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The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Wedding Timeline

Down to the minute details! This is what you see on a wedding timeline, but how do you create such a thorough plan?

The answer is to think through the entire day from every angle. Sounds easy, right? No worries, we are here to help!

Where to start?

  • Start by setting your ceremony time and working backward.

  • Hair and makeup will likely be the first thing on your list. - Start it around 5 hours before ceremony time.

  • Vendor Setup - Most vendors are used to a 2-3 hour setup window. Unless you have the venue rented all day and vendors can come at any time, I would have them arrive around 3 hours before. Some will not need this long and will let you know that!

  • Pictures, Pictures, Pictures! - Take as many pictures as possible prior to the wedding! Of course many do not want a first look, but you can still do bridesmaids, groomsmen, bridal portraits, groom portraits, and immediate family before. - Start this 3 hours before the ceremony.

  • Plan to be tucked away about 45 minutes prior to the ceremony! Guests will start arriving then.

Now, we’ve reached the ceremony time!

  • The key to creating your processional is to first determine who all will be involved. Then, if you want to follow a traditional order, check out our processional list below.

Seating of Grandparents and Parents:

  • Seating of Groom’s Grandparents (Right Side if facing alter) – Usher may escort Grandmother with Grandfather following, or the Grandparents can walk together.

  • Seating of Bride’s Grandparents (Left Side) – Usher may escort Grandmother with Grandfather following, or the Grandparents can walk together.

  • Seating of Groom’s Mother and Father (Right side) – Escorted by usher with Father following behind or escorted by Father.

  • Seating of Bride’s Mother (Left Side) – Usher or Father of Bride may escort her. If the Father escorts her, he then exits down a side aisle or main aisle to go meet the bride.

Bridal Party:

Groom/Groomsmen Option 1:

  • The Officiate, Groom, and Groomsmen enter from a side door or down main aisle in the following order.

  • Officiate

  • Groom

  • Best Man

  • Groomsmen

Groom/Groomsmen Option 2:

  • Officiate and Groom enter from side door or main aisle to stand at alter. (Best Man may accompany as well.)

  • Groomsmen escort bridesmaids down aisle.

Bridesmaids Order:

  • Maid or Matron of Honor

  • Bridesmaids


  • Ring Bearer

  • Flower Girl


Father of the Bride and Bride

Finally, you’ve made it to the ceremony! This is typically created by the couple and officiate.

And now that you are finally Mr. and Mrs.!!! it’s time for the recessional. This one is easy. You go in opposite order of how you entered.

  • Bride and Groom

  • Children

  • Bridesmaids and Groomsmen in pairs

  • Bride’s parents

  • Groom’s parents

  • Brides’ grandparents

  • Groom’s grandparents

The next hour is very much up to you, but likely you’ll want to have a cocktail hour so that you have time for more pictures and your guests can enjoy socializing before dinner. You don’t have to have alcohol to do this! Many are calling it social hour and guests can enjoy a drink and h'dourves.

If you want to follow a traditional reception schedule after cocktail hour, we’ve got it all ready below. But remember, this is your wedding, so switch things up if you want :)

  • Family and bridal party pictures

  • Cocktail Hour begins for guests

  • Move guests to tables.

  • Announce bridal party.

  • Announce Mr. and Mrs.

  • First Dance

  • Parent toasts

  • Blessing

  • Dinner

  • Toasts – Maid of Honor and Best Man

  • Cut the Cake

  • Parent dances

  • Open the dance floor

  • Bouquet and garter toss

  • Dance

  • Exit

Remember, this is your day, so you can decide how you want schedule things! But, do make sure you have a schedule ready so that you can enjoy your big day :)

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