Trust me when I say that your wedding day will be a whirlwind – an exciting, wonderful whirlwind, but one nonetheless. There are so many moving parts and you certainly don’t want to leave anything out on the big day! That’s where the perfect wedding timeline comes in. Creating your timeline can seem like a huge chore, but with these 5 steps and our helpful tips you can breeze right through stress free planning your wedding in DC, Maryland, and Virginia!



Wedding timeline from Maryland Etsy designer Pomp Creative

Gather together all of the special moments that you know you want to include day of. Asking the following questions can help you begin.

  • What are the specific moments that you can’t live without?
  • Are you doing a first look?
  • How long will it take to get to your various venues?
  • How long will your ceremony last?
  • What time can you get into your reception space?
  • Do you want to attend cocktail hour or would you rather use this time for photos?
  • How many people will be giving toasts and how long do you want to give them to do so?
  • Are you doing a first dance and parent dances?

Start with the portions of the day that are already set in stone or are out of your control and use these as your jumping off point. For example, your ceremony, cocktail hour, reception, and end-of-night are probably already designated at this point, so use them to decide when to begin getting ready or when to start your first look.

Decide who will be included in which aspects of the day and use that to determine the amount of time needed. If you decided to have your bridesmaids do their own hair and makeup, you won’t need to block out as much time for your beauty specialist, but if one or two women are working on all 6 of your ladies, you may need to start a little earlier.


DC Whittemore House Wedding Photo by Victoria Ruan Photography

Consider the timelines that your vendors have chosen for themselves. If you only have your photographer for a certain number of hours, you may not want them to spend a large chunk of time taking “getting ready shots” and may opt for them to stay until the end of the reception instead. Some vendors have unlimited time built into their contracts though, so make sure to check that out!

Remember that your timeline is not the end all be all! Feel free to change items as more and more details become known to you. Even on the big day, don’t stress the little things! When dealing with large groups of people things are bound to change so just enjoy your time with your loved ones – everyone is there for you and your love!


Make sure to check out our other advice tips on gathering information on creating wedding timelines. Or look no further than our curated Vendor Guide find the perfect DC wedding planner to assist in making sure your DC, Maryland, or Virginia wedding runs smoothly!

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