time.

And, if you are not at the venue, be sure to add enough time for travel!


Will they be at the ceremony only or do you want them to cover dinner and beyond? The entire day? Review your desired coverage with the photographer and videographer team as this is different from a shot list. 10 hours is recommended if you want them to cover the whole day and if you have multiple locations, be sure to include travel time between the ceremony, photo location, and reception venues.

Your photographer should be scheduled multiple times in your timeline along withthe specific type of activity required. For example; getting ready photos, first look, family/party photos, couple photos, grand entrance, etc.

Load-in time:

When booking your venue, make sure to inquire about the earliest time your vendors can arrive. Vendors who “load-in” usually are the florist, caterers, DJs, decor team, and rental staff. Ask your vendors how much time they will need to provide their services so you can coordinate this information within your timeline and if possible, add an extra 15 minute-30 minutes to each vendor’s arrival time to prevent delays. Provide all your vendors with the finalized timeline along with clear instructions on  load in, set up, directions to venue, what entrances to use, any gate check-in procedures, codes required, etc.

Ceremony time:

This time along with your DJ, and Caterer start times DOES NOT CHANGE. You don’twant to be late to your own wedding!

Every vendor Must know the ceremony time. The guestsare present for you…don’t leave them waiting with bated breath…for too long!

Dinner time:

Whether you use in-house catering or bring in another professional, once you choose the Dinner start time, this should not change. Any changes could leave you and your guests with soggy salad and/or cold entrees. And, the Catering timeline guides all the before & after reception formalities.


Let the party begin! Following the timeline will enable you and your guests to make the most out of the evening.

Traditional formalities to consider to coordinate after the ceremony, during cocktail hour, before and after dinner are:

  • photo session
  • couple’s entrance
  • guests’ entrances
  • first dance
  • speeches and toasts
  • cake cutting
  • dancing
  • entertainment and games
  • couple’s exit

Proper timing and sequence of these activities creates the flow of the event and keeps everyone entertained. Be sure to always ask your venue and your vendors what timing needs they have. This will guide you as you carefully put your timeline together.

On this day of a brand new chapter in your life, you should be relaxed, present, and able to take in all of the precious moments. If you do not have a wedding planner, have someone else (family or friend) worry about the details and timing. Have them bethe point person for the vendors to connect with on the day of. Or better yet, hire a wedding planner, so everyone can enjoy the day! With so many moving parts, you don’t want to feel stressed or rushed, and you can rely on your professional coordinator to make sure all your plans are executed, because in your dreams, every detail matters.