How Do I Build A Wedding Timeline?

Your wedding timeline is essentially the “bible” for your day. It determines who is where and when. It tells you when your hair and makeup starts, when it ends, when you’ll be taking hair and makeup photos. Literally every detail of the entire day should be in there. Does your MIL need to have a first look with your fiancé? Put it in the timeline. Do you want to make sure you use the bathroom before you put on your dress? Put it in the timeline. Does décor need to be moved over from ceremony to reception? Put it in the timeline. Without a timeline you have chaos. With a timeline, you have organized chaos. 😁 A much better alternative! The idea is that wedding day is such a highly stimulating day that sometimes things get forgotten - enter, timeline, your reminder list of what to do and when. As your Seas Your Day Coordinators, we always provide an extensively detailed timeline to be sure not even a flower petal falls out of place. Did you know the average SYD timeline has 45 (yes FORTY FIVE) individual events on it? Even the potty breaks are factored in! However, just in case you are trying to work on yours before you get to meet your coordinator, we want to make sure you get at least the basics down!.

Anna So Photography

  • Start at ceremony and work backwards and forwards. You’ll want to choose a time about 1.5 to 2 hours before sunset to allow for a 30 minute ceremony and an hour of photos before you lose the light. This is a huge first step because the time will be going on your Save The Dates and your invitations. Start here!!


  • Since we know you are probably considering those EPIC sunset photos (and we and almost every photographer HIGHLY suggests you do) look up what time sunset will be on that day, so you can begin to map out that ceremony start time. (This helps for the point above too!) It's also a great opportunity to spend some alone time together and take in the day!

Lindsey Alaine Photography

  • Next ask your photographer how many hours you have contracted and decide where you would like those hours to be. In the instance you would like getting ready photos to start at 2, so your first look can go down at 3 and you will bouncing, stress free all the way to ceremony by 4 but your photography package only comes with 6 hours it may seem like you are losing a lot at the end. There is almost always an option to add an extra hour or two, but if you need to make some cuts we suggest the last couple hours of the night. Yes, everyone is having the time of their lives and those photos can be so fun!! But you won’t miss out on all of them, and those moments before the ceremony are so personal and special we would hate for you to miss them. Also ask your photographer for a basic outline of how long they are considering it will take for each photo segment (ie getting ready photos, couples photos, bridal party photos) to help get an idea of how much time is needed for each section of the day. We’ve added the typical times later in this blog but it’s always good to ask the photographer how much time they like to allot for each part of the day.


  • Decide if you’re considering a first look, first touch, or if you’re seeing each other for the first time down the aisle. We LOVE suggesting a first look for so many reasons. From the practical side of things, you will be able to get many couples and bridal party shots done before ceremony. This means that you'll actually get to share some of those delicious appetizers you paid for during cocktail hour with all your guests! Another great reason is for all those feelings you have on wedding day!! A first look gives you a super intimate experience where you both get every ounce of love and happiness just for the two of you. Now that doesn't mean it's all business when it comes to that big walk down the aisle, that just means once you get there you'll have gotten all the big feelings out of the way and you get to be totally present in the moment.

  • SYD Pro Tip✨: One SYD teammate raves about her first look because she was able to take in so much more while walking down the aisle instead of panicking about keeping the tears at bay. She remembers all the faces of the guests on the aisle, and the wink her soon-to-be husband gave her while she was walking down with her dad. All those butterflies and overwhelming emotions got to be shared at their first look and her ceremony was actually that much more special because of it.

Lindsey Alaine Photography

Shelbi DeMartino Photography

Sycamore and Cypress Photography

  • 🔥HOT TIP🔥: If you’re going straight into couple’s photos, consider having your rings on hand for ring shots. You can take them off again before ceremony! You can’t have wedding photos with no wedding rings!


  • If you’re not doing a first look: consider doing a first touch. You can read each other letters, do private vows, exchange gifts. It can be a really emotional moment while still keeping that grand reveal for that moment down the aisle.


  • Our friends at Beaute Speciale say to allow one hour for each hair and makeup service. This amount of time allows for a timing buffer and time for more complex styles. That being said, communicate with your bridesmaids about their desired styles and with your vendor on how long a specific style will take their team that way you can allot the correct amount of time…. Then add 15 minutes. The more stylists can prepare, the more efficient they will be. For one reason or another, oftentimes hair and makeup can run behind. It’s best just to add time - if you don’t need it on wedding day, that’s extra down time to just enjoy yourselves.


  • 🔥HOT TIP🔥: Schedule a hair and makeup trial so that you and your stylist know around how much time your bridal style will take! So helpful!

Sycamore and Cypress Photography

  • Allow 20 minutes for your photographer to capture detail shots. This is where you can get all of your accessories and mementos photographed!


  • 🔥HOT TIP🔥: This will be the first thing your photographer does so be sure to have a box with all of these items ready to go!


  • Allow 25 minutes for getting ready photos. This is your chance to show off robes or PJs, get “fake” makeup application and hair spray photos, pop open a bottle of champagne and spray it everywhere, clink those champagne glasses… get all those fun pre-wedding outfit giggles out and photographed!


  • 🔥HOT TIP🔥: When spraying a bottle of champagne: shake, pop, and immediately cover most of the opening with your thumb to create the spray. Keep shaking until it’s all gone! Follow up tip: make sure that cork is pointed anywhere but at the moneymaker!!! Keep it far, far away from your face, and your besties too!... and your photographer, please don’t hit your photographer.

Lindsey Alaine Photography

  • Allow one hour for all of your bridal party photos - both solo guys and solo girls and photos with the whole bridal party. Create a shot list for this! Write down all the combinations you want:

  • Bride and all girls

  • Bride and Sally

  • Bride and Susie

  • Bride and Mary

  • Groom and all guys

  • Groom and Bill

  • Groom and Bobby

  • Groom an