Wedding day timeline schedule on a wood sign.

There are 24 hours in a day and somehow we feel like the amount of time we have to fit in all of our wedding festivities just isn’t enough!

Whether you’ve hired a wedding planner who will be working with you to write your timeline, or you’re your own wedding planner unsure of  how much time to allot to each activity, we’re giving you the breakdown below!

Getting Ready

It is a good rule of thumb to set aside 1-1.5 hours of makeup and hair per person in your bridal party, and 2-3 hours of makeup and hair time for the bride.

If you’re traveling from a salon or somewhere off-site from your venue where you were getting ready, make sure to double the expected travel time to the venue itself.

If doing a first look before the ceremony, remember to include that into your getting ready time, about 60 minutes for the first look itself and any portraits. Ensure everyone is ready to go 10-15 minutes prior to the ceremony to take care of any last minute touch ups before going down the aisle!

The Ceremony

Surprisingly, ceremonies are not as long as people think, usually no longer than 15-20 minutes including your bridal party walking down the aisle. Try not to go over 30 minutes to prevent you or your guests from getting antsy to move on.

Family and Bridal Portraits

Consider carving out an hour of time after the ceremony to take photos while your guests are at cocktail hour, that way you can move straight into your formal introduction after photos are completed!

After your formal introduction, you could go into dinner or your first dance. From this point on, the order of activities is really up to you!


This is dependent on whether you are doing a sit down style or buffet style (buffet style can take  a bit longer as you wait for tables to be released and served.) Plan to set aside about 45 minutes to an hour for dinner where you can move into toasts as people are finishing their meals.


It is best to keep toasts at 2-3 minutes per person. To prevent toasts from taking up a lot of time, have your speakers pre-determined.

Cake Cutting

This usually happens towards the end of the night and is about 5-10 minutes, allowing you to cut the cake and have your guests grab a slice before the dancing gets started. Consider having your cake cutting prior to the first dance as it will give your guests something to enjoy while they watch.

First Dance/Parent Dances

First dances and parent dances will usually take no longer than 10 minutes. You don’t have to dance for a full song either! You can always split a song in half for each of the parents. After the dances, it is the perfect transition to open up the dance floor!

With these tips in mind, it’s time to start planning out your timeline! Remember that your timeline is not meant to stress you out and be followed to the T, but more for you to have a general guide to help your day flow!

Need help creating your wedding timeline? Check out our wedding planning services inside our Information Pack or use our tools yourself with our DIY Wedding Planning Package.