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How to Create a Wedding Day Timeline

Need help with planning your Wedding Day Timeline? Venue: The Westin Grand VancouverNeed help with your Wedding Day Timeline? When you first begin your wedding planning, it’s hard to visualize just how your day is going to pan out. I advise all my couples to start with areas that you already know. Often, the first items you book are your Venue and potentially your Commissioner. This is a good place to start.

Planning your Day

I like to create my wedding timelines based off of key events throughout the day and look at the day based off 3 main sections: Pre-Ceremony, Ceremony & Post-Ceremony. I schedule out each little section of the day, then I fit them all together to create the master timeline (and don’t forget to add travel time between events if they’re happening in different places).

Tip #1 – Start with the times you already know

Most couples book their venue and Commissioner first. Figure out when you can fit your Ceremony start time within the timeframes already available to you.

Tip #2 – Consider the weather

Consider the weather and how flexible your venue and Commissioner are for your wedding day. If you’re having a mid-summer wedding, the sun will be beaming down and it’ll be very hot. This also isn’t the best look for photographs. Your guests are glossy because of the heat and you might be squinting because of the sun’s rays. Will your venue have shade? How do you feel about having your ceremony in the early evening or evening?

Tip #3 – Check for Travel time

Check how long it takes to travel from location to location. Depending on the day, season and location of your wedding, there may be some travel involved. If you have multiple locations, be sure to add in extra time to account for traffic.



Below are events that occur during a wedding day. A suggested amount of time is included beside each one for photographs specifically but may require a longer chunk of time depending on which vendor you’re working with. For example, your Make-Up Artist may require more time if they’re working with more people.



  • Getting Ready (1 – 1.5 hours)
  • First Look (20 minutes)
  • Family Formals (30 – 60 minutes) (Post-Ceremony if you won’t be doing a First Look)
  • Wedding Party Photos (1 – 1.5 hours) (Post-Ceremony if you won’t be doing a First Look)


  • Ceremony (30 – 60 minutes)
  • License Signing
  • Any wedding traditions if you will be having them


  • Cocktail Hour (45 – 60 minutes)
  • Family Formals (30 – 60 minutes) (Pre-Ceremony if you’ll be having a First Look)
  • Wedding Party Photos (1 – 1.5 hours) (Pre-Ceremony if you’ll be having a First Look)
  • Reception Dinner (3 – 4 hours)
  • Speeches
  • Games
  • Sunset Photos (15 minutes)
  • First Dances (15 minutes)
  • Dance Floor (30 minutes)


Your Wedding timeline is specific to you but this is one of my favourite ones that worked out really well especially if you’re 1. Doing a First Look, 2. Have your Wedding during the Summer, 3. Not wanting a traditional ceremony.

  • 2:00pm Getting Ready (60 minutes)
  • 3:00pm Ceremony/Reception Venue details (30 minutes)
  • 3:30pm First Look (15 minutes)
  • 4:15pm Immediate family arrives
  • 4:30pm Family Formals + Quick Portrait Session (30 minutes)
  • 5:00pm Guests Arrive + Cocktail Hour (2 hours)
  • 7:00pm Ceremony (30 minutes)
  • 7:30pm Cocktail Hour Continues (30 minutes)
  • 8:00pm Dinner (60 minutes)
  • 9:00pm Speeches (30 minutes)
  • 9:30pm First Dance + Parent Dances (15 minutes)
  • 10:00pm Special Performances + Open Dance Floor + Party (60 minutes)
  • 10:30pm Desserts + Late Night Snacks served
  • 11:00pm Photographers Done


  • 2:00pm Getting Ready
  • 3:30pm Guests Arrive
  • 4:00pm Ceremony
  • 4:30pm Family Formals
  • 5:00pm Wedding Party Photosession
  • 6:30pm Get freshened up for Reception
  • 7:00pm Grand Entrance
  • 7:30pm Dinner
  • 8:30pm Speeches
  • 9:00pm Games
  • 9:30pm Cake Cutting
  • 9:45pm First Dance + Parent Dances
  • 10:00pm Open Dance Floor
  • 11:00pm Photographers Done

No wedding is exactly alike and the best advice I can give you is to plan is so you’re not stressed out on the day of. Reach out to book a consultation and we can work together in planning your perfect wedding day timeline together. Be sure to check out my Stories page as each individual wedding post has sample timelines included.


A jmeshoots wedding experience doesn’t just stop at great photography. I work with you to help with any wedding planning and drafting of your wedding timeline. Still need to check a few vendors off your list? I have a list of vendors I’ve worked with in the past who I think are awesome and would love to share my list with you! Getting married? I’d love to meet for coffee to learn more about your story and to see if we’re a good fit for each other.

Posted in:Weddings