Wedding Day Timing is Everything

So far in this series, we have talked about the importance of having the right people to carry out your plan. In this post, let's look at how to prepare those involved in the wedding day timeline to make sure that everyone is in the right place at the right time.

Developing Your Wedding Day Timeline

They say "timing is everything" when it comes to love. Well, it's pretty important when it comes to weddings too. Developing your wedding day timeline is key to getting the timing right.

Going through the planning process you can see that there are a lot of moving pieces for a wedding. It's like a puzzle that each piece moves, and sometimes, they can even hop off the table completely. Some of the most important puzzle pieces are your friends and family that are participating in your wedding day. You've asked them to be a part of your special day because you love them and want to share this experience with them. Careful planning on your wedding day timeline can ensure all of the puzzle pieces fall perfectly into place.

Wedding Day Timeline Elements

Here is a handy list of typical wedding day elements to consider in your wedding day timeline planning.


When you're setting the wedding day timeline y, you actually need to start the day before! The pre-wedding festivities are usually more casual than the ceremony and reception, but they still require just as much planning. Some things to consider:

  • How long is the wedding rehearsal expected to last?
  • What is the transport time between the ceremony venue and rehearsal dinner venue?
  • Do guests need to dress a certain way for the wedding rehearsal vs. dinner?
  • If you are hosting a welcome gathering for out-of-town guests, consider timing and transportation as well.

Getting Ready

The morning and afternoon leading up to the wedding is some of the most personal moments to share with your wedding party and immediate family. It is also time spent getting ready for the wedding itself and taking photos. Giving your friends and family information in advance regarding where, when and what they will need to bring can be a huge help. You've spent months in the details - they haven't. So make sure they know what is expected of them before the wedding day to ensure no surprises or mishaps with arriving late (or not at all - eek!).

Wedding Day Timeline Template

For my own wedding day, I created a timeline (similar to the one above) for my wedding party and family that were participating in the wedding. I wanted to make sure everyone knew what time and where they were expected to be for key parts of the day. I also included a notation on the wedding day timeline for when spouses were invited to participate in the festivities. I sent this out to them a few days before the wedding, and some even printed it out the wedding day timeline to have handy during the weekend.

Wedding Party Tip: Communicating this information in advance to your wedding party can help them feel prepared for the wedding day.

The Wedding

The wedding day timeline for your ceremony and reception should be very detailed. I think of this part of the wedding day as the "big show" - it's a production of love in two acts!

Act I: Ceremony

Your ceremony timing may be dictated by tradition. But, if you are writing your own ceremony script and vows, you will need to make sure that what you have written will fill the time. For your wedding day timeline, consider the length of music that will be used for processional, recessional and other musical interludes. You might consider playing the music during the rehearsal to ensure the timing works well.

Ceremony Tip: Read everything out loud and work with your officiant on timing.

Act II: Reception

The reception timing can be more fluid. After all, it is a party! For specific elements you want to happen during the reception, your wedding planner, DJ or member of your wedding execution team should know what order and how these elements should play out through the evening as part of your wedding day timeline. Issues will arise and timing may be flexible.

Reception Tip: Communicate with your wedding execution team in advance of how to handle unforeseen issues that may affect timing.

At the end of the day, a wedding is an event, and timing is very important in creating a memorable, fun day for your wedding party and guests. Ultimately, and more importantly, you will be married to the love of your life! So, remember that even if the cake cutting doesn't happen at 8:32pm like you had planned, it's more important that you, your fiancé, family and friends have the greatest memories from your special day.

The Delightful Details offers FREE wedding planning tools to help you in your planning. Wedding Day Timeline was recently added. Visit the Toolbox to download the Timeline.

Do you have any wedding day timeline tips to share with others? Leave a comment!