The Best Wedding Day Timeline

Planning the best wedding day timeline for your big day can be so intimidating and stressful! As a professional wedding and elopement photographer with countless weddings under my belt, I can assure you that I have the perfect schedule for your wedding day! Let’s get right to it!

Bridesmaids surrounding bride's face with their bouquets

First Look or No First Look?

The biggest choice you have to make in order to start planning your schedule for your wedding day, is deciding whether or not you want to do a first look! Many couples still prefer the traditional way of seeing each other for the first time down the aisle. Others have decided that a first look before the ceremony is the way to go! If you’re still unsure about what you want, go read more about why you should do a first look on your wedding day here.

Wedding Day Timeline Example With First Look

Bride and Groom sharing an intimate moment with everyone else around them blurred
  • 9AM: Arrive at getting ready location
  • 9:30AM: Hair & Make Up Starts
  • 11AM: Groomsmen arrive
  • 11:30AM- Photographer arrives for flat-lay details and getting ready photos
  • 12PM- Bridal party champagne pop and matching wardrobe photos
  • 12:30PM-Groom getting ready and groomsmen photos
  • 1PM- Bride getting into dress
  • 1:30PM- Full reveal with bridesmaids
  • 1:45PM- First look with Dad
  • 2PM- First look with Groom, followed by Bride & Groom portraits
  • 2:30PM-Immediate family photos
  • 3PM- Wedding party photos
  • 3:30PM-Hideaway
  • 4PM- Ceremony
  • 4:30PM- Extended Family Photos and group photos
  • 5PM- Cocktail Hour
  • 6PM- Grand Entrance
  • 6:15PM- Dinner
  • 6:45- Bride & Groom Sunset Portraits
  • 7PM- Speeches
  • 8PM-First Dances
  • 8:30PM-Dance Floor Opens
  • 9PM- Sparkler Exit.
  • 9:30PM- Photographer leaves
  • 11PM- End

Wedding Day Timeline Example Without First Look

Bride and groom doing a dip kiss down the aisle while guests throw confetti at them
  • 10AM- Arrive at getting ready location
  • 10:30AM- Hair & Make-up starts
  • 12PM-Groomsmen arrive
  • 12:30PM-Photographer arrives for flat lay details and getting ready photos
  • 1PM- Groom and groomsmen getting ready photos
  • 1:30PM- Final make up touches
  • 2PM- Bridal party champagne pop and matching wardrobe photos
  • 2:30PM- Bride getting into dress
  • 3PM- Final reveal with bridesmaids
  • 3:15PM-First look with dad
  • 3:30PM-Hideaway
  • 4PM- Ceremony
  • 4:30PM- Family Photos and group photos
  • 5PM- Cocktail Hour + bride & groom portraits + wedding party photos
  • 6:15PM- Grand Entrances
  • 6:30PM- Dinner
  • 6:45- Bride & Groom Sunset Portraits
  • 7PM- Speeches
  • 8PM-First Dances
  • 8:30PM-Dance Floor Opens
  • 9PM- Sparkler Exit.
  • 9:30PM- Photographer leaves
  • 11PM- End

Getting Ready Tips on Your Wedding Day

Bride getting ready and putting her shoe on

Now that you have an example of the perfect wedding day timeline, I have some getting ready tips for you!

Have a clean, neat space with natural light

If you want beautiful “getting-ready” photos of your wedding day, make sure you have a clean, neat space preferably near a window with lots of natural light. Having clutter around is an unnecessary distraction and takes away from the photos

Gather all your flat-lay details together in a box

Have all your flat-lay details ready in a box in the corner of the room. This way your photographer can immediately grab those beautiful detail shots while you’re finishing up your last touches! Details can include: Rings, ring boxes, shoes, invites, flowers, veil, jewelry, perfume and anything else that has meaning to you!

Ask your florist to bring the flowers early

Having your bouquet ready early is great for detail photos! Bonus tip- ask your photographer if she can provide a few loose flowers to scatter around the details for an even better aesthetic!

Make sure to eat and drink water

Don’t forget to eat and drink! This probably sounds so cliche and obvious, but seriously, It’s a big day! Making sure your body is fueled and hydrated for a loooong day and night, is key!

Have a point person

Have a point person to handle last minute questions on the day of. This really helps to get you feeling more relaxed and chilled. No need to be stressed out every 5minutes by someone asking something that your point person can handle for you!

Ceremony Tips for Your Wedding Day

Father of the bride getting ready to walk bride down the aisle

Throughout my years of photographing weddings, I’ve come across some things that brides tend to forget when it comes to the ceremony! Here are some ceremony tips for your wedding day:

Walk slow down the Aisle

You might be feeling a little nervous, causing you to walk a little fast. Remember to walk nice and slow. This is a big moment. Take it all in!

Hold each other’s hands

Once you’ve reached the end of the aisle and you’ve given your Maid of Honor your bouquet, hold your partner’s hands! It look so much better and more intimate than just standing there not knowing what to do with your hands.

Ask your officiant to step away for the first kiss

When it’s time for your very first kiss as husband and wife, ask your officiant to step a side for the first kiss so that they’re not in your photo! You’ll be thankful afterwards! 😉

Don’t forget to grab your bouquet on the way back down the aisle

Remember to grab your bouquet again from your Maid of Honor when walking back down the aisle! Many bride’s forget this!

Do a dip kiss at the end of the aisle

Once you’re near or at the end of the aisle, do one more dip kiss with your bouquet raised in the air! It’s such a great moment with all your guests cheering from behind!

About Heidi Straus Photography

I hope this blog helped you take a few things of your wedding planning plate! I’m Heidi, a full time wedding and elopement photographer based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I travel worldwide and I absolute LOVE helping my couples plan their special day! Hopefully, you only have to do one wedding in your life ;)…but I do multiple every year :P! It’s my absolute passion and I am confident that I can help you plan your perfect day and capture the most meaningful moments!

If you’d like to see my wedding packages, please reach out here! I can’t wait to hear from you!

Destination and wedding photographer based in Minnesota

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