How to create your on the day wedding timeline

How to create your on the day wedding timeline

A timeline is one of the first things we talk to couples about when starting their planning.  An on the day timeline (sometimes also called a schedule) will likely influence many other aspects of your day. If, in your mind you’ve always dreamt of an outdoor ceremony, saying I do just as the sun is setting, then you need to think about what time of year would be possible. It could be, in Spring that’s 5pm… but in the height of Summer that could be 9pm! This would, of course, have a big impact on the rest of your day.

All weddings are different, and seasonality can really play a part in the timings for your day. The time the sun rises, sets and the warmth and amount of light in the day can be key factors.  Think carefully about the type of wedding you want, where it will take place and who will be attending.

A good timeline will make your wedding planning process much smoother as you know what will be happening and when it needs to happen!


What do you need to include in your wedding timeline?

Start by adding in the key elements of the day and build around them – the ceremony, drinks receptions, wedding breakfast and evening reception (including any restrictions imposed by your venue).

It should also include the fun, personalised parts of your day what ever they are! Maybe you’re having a sparkler tunnel, group dance or ice cream bar. Add them in along with details of who is responsible for setting them up and making them happen.

By the time you’re finished you will have a detailed schedule of what is happening on your day and who is responsible for making it happen.


Tell your guests what’s happening on your wedding day and when

You might know what is happening on your wedding day minute by minute, but your guests don’t. It’s a great idea to have a wedding ‘Timings of the day’ displayed so that when they arrive know where they need to be. Include all the important and fun elements of the day so people can get excited about it and make sure they’re in the right place at the right time!

Sustainable Wedding Planning

Pallet timeline created by Lulabee Weddings | Photo by Rachel Mullins Photography


Sample wedding day timeline

So, if you’re getting married at 2pm on a Saturday afternoon in the Spring a simple timeline would be:

09:00 Bridal party to arrive at Bridal Suite
10:00 Hair and make up to arrive at Bridal Suite
12:00 Last chance to bride to grab something to eat before dress goes on!
13:00 Bride photos in Bridal Suite
13:15 Groom to arrive at ceremony venue
13:45 Bride to arrive at ceremony venue
14:00 Wedding ceremony
14:45 Confetti and photos
15:00 Drinks reception and photos
16:30 Call to dinner (it usually takes 10-15 minutes for people to take their seats)
16:45 Wedding breakfast – based on 3 courses and 30 minutes for speeches
19:00 Evening reception to start
19:30 First dance
20:30 Evening food
22:45 Last orders
23:00 Guests to depart

If your ceremony and reception will be in two venues, make sure you build in plenty of time for photos and travel.

As the above is a sample timeline it doesn’t include supplier details, arrival times, set up etc. but I would definitely recommend including these in yours. The more information the better!

Remember, your wedding day is about being with your family and friends, enjoying the day and embracing the moment. If things don’t run exactly to time it’s not the end of the world!


We know that having a realistic, detailed timeline is key to having a seamless wedding day, so include this within all our wedding planning services. If you’d like to talk about your wedding day and how we can help, please get in touch.

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