Sample Wedding Timeline (With a First Look)

Hello bride-to-be! Today I want to share a complicated topic, but one that is soooo necessary: WEDDING DAY TIMELINE. I know you have questions, and I’m here to help!!

The number one suggestion I have when you begin planning your wedding day timeline is to check when the sun sets. You can simply type your wedding date into Google to find out when it is for your day. Trust me, you are going to want those pretty cotton-candy skies in your photos!!



While every wedding is unique, they all tend to follow a similar flow of events. I have outlined a sample timeline below for a summer wedding day with a first look. (Not having a first look – check out this post instead!) (Don’t know what a first look is? Start HERE)

For wedding days that have a first look, we like to begin coverage approximately 3.5-4 hours before your ceremony. This gives us time to capture your details, getting ready candids, the first look, and portraits before the ceremony. Some couples opt to also do family formals and/or the wedding party photos before the ceremony as well, which is totally doable with this timeline. Remember, if you don’t want to bump into guests, you should to arrive at least 30 minutes before ceremony time. Also, don’t forget to include any extra travel time needed to get between locations if necessary!

Whew, I know, it’s A LOT. But I promise it’s not nearly as scary as it sounds. Check out this sample timeline for inspiration:

{Sample} Wedding Day on July 14th

Getting Ready 1:30pm

First Look 3:30- 4pm

Portraits/Formals 4-5pm

Ceremony 5:30-6pm

Portraits/ Formals 6-6:30pm

Cocktail Hour 6-7pm (attend for 30 minutes)

Introductions 7:15pm

First Dance 7:20pm

Toasts 7:25pm

Dinner 7:45pm

Cake Cutting 8pm

Sunset 8:15pm

^^definitely sneak away for portraits here^^

Parent Dances 8:45pm

Dancing until 11pm

You’ve got this, girl! When creating your own, I suggest starting with your ceremony time (as that is usually the first thing you schedule) and working forward/backward from there. Other helpful resources: Our Most Asked Timeline Questions – Answered!How to Plan a Photo-Friendly Timeline

And remember, you aren’t planning alone!! Talk to your wedding planner, your venue, your photographer, your band/dj… I’m sure everyone is more than happy to help out. We’re all on the same team with the goal of giving you the best wedding day ever. I’m always available to answer any questions you have at

– Happy planning! –