wedding timeline planning - couple's first dance

When you hire a wedding vendor, one of the first things they’ll ask you about is your wedding timeline. A clear, detailed sequence of events allows everyone involved in your big day to understand exactly where they need to be and when.

But your wedding timeline involves more than just the start and end times for your ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception. You need to break down every step of your day — from wedding party preparations to your final dance — to keep everyone moving and on track. While your photographer, videographer, MC, and venue staff can help with this, you and your fiance need to work out a plan for each of these vendors to follow.

What does a wedding timeline look like?

Your wedding timeline is a list of specific time blocks set aside for each event throughout your day. The more detailed your timeline is, the more likely you are to stay on track.

Below is an example of a wedding timeline. Not every couple’s timeline will look like this, as many modern brides and grooms choose to omit or reorder certain “traditions” during their reception. However, this list should give you an idea of what the average wedding day looks like:

  • 1:00 pm: Photographer and videographer arrive to capture wedding party preparations.
  • 3:00 pm: First look
  • 3:30 pm: Wedding party and family portraits
  • 4:30 pm: Couple portraits
  • 4:45 pm: Guests seated for ceremony
  • 5:00 pm: Ceremony
  • 5:30 pm: Ceremony ends / cocktail hour begins. Additional photo and video shots with couple.
  • 6:30 pm Cocktail hour ends / guests seated in reception room
  • 6:40 pm: Wedding party introductions
  • 6:50 pm: Newlywed grand entrance and introduction
  • 7:00 pm: Couple and parent dances
  • 7:15 pm: Toasts
  • 7:30 pm: Dinner served
  • 8:30 pm: Cake cut and served
  • 9:00 pm: Open dance floor
  • 11:00 pm: Final dance/couple’s grand exit

A well-planned timeline is very important for keeping your vendors on schedule, but the biggest benefit is eliminating a huge source of stress for you on your wedding day. Your vendors are professionals, and with your plan in hand, they’ll be able to facilitate seamless transitions from one event to the next, while you two enjoy your celebration.

Can our vendors help us with our wedding timeline?

Yes! When you book Hurricane Productions for your wedding, you’ll have access to our easy-to-use online planning portal, which allows you to customize your wedding timeline exactly the way you want it. This will ensure that your Hurricane DJ, MC, photographer, and/or videographer all have access to the exact same information and can coordinate with each other ahead of time.

If you’re struggling to plan your timeline and need some guidance, our full-time staff members are available to help you every step of the way. Our general manager, Chelsea, assists every single Hurricane client in their planning process, and can give you some insights on how other couples have structured their wedding day. You can also speak directly with your media and entertainment team to get their thoughts and come up with a plan that works well for everyone.

Your vendors can also help you with any day-of changes to your wedding timeline that may arise. Let’s say you decide that morning that you really want to get a certain photo or video shot that you didn’t plan for. You can discuss it with your media team to see where else during the day you can fit that shoot in. Similarly, if you realize right before the reception that you’d rather scrap the planned bouquet and garter toss, just let your MC and DJ know and they’ll add a few extra tracks to the playlist.

Do we need to include every traditional wedding element in our timeline?

Your wedding timeline is your own. There’s no rule saying you need to have a first look (although we highly recommend it!), nor do you need parent dances, a formal cake-cutting ceremony, or anything that doesn’t feel like “you.”

Your family, friends, and vendors can certainly make suggestions, but ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what you do and don’t want to include in your wedding day events. Just be sure that whatever you do want to happen, gets a spot on your final wedding timeline.

Haven’t booked your wedding day entertainment, photography, or videography yet? Check out Hurricane Productions’ all-inclusive wedding packages or request a quote to confirm our availability for your day.

If you would like to receive booking information or would like to make an appointment please contact us using the form below.

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