The Proper Wedding Day Timeline

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     The one thing most brides forget to plan for is the wedding day timeline. Most know what they want to occur during the day but forget to figure out how all of it will line up. In short, a timeline is the time frame during which something is scheduled to happen. Although it is important to know what events will take place during the day, one has to also know how long each one of those events will last. So lets go through the normal wedding day timeline and find out what parts of it most brides tend to forget about.

Typical Wedding Day Timeline:

Getting Ready

  • Bride getting into dress
  • Makeup/Hair


Formal Pictures

  • Family Pictures
  • Bridesmaid/Groomsman Pictures


  • Family/Couple Entrance
  • First Dance
  • Eating
  • Garter Toss/Bouquet Toss
  • Misc.

     Okay, this is the standard or most popular wedding day timeline. Some weddings can still deviate from this list and some of the items can even be moved up or down the list. The point of this is to show parts of the timeline that brides tend to forget about or focus less on.

     The first neglected item on this list would be the brides makeup/hair session. By neglected, I don’t mean that brides forget to get their hair and makeup done. I mean that brides often forget how long it can really take to do the hair and makeup. Most makeup artists prefer to do the makeup last during the getting ready so that it doesn’t get on the dress. With this being taken into consideration, brides need to remember to leave enough time in the getting ready for them and their bridesmaids to have their makeup done. Many brides think only about their makeup, but if they have ten bridesmaids, that could be a serious issue. No one likes the ceremony to be late, so its best to pad the timeline as best as possible.

     Ceremonies don’t last that long and no one is getting up to leave during it, so timelines aren’t an issue for that. Family formal pictures are a big time commitment depending on how many pictures the bride wants. In these situations, you should always tell your photographer about how many pictures you want during the family formals. This makes our job easier. We typically recommend that the bride assume it will take 5 minutes for each group combination. This is our way of padding the time so that the reception venue isn’t making your guests wait too long.

     During the reception, there is a lot of room for events to start at the wrong time. Make sure you speak with your DJ since they will be the “coordinator” during the ceremony. They need to be aware of how long the guests eat before the other wedding events take place. The reception isn’t messed up by things being late though. It’s typically messed up because of no one being on the same page.

     So there it is! The timeline listed above is like a skeleton of what your actual timeline will look like. The biggest point is to plan ahead and communicate with the right people that are involved in the wedding day. If nothing else was learned from this post, pad everything you can during the wedding day. Assume that everything will take longer than you think. Thanks for reading and we hope this helps you to be more aware of what other brides neglect during the typical wedding day.



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My name is William. I have been a photographer for several years. I love giving tips for weddings that have derived from my experience as a wedding photographer. I am the owner of Meagan and William Photography and the Editor-in-chief of this blog.

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