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How to plan the perfect Wedding Day Timeline

May 30, 2017

Our Suggested Timeline for your Wedding Day | 8-hour wedding day

If you’re like most couples, you probably want your wedding day to be perfect. But with so many things to think about and coordinate, it can be tough to know where to start. That’s why we’ve put together this helpful timeline of what you should do (and when!) in the six hours leading up to your big day.

Trust us; following these simple steps will help make sure everything goes off without a hitch! Plus, we’ve even included a few tips from experts along the way. So whether you’re getting married tomorrow or next year, read on for all the info you need to ensure your wedding day is precisely what you’ve always dreamed it would be! Thanks, Oprah :).

First, this is only a guide to tell you how long things take. You DO NOT have to plan for everything – if you don’t want getting ready photos, don’t do them! This is just a guide to help you plan an efficient and non-stressful wedding timeline.

Check out a Four Hour Elopement TImeline

When should your Photographer arrive?

To determine when your photographer should arrive, first you must decide a few things.

  • Do you want to getting ready photos?
    • These are perfect moments to get sweet moments of your Mom, Sister, or Best Friend helping you with the final details. Then, putting on the dress of your dreams to walk down the aisle to the love of your life – these moments are beautiful candid ones you will treasure. Also, a great time for a group photo before putting on the dresses and tuxes – fun final cheers before I DO.
      • takes about 15-20 minutes
  • Do you want photos of the dress, shoes, jewelry, and such before putting them on?
    • These are great for telling the day’s story while telling the story of your wedding day to your children, grandchildren, nieces, or nephews.
      • takes about 15-20 minutes
  • Do you want to do a first look?
    • I tell all about why you should do this on the blog. WHAT SHOULD YOU DO? A FIRST LOOK
      • takes about 15 minutes.
  • Do you want to do wedding party & family photos first?
    • If you do the first look – it’s the perfect time to get the family & wedding photos out of the way.
      • family photos take 30 minutes
      • wedding party photos also take 15-20 minutes
  • Do you want to do a receiving line?
    • This is where you say thank you for coming to everyone after you walk back down the aisle.
      • this can take anywhere from 30-45+ minutes (depending on my guests there are)

Wedding Reception at Garver Feed Mill

Below you will find the timeline I suggest (with buffers) with all of the above.

12PM – photography starts (the photographer will gather all the details to be photographed, photograph the ceremony site if it’s set up, and candids of family and wedding party)

1PM – Get dressed

130PM – first look & a few photos of the couple

2PM – wedding party photos

245PM– family photos

330PM – we leave the couple and wedding party to finish up final details while we photograph the guests and ceremony site

4PM – ceremony starts (30-minute ceremony)

430PM – receiving line with 150 people

5PM – (cocktail hour starts) more wedding party photos off-site that are less traditional, along with some couple photos. We do this because you are both wearing your rings – and your faces glow with newlywed bliss!

530PM – photographers arrive early to photograph the venue before the guests touch everything if possible.

6PM – dinner (the photographer will photograph speeches and candids of guests)

  • we try to steal our couples for a few photos at sunset. During this time, we always suggest the couple take a few moments to take in the day.

730PM – dances

8PM – photography ends

Buffers explained

As I said, this had a few buffers – family photos before the ceremony can take a little longer due to some family members running a little late. Or the day runs a little behind – which is totally normal. Buffers could also travel time from getting ready first to look location, ceremony location, and reception location.

Do not be afraid to have a little time with the wedding party before going to the reception. I suggest not going too long – as your wedding party shouldn’t show up drunk at the reception. I understand wanting to celebrate and have fun, but you don’t want to leave your guests waiting too long.


Villa Terrace Milwaukee

Do 8 Hours Feel too Long? Check out this 6 Hour Wedding Timeline!

with minimal getting-ready photos & no 1st look

We all know that wedding planning can be stressful. There are a million things to think about, and it’s hard to know where to start. But don’t worry. We’re here to help! In this blog post, we’ll share our top tips for creating a 6-hour wedding timeline that will keep you on track and make your big day go off without a hitch. Trust us. With our advice, you’ll be saying “I do” in no time!

230 PM – photography starts (the photographer will photograph the ceremony site if it’s set up, and candids of family and wedding party)

3 PM – Get dressed

330PM – we leave the couple and wedding party to finish up the final details while we photograph the guests and ceremony site

4 PM – ceremony starts (30-minute ceremony)

430 PM– family photos

5 PM – wedding party photos

5 PM(cocktail hour starts) more wedding party photos off-site that are less traditional, along with some couple photos. We do this because you are both wearing your rings – and your faces glow with newlywed bliss!

530PM – photographers arrive early to photograph the venue before the guests touch everything if possible.

6 PM – dinner (the photographer will photograph speeches and candids of guests)

  • we try to steal our couples for a few photos at sunset. During this time, we always suggest the couple take a few moments to take in the day.

8 PM – 1st dance & parent dances before dinner

830 PM – photography ends

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