Things you should know: Wedding Day Timelines

There has to be some boundary here so that you guys actually consider hiring me (can't give EVERYTHING AWAY!), but there are a couple things that can impact a timeline so I thought I should bring those up not he blog: 

Photo by  Charity Maurer

When can we start?

When I say "we", I mean "me." Knowing what time the venue will allow the catering staff and my team to come in to begin set up on the wedding day will greatly impact the level of staffing needed. At the beginning of your planning process it is important you find out when the vendors can load in and what time they need to strike and be off the venue premises.  

Photo by  Cameron Ingalls

Hair and makeup.

Typically hair and makeup artists like about 2-3 hours for just the bride's hair and makeup. For bridesmaids, I typically schedule 30 minutes for makeup and 45 for hair unless the stylists would like more or less time. I always check with them first! Also, make sure to ask the moms and grandmas if they would like to have their hair and makeup done, because we don't want to leave them out of the fun that morning!

First Look.

I love a good first look. Mine was literally my favorite part of the wedding day (we both cried, it was super sweet) I typically like to give about 45 minutes of time for this activity, before the bridal party is invited to participate in photos. Almost always first look photos are the ones you will hang on your walls at home so give yourself some time. 

Photo by  Megan Robinson


YEESH. My least favorite thing to deal with honestly. Great for convenience to the guests but man-oh-man. I could probably write a whole blog post about this (and probably will)! "Spotting" is the term they use to talk about the actual arrival time of the vehicle. They will typically "spot" at the first pick up location about 10-15 minutes before the actual pick up time. That's the first thing to address. Then, you need to recognize that people move like cows on wedding days... not sure why but I am totally serious. Give the bridal party about 5-7 minutes to get in and out of the vehicle and give shuttle about 10 minutes to load in and load out guests. Add cushion time to shuttles and limos for travel time and adjust if traveling in the city, adjust more if there is a big event like a Giants game, Pride Parade, or some other function happening that day. If you have multiple stops, make sure they have the accurate address for each stop, and that you allot the appropriate time for load on and off at each place. Aim to have the shuttles drop about 30 minutes minutes before the ceremony start time. 


If you hire a band for your event, they typically play 45 minute sets with 15 minute breaks. They almost always need to eat before they play, and typically need time for a sound check before guests arrive.

Sunset Photos.

Most photographers would LOVE to snag you for 20-30 minutes of sunset photos during golden hour (the hour before the sun sets) so I recommend Googling "Sunset on {your wedding date} in {the city of your wedding venue}" to find out what time to plan for that.

At the end of the day, it's really best to hire a wedding planner to deal with he ins and outs of your wedding day timeline, but I hope that this was helpful to get you going!