Tips for a Relaxed Wedding Day Timeline

May 20, 2022

So you’re engaged, and your wedding day is finally in sight. *insert celebration here* 🎉 As a full-time wedding photographer (and past bride), I know how CRAZY those final few weeks are leading up to saying “I do”. If you feel yourself getting a little overwhelmed thinking about how much there is left to do, take this as your sign to: grab a glass of wine, curl up on the couch with a cozy blanket, and start reading through my top tips for a relaxed wedding day timeline. And when you’re done? Breathe a sigh of relief because it’s TIME TO GET MARRIED!

Wedding Day Timeline Tips:

Morning of – Getting Ready:

  • Communicate with your hair and makeup artists prior to your wedding day
  • How long will each of your bridesmaids take? How long will you take? 

This ensures that there is plenty of time for photos to be taken after you’ve gotten ready. Nobody will feel left out when it comes to poppin’ champagne, taking candids, or opening gifts.

  • Have your wedding day details ready for your photographer
  • Pro tip: have a box to store all of those little details. Maybe have your MOH or personal attendant in charge of getting the box to and from the photographer

Things to include:

  • Shoes
  • Jewelry (earrings, bracelets, necklaces)
  • Watch
  • Perfume
  • Ties
  • Cufflinks
  • Invitational suite
  • Hair accessories
  • Rings
  • Ring Boxes
  • Florals —> Bonus Points: ask your florist to include any scrap florals for your flat lay

Include buffer time for getting ready. Allow time to touch up any makeup, take care of flyaways, etc. 


If your ceremony, reception, or getting-ready locations are in different places, allow buffer time! Believe it or not, your wedding party will move a little bit slower in formal clothing. And also, if you’re taking a limousine or classic car, don’t expect them to be going 80 MPH down the interstate. Give yourself plenty of extra time to get from Point A to Point B.

First Look:

While a first look may only take 5 minutes, I like to allow my couples at least 20 minutes. This time might be spent clearing the area to allow for a private moment, the couple reading private vows, or just taking some time for themselves. I highly encourage allowing you and your spouse some time to take it all in. The day flies right on by…


Whether your ceremony is a traditional Catholic Mass or a 10 minute short-and-sweet ceremony, allow yourself a few minutes to breathe before walking down the aisle. The amount of emotions that surrounds you on your wedding day is something to embrace. 


Family Formals –

Right after the ceremony is a GREAT time to knock out the family formals. If you ran out of time before the ceremony, or skipped on the first look, this is the best time to do them. Before your wedding day, give your photographer a list of everyone you would like pictures with. Make sure to provide the relations as well to avoid any awkward family dynamics. 

Wedding Party Photos –

If you plan to do a first look, you’ll probably be able to take your wedding party photos before the ceremony. But in case you don’t, allow at least an hour for wedding party photos. I like to think of it as 30 minutes for group shots, and 30 minutes for individual shots. Feel free to schedule in some extra time for romantics with you and your honey! 

I always say “if it’s not in the timeline, it might not happen.” As sad as that may be, take it with a grain of salt. If there’s something that you really want captured on your wedding day, let’s put it in your timeline! That way, nothing gets missed. 

Golden Hour:

Depending on when your wedding day is, golden hour is usually around dinner time or after the first dance. If your hearts are set on making some magic in the golden light, allow at least 10 minutes for these. Time and time again, my couples have said their golden hour photos are their favorites. 

Remainder of the Reception:

After all of the other parts of the day are said and done, the rest of the night really just flows naturally! Your photographer will be there for your cake cutting, dancing, speeches, etc. Make sure to be aware of your photographer’s departure time – especially if you want to do an exit or anything like that. 

Side Note on Sparkler/ Fun Exits- Doing these earlier in the night to kick off the party is the way to go! If you wait until later, the harder it is to wrangle everyone to one spot because let’s be honest, usually the beverages are flowing and it might get dangerous if it’s late into the party.

Alright, lover. You’ve GOT THIS. Time to write out your timeline now that you’ve gotten all the tips for a relaxed wedding day timeline. I really like to write timelines backwards. Start with what time the reception ends, to when dinner is served, and so on. 

Chat with your photographer if you need any help figuring out the details of the day! Happy planning, babe. I can’t wait for you to get hitched!! 

Natalie & Justin’s Vendor List:

Photography – Michelle Godfrey Photo
Videography – Taylor Benedict
DJ – Andre Whatley
Hair – Angela’s Hair
Venue – Glen Oak



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