Chose the right wedding day timeline for your outdoor wedding; follow these tips to ensure that you get the most out of your day.


If you’re currently in the wedding planning stages, or just preparing for when the time comes, one of the most important details is your wedding timeline. While it may seem pretty straight forward, the intricacy of this task should not be disregarded or mistaken for unimportant.


Season Equals Reason for Best Wedding Day Timeline

The season you choose to get married will greatly affect the day of time line for your wedding. Pretty self explanatory, right? If you’re getting married outside, consider the time of sunset; it could be the detail that makes your wedding night electric! (Check out our gallery of Spring Lake Sunsets to see what I mean!) It is also helpful to review weather trends from the previous year. These reports can be found by searching topics like, “weather on June 1st, 2020.” The weather is never predictable but by reviewing the weather from years past, you can have a decent idea of what to expect and plan accordingly.


Wedding Day Timeline Do’s & Don’ts

Here it is,  the tip of the day; (P.s. every wedding planner in America will agree with me) Do not over estimate time. If you aren’t a professional wedding guest, then I am guessing you really don’t know how long a ceremony actually lasts. It is easy to imagine that a ceremony would take 20-30 minutes. However, after being witness to many, many wedding ceremonies, the average is actually only about 10-15.  Planning to include any special traditions in your ceremony, such as a song, mixing sands or braiding three strands? These traditions could potentially prolong the length of your ceremony and should be carefully considered.

Another block of time that should never be underestimated is family photos. Sadly, despite everyone’s best planning, getting all the family, wedding party & friends to cooperate in a timely manner is next to impossible. It takes time to pose the perfect photo when there are that many faces and you definitely don’t want to run out of time, or daylight! Make a list of all the family/friend/wedding party photo variations that will take place after the ceremony. Have the list prepared ahead of time to ensure that no important photos are overlooked. Your photographer can use this list and help you guestimate how much time you should block off to capture these photos.


Dinner and Dessert

Regardless of where you get married, if you’re serving dinner at your reception, the timing matters. When writing your wedding day timeline, it is helpful to fill in the most important times, first. We call these “hard times.” It is not uncommon for your wedding day to get a little off track when it comes to time, and thats okay! By starting with the hard times, you can add other important time markers without getting overwhelmed. The type of catering that you chose should be taken into account when choosing a time for dinner. Most packages are offered buffet style, but the type of food you chose will impact the time it takes for your guests to be served. BBQ dinners can be served (and eaten) quicker than a full corse steak dinner.

Cake cutting is almost always included on a wedding day timeline. It is a tradition that is easily overlooked when reception festivities are in full swing. Chose a time, about 30-45 minutes after dinner for cake cutting. If you have 75 guest or less, 20-30 minutes is plenty. Your DJ can make an announcement when it is time for cake cutting, it is a great way to get everyones attention at once.


Final Farewell

Your time of arrival to the wedding venue greatly effects the time of your final send off; typically this happens around 9pm. Calculate the time of your send off based on how you plan to leave. For example, if you’re leaving the venue before your guests, you could plan your send off as late as your allotted time will allow. If you’re planning to take part in the break down and clean up of your big day, it is wise to plan your final send off earlier in the evening. It is worth mentioning that guests take longer to leave that you might think. Including your final send off on the wedding day timeline lets guests know the night is coming to an end.



There are many things to consider when planning a wedding and time is important. If you’re unsure about the time line or what the best times are for your wedding day, ask your professionals! Your photographer, caterer, and any of our venue staff are happy to give you examples of timelines that meet your style.