Five Things To Consider When Creating Your Wedding Timeline

May 1, 2023


Your wedding timeline will set the foundation for your wedding celebration. In order to enjoy your weekend freely and savor the moments as they unfold, it’s important to create a timeline that works for you. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you create your wedding timeline: 

The Sunset Time

When planning your wedding day timeline, it’s important to keep in mind the sunset time, as it can impact everything from your ceremony start time to your reception. 

For couples planning weddings during the fall and winter months, an earlier ceremony time may be necessary to ensure ample natural light for your portraits. 

Conversely, couples planning summer weddings can enjoy a longer day and a later sunset, providing more flexibility in their timeline. 

Lighting is essential when it comes to capturing dreamy, effortless portraits. This is why I work closely with couples and their planners to create a timeline that maximizes the beauty of natural light and creates stunning wedding photos that will be cherished for a lifetime.

If you want to figure out the sunset time for your wedding, you can take a look here. 

First Look Vs. No First Look 

The decision to have a first look or stick to tradition can significantly impact your wedding day timeline. 

Opting for a first look allows for formal portraits to be taken care of ahead of time, leaving you more time to enjoy cocktail hour with your guests after the ceremony. This is just one of the many benefits of having a first look, but it also means that you’ll need to plan your getting ready time accordingly.

Alternatively, if you choose to keep things traditional, you’ll need to fit all of your formal portraits in during cocktail hour. To allow for more time to mingle with guests before the reception, you might want to consider extending your cocktail hour. 


For couples who choose to have their ceremony and reception at different locations, transportation is a key factor that must be taken into consideration. To make sure that the wedding party is transported efficiently and comfortably, I recommend reserving a limo or party bus for everyone.

To ensure that transportation doesn’t throw off your wedding day timeline, it’s important to work closely with your wedding planner. 

They will take into account factors such as traffic, incorrect directions, or tardy wedding party members and add buffer time accordingly. By planning for these potential issues, you can minimize stress and enjoy a smooth, seamless wedding day experience. Trust your wedding planner to make sure your transportation logistics are planned to perfection.

Wedding Planning: Eliza Jane Events

Wedding Party & Family Size

One of the things I often ask about is the wedding party. Specifically, whether the couple has decided on who they want to include and how many people will be part of it. This can have a significant impact on the timeline for your wedding day.

For example, if you have a large wedding party of 20 people, it will take much longer to get everyone ready for photos and to coordinate group shots. On the other hand, if you have a smaller group of 6 or choose not to have a wedding party at all, the timeline may be more flexible.

My goal is always to ensure that my clients have a stress-free and enjoyable wedding day experience, and part of that is making sure that the timeline is well-planned and efficient. 

So, if you’re currently in the process of planning your wedding and are unsure about how your wedding party will impact the timeline, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. 

Meal (Plated, Buffet, Family Style) 

While it may not be the first thing on your mind when planning your wedding, the food service style you choose can greatly affect the flow of your reception. For example, if you decide to go with a plated meal or a family-style dinner, the service tends to be quicker and more efficient. On the other hand, if you choose a buffet-style meal, it can take longer to serve your guests, particularly if you have a larger guest count.

Understanding how long food service will take is essential to creating an accurate timeline for your wedding reception. That’s why I always encourage my clients to communicate with their wedding planner, venue coordinator, and caterer to explore all of their options and get an accurate estimate of service time for the food service method they choose.

By taking these details into account, we can create a timeline that ensures your reception flows smoothly and seamlessly, allowing you to enjoy every moment of your special day. 

BONUS: Make Sure You Timeline Fits how you want to enjoy your day

All of the above are great things to keep in mind when planning for your wedding timeline, but the best advice I can give you when it comes to planning your wedding timeline is to make sure it fits your vision for your special day.

Do you love to dance? Then be sure to give yourself plenty of time on the dance floor! Want to catch up with your college friends? Consider a first look and extended cocktail hour, so you can mingle with everyone and savor every moment.

Your wedding day is all about you, and your timeline sets the foundation for the celebration. So be sure to work with your wedding planner and vendors to create a timeline that truly fits how you want to experience your special day. 

Wedding Planning: Eliza Jane Events

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At home near the Lake. Ever-focused on the beauty of life's simple moments. 

I’ve spent years refining an approach that allows me to sincerely honor the moment — knowing when to step in and adjust a subject or environment, and sensing when to stand back and allow a moment to just be.

With me, your photographs will be an intentional representation of this time of your life — imagery that will make you feel like it was just yesterday, and yet, feel forever untouched by time.



5 Tips for your  wedding timeline

More time on the dance floor, less time worrying- that's my philosophy. Grab my guide to make sure you have the space to move & groove on your day.