As your wedding day approaches, you may have started preparing your wedding day timeline – a detailed rundown of the day’s events. Beyond the basics of what time things happen, there are a handful of extra details to be mindful of to ensure that you have covered your bases. Be prepared by including some of the finer details that I’ve included below.

Makeup and Hair

The first thing you will do on your wedding is getting prepped for makeup/hair and getting dressed.

Ensure you have an accurate timeline for this by asking your makeup and hair artist for a rough timeline that involves everyone needing to get styled.

Expert tip – include a little buffer time in case hair and makeup runs late.

Include time for you to put on your wedding dress, and include extra time if you have anything that requires lacing up. Photographers always prolong the time you need for putting a dress on with photos needed, so it is not usually a quick task.

So many of my brides end up starting their day late because they did not allot enough time in their schedule for makeup and hair.

Expert tip – Order hearty (but not messy) food for the wedding party in the morning and have everyone eat. This may be your only time to eat during the day!



Timing your food

Ask your venue for their recommendations for timing your dinner agenda, as you need to account for serving the food, eating the food, and then clearing the dishes. This is often a part of the timeline that is miscalculated for how much time it will take. The more guests you have, the more time it will take to serve and clear the plates. If you have speeches happening in and around dinner time, you certainly do not want wait staff to be clanging around dishes, nor do you want your food to be cold because you slotted in too many activities before the food is served. Usually you will want to stop food service when a speech is going on.


AV Cues

Whether it is your AV person, DJ or just a friend helping you out, they will need to know what your rundown will look like in terms of the audio-visual needs. Take the guess work out by listing out all the things you require of them. This usually is a separate rundown, but with an extra column for AV needs, detailing what song to be played, what mics are needed and any extra things to be prepped like videos or slideshows to be played at what time.

Make sure the important vendors who are helping you with the soundtrack of your wedding day have the cues they need for success.


Typically I recommend couples to start planning their wedding day timeline as early as possible, then make changes to the details as they get closer. This at least gives you a rough idea of when things will take place (this will be useful when booking vendors that are calculated hourly like photographers). About two months in, you should have a pretty good idea of what time things will happen, when deliveries will be made and so on. If you are having trouble envisioning the day, consult with your wedding planner, photographer or venue, as these parties usually have a good idea of how things are timed.

A detailed wedding timeline will be very useful for sending out to the venue, vendors and helpers closer to the day. With these tips under your wing, you should be all set for creating a detailed timeline to distribute.

With an experienced planner on your side, a lot of these will already have been thought through. If you aren’t working with a planner yet, take a look at our popular wedding planning services to see if one might be helpful for you.

All the best in your planning!

Photo credit: Mango Studios

Rebecca Chan is a Toronto wedding planner and day of wedding coordinator providing sophisticated planning for the style-savvy couple. Whether you need planning assistance or wedding day coordination, Rebecca can help you create your dream wedding day. Contact her today, she'd love to hear from you.