How to create a timeline

Timelines help make sure everyone knows what's happening and where they need to be.


August 16, 2023

6 mins


Timelines are very important for a wedding no matter how big or small your guest list is. Timelines help make sure everyone knows what's happening and where they need to be. There is nothing worse than having to track down a bridesmaid or a vendor because they aren't sure what the plan is. This is also a great way to plan out the flow of your day so no one is sitting twiddling their thumbs or playing on their phones waiting for something to happen. We have seen many weddings where things flow great or there are big holes creating some stress and chaos. At the end of this blog I will share a timeline template that we use to help our couples sort out their big day.

When starting the process of creating a timeline there are a few vendors you will want to connect with the chat about how much time they will need.

These vendors are:

Hair and Make up

Officiant/ Minister/ Preist Etc





The best way to make sure everyone is aware of your timeline is:

  1. Email a copy to all of your wedding vendors, wedding party, parents, and MC
  2. Print off copies for your wedding party and MC
  3. Share your timeline on your wedding website
  4. Have it displayed or dispersed for your guests

Having your guests be able to view your timeline can be very helpful so they know when a good time to go to the bathroom and or a smoke break, grab a drink from the bar and won't miss something special.


Plan some time to eat and drink water the day goes by really fast and no one wants to see you pass out or hangry

Chat with your hair and make up people and find out how long each person will take. Add on an additional 5 mins per person to include last minute bathroom breaks

Make sure you account for how long it will take to get your dress on. Corset and buttons take longer than a zipper. Have someone who will be helping you into your dress be there for the final fitting so they know how to do up your dress and bustle it. Also time how long it takes to get into your dress

Account for putting on jewelry, shoes, garter etc

Set time aside for group photos. If you spent the money to get everyone matching robes or pyjamas you should take a moment to get a photo together.

Lastly set a few minutes aside to enjoy the morning with your friends and family.


Plan how everyone in your main group is going to get to every location from photos to the venues. Whether it is by limo, uber, or driving themselves make sure everyone knows how they are getting there.

Check to see what the typical traffic is for that time and day of the week. ( Google maps has a feature where you can pick the route, day of the week and time)

Check to see if there is planned construction or road closures on your route.

Make sure everyone has the right address and best route.

If you are doing off site photos set a designated easy meeting spot for everyone.

First Look

Plan to have a few minutes you want this moment to be special not rushed.

Pre plan the location ahead of time

If you are doing the first look on site make sure its at least 1 hour before the ceremony time or a hidden part if you don't want early guests to see you.


Talk to your officiant/minister/ pastor etc. to see how long your ceremony will be.

Add in time for any extra ceremony rituals such as sand ceremonies, family readings etc.

Your guests will arrive 30-40 minutes before your ceremony starts.

Receiving Lines

If you are doing a traditional receiving line plan for approximately 30 seconds per guest into your timeline.

A Whole Group photos take 5-15 minutes depending on how big of a group and how quickly after the ceremony you do it.

If you are passing on a traditional receiving line still plan for 15 mins after the ceremony to receive hugs and congratulations, This is also a great time to grab some water, a snack, or anything else you might need.

Family Portraits

List! Make a list of everyone you would like for your photos.

Have someone to herd both sides of the family and appoint someone who knows who they are.

Do not wonder off, to get this done efficiently and quickly we need your full attention.


Have a meeting point and time. Make sure your wedding party knows when they need to be there.

Plan for any travel time if you are doing photos off location.

It is totally fine to bring snacks and/or drinks we actually strongly encourage it.

The Golden Hour

This is the best time for light.

If its a cloudy/ rainy day you might not get a full golden hour but you can still get a pretty sunset.

This starts 2 hours before the sun is scheduled to set.

Depending on the time of the year you can usually sneak out after you have finished eating dinner and people are still finishing dinner.


Schedule 5 mins per planned speech.

If you have an open mic add some extra time in and appoint someone to be ready to cut off anyone who has had too much to drinks and is going on a little too long.

speeches work either right before dinner or right after while everyone is already sitting. Right after dinner also gives your guests a chance to finish up their meal while the speeches are happening. This is also a great time to do an open mic.

Reception Events

Any reception events that requires your guests to sit and watch try and do them together.

Either do all of your events consecutively, or split them up in a way that flows well.

Have your MC make an announcement 5 minutes before an event is happening so people can get to where they need to be.

Timeline Guideline

Consult with your Hair and Make up Artists for how long they will need then add an additional 5 mins per person

Bridesmaids dressed (15-30 mins)

Dress on (15-30 mins *buttons and corsets take longer than zippers*)

First Looks (10-20 mins)

  • Dad
  • Bridesmaids
  • Mom
  • Groom etc

Ceremony (15-30 mins average consult with your officiant)

Receiving lines (30 seconds per guest)

No traditional reciving line 15 mins to refresh or be in the moment

Family photos (30-45 mins)

Wedding Party Photos (30-45 mins)

Your Portraits (45-60 mins)

10 min break before reception (grab a drink, bathroom break, or just enjoy a moment together)


Dinner (60 mins)

Speeches (5 mins per speaker)

Dances ( 5 mins per dance)

Cake (5-10 mins)

Bouquet/ Garter toss ( 5 mins per)

Shoe Game (10-15 mins)

Don't Forget to account for travel time.

Fraser Valley

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