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Top 5 factors to consider if you want to build the PERFECT Wedding Day Timeline.

Something I have noticed over the years, is that the creating the perfect wedding day timeline can stress out a lot of people.. even more so than the whole planning process itself. That is understandable.. you want to make sure you are considerate of your guests, keeping the timeline fluid so they are entertained, but also you want to maximize your time with your vendors.

The Grand Ivory | Dallas Wedding Planner
Sunset at The Grand Ivory

As a professional wedding planner + coordinator, planning your vendors around a realistic wedding day timeline is a very important part of my job. (Along with finding Rockstar vendors, and managing budget!) I work really closely with your vendors not only leading up to your wedding, but very closely on the day of. I am constantly buzzing around between photo/video/entertainment and the couple to ensure that things are in place before we transition into the next task.

Continue reading along to get put onto some key factors to consider when building your wedding day timeline!

And I know some of you are thinking to yourself - "JACILYN!? Why are you handing out this knowledge that you get paid for?"

You see, while I like to keep certain things for my clients only - I also like to drop little nuggets of knowledge and guidance for those who cannot afford having a planner or coordinator. Now, I won't go out of my way per say to help for free but let's be real - this information can be found via google pretty quickly.

It is not like I'm reinventing the wheel over here.. Holla if ya hear me!

Now, there will be many deciding factors when it comes to building the perfect timeline for your wedding day. Your planner/coordinator should have all the tips for you when it comes to this.. However, if you find yourself without a planner or coordinator, CALL ME. JK - kind of. But should you be in that position - your photographer should have a pretty solid recommendation for you based on what works well for the usual flow of events on a wedding day. Your DJ would also have a pretty solid lead for you on the formalities of the ceremony/reception.

While not all wedding day timelines will flow exactly the same, majority of them will include a very similar structure.

Here are some key topics to consider when building your wedding day timeline. Once you have the answers to these, you can go in and build a solid timeline.

  1. Will your ceremony and reception be at the same venue?

  2. Are you planning to have a first look?

  3. What time is the sunset? And is your venue in the open, or is it surrounded by trees/buildings etc.? These things will determine if we will lose any sunlight sooner than the expected sunset time.

  4. How are you planning to have dinner served? There will be a difference in serve time between a food truck and buffet. Or maybe you are blending your cocktail hour and dinner to allow for more photos.

  5. Is your photographer/videographer scheduled to be there the whole night? You may want to consider having a fake send off.

Once you've gotten those answers, you can start piercing it all together. My personal suggestion when starting with the timeline would be to base everything around the sunset.

For example - if you are getting married in December, your sun will be setting at 5:23, as opposed to a wedding in July. The sun is projected to set at 8:32. That alone can shift your whole timeline by THREE HOURS.

Now that we've figured out the sunset on your wedding day.. think about whether or not you'll be doing a first look. Having the answer to that will let you know what time to start said ceremony. (It also dictates what time you need to have your hair and makeup completed!)

First Look with Bride and Groom at The Grand Ivory | Dallas Wedding Planner
Greg getting ready for his first look with Marghan!

We at NBL are huge advocates for a first look before your ceremony. It allows you to gather as many photos of you, your significant other along with your wedding party before any guests arrive. Once the ceremony is over, you're able to wrap up families formals, get some golden hour shots of you two (depending when the sunset is - you may have to come back out during dinner for that).. and then prepare for your grand introduction.

It is possible to not have a first look and have all the photos taken after the ceremony, again, you just have to be realistic with how many guests are in attendance that will be included in your formals, along with you and your wedding party.

Once you have all of these notes together, work on that timeline and please be realistic! What you think usually takes 5-10 minutes, a lot yourself 20-30 minutes. It's a lot easier to be ahead of schedule than run behind. (If you had someone like us on your vendor team, we'd ensure you that you won't even have to look at the time. We'll keep things graceful, and in motion.)

I hope you all enjoy this kind of format and content that I'm working on. If you have any topics you want to hear more about, please put them in the comments below. I'd really love to build a community here. 🤍




Hair + Makeup: @Oliviamacieglam

Entertainment: @uptownsound

Food + Beverages: @texas_catering


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