7 Wedding Day Timeline Tips

Planning Advice

Aug 28, 2018

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One of the most overwhelming tasks for a Bride and Groom as their wedding day draws closer is creating their wedding day timeline.  After over eleven years planning and producing weddings, I have learned a few helpful tips and tricks to aid in creating an efficient and smooth wedding timeline.  Of course, I highly recommend that you have a wedding coordinator to help keep the wedding day timeline on schedule and as seamless as possible.

Creating a seamless wedding day timeline by Nellie Sparkman

Wedding Timeline Tips

1. Hair and makeup should not take longer than three hours.

Discuss these times with your hair and makeup artist so everyone is on the same page and they can bring enough artists for your bridal party. Factor in the Mothers, Grandmothers, Flower Girls, Personal Attendants and any other special people that may want hair and makeup. Three hours provides ample time for hair and makeup, but also not too long of time for everyone to get bored.

Creating a seamless wedding day timeline by Nellie Sparkman.

2. Bridesmaids should be dressed at least thirty minutes prior to the Bride.

All bridesmaids and mothers should be ready by the time the Bride puts on her dress.  Added note: Consider asking mom and your maid of honor to assist with putting on your wedding dress.  Then, reveal your final look to bridesmaids once you are in your Bridal Gown.  This can alleviate too many cooks in the kitchen and make for a special moment between mom and daughter.

3. Photographers do not need to be present for the entire duration of hair and makeup.

Work with your photographer to coordinate their arrival and departure.  This ensures they are maximizing the time you have hired them for.

Creating a seamless wedding day timeline by Nellie Sparkman.

4. First Look or No First Look?

If your ceremony is an afternoon ceremony, First Looks are not always necessary. If your ceremony is in late afternoon or evening, a First Look, Bridal Party Photos and Formal Photos should occur prior to the Ceremony. This maximizes the time for the couple to spend together while also not rushing photos post-Ceremony.

5. Formal Photos: Create a list of must have photos with your fiance, your mother and his mother with exact names of who is in the photo.

Creating a formal photography shot list aids your photographer in rounding those that should be present for Formal Photos. Request family that is part of these photos know where and when they need to be present for these photos. If the photos are not on the list, they will not be taken.  Formal Family photos should not take longer than 30-45 minutes.

Creating a seamless wedding day timeline by Nellie Sparkman.

6. Reception: Schedule activities in a consecutive order.

Consider the following for your reception timeline: Grand Entrance, Cut Cake, First Dance, Welcome by Father of the Bride, Blessing, Dinner, Toasts, Remaining Formal Dances, Open Dance Floor. Guest experience and engagement is key. Keeping a timely flow of the reception maximizes guest’s attention span keeping them at reception for as long as possible! If cake cutting takes place earlier upon Grand Entrance, the caterer can cut and serve cake during toasts. Dinner service could take approximately 30-45 minutes pending if salads are pre-set or served or buffet service style are chosen. Toasts can begin right after the last guest receives their meal. This helps the flow and keep the evening going at a good pace.

7. Don’t stress the reception timeline too much!

Sometimes things happen and the timeline may get ahead or behind schedule, that is okay! Enjoy each moment and let the professionals run your timeline.  This allows you to soak up every moment of your wedding day!

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