Wedding Timeline Printable and Guide

Yikes! You're engaged .. now what?

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It's time to start thinking about how you're going to get ready for the big day! What do you do first? Where do you even begin? A wedding timeline will be required to assist you in organizing and managing all aspects of your wedding preparations. 

If you're like me and you like to take time to plan things properly then you'll have started planning your 2023/2024 wedding now. Even if you're just gathering ideas and creating a Pinterest mood board, your wedding planning journey has started.

Setting a wedding date two years from the date of engagement allows a full year to research themes, color schemes, venues, location, and all the niceties of wedding planning. It also gives you time to save the money to pay for it all. The real work though starts a year ahead of the wedding date as those ideas are put into motion.

How to create your own wedding timeline, planning schedule

Wedding planning typically takes between eight and sixteen months. Identifying priorities is essential because every couple's wedding timeline will be different. Decide how many months or weeks before the wedding you want to devote to each interval. It is recommended that you divide your wedding timeline into different time intervals. Choose a date and location for your wedding ceremony and reception.

It is highly recommended that you create a wedding website after you have completed all of the time-consuming tasks. Make a list of everything you'd like to receive and begin putting together your gift registry. It is recommended that you send out invitations anywhere from four months to two months before the event. You should be finalizing the menu with the caterer, ordering your wedding favors, and arranging transportation for your wedding guests. Do not forget to purchase your wedding bands, last but not least.

It is critical that you meet with your photographer and videographer to discuss how you would like them to capture the entire wedding ceremony and reception on film. 

A wedding timeline guide

Note this list is not exhaustive but is a good guide.


1. Decide on a date for the wedding. Everything is dependent on this!

2. Decide whether you want a large wedding or a small wedding, a formal or informal reception - determine your wedding style.

When planning a large wedding, you may want to consider hiring a wedding consultant to assist you with the planning. 3. It will be well worth your while!

4. Who will contribute to the cost of everything? Meet with those who will contribute to the cost of expenses to determine how much money is available.

5. Once the date has been set, reserve the locations for the ceremony and reception. In most cases, a deposit is required.

6. Select your maid/matron of honor, bridesmaids, best man, groomsmen, and other wedding party members.

7. Get started on compiling your guest list. Once you have a good idea of how many people will be attending, you can estimate how much the reception will cost. This is typically the most expensive item.


1. Send Save-the-Date cards to everyone on your guest list in order to ensure that your wedding has the largest possible attendance. Guests will make arrangements months in advance!

2. Make a wedding gift registry at your local department store. 

3. Meet with the person who will be performing your ceremony - a priest, a local official, or someone else.

4. Select a caterer/menu, a cake baker, a florist, a band/musicians/dj, a photographer, and a videographer (after meeting with them and viewing samples of their work).

Purchase or make a decision on your wedding gown, headpiece/veil, underwear/pantyhose/bra, shoes and jewelry.


1. Arrange to have any engagement photographs taken. This is an excellent opportunity to get a feel for the photographer.

2. Make a decision on your honeymoon destination. It is necessary to make reservations.

3) Select and purchase dresses and accessories for the bridesmaids to wear.

4. Make a decision on and place orders for groomsmen formal wear, such as tuxedos, shoes, and other accessories.

5. Select wedding colors and themes so that mothers can begin shopping for their daughters' wedding gowns.

4 months

1. Make certain that the gown is appropriate for the occasion and that it can be altered if necessary.

2. Make a final decision on the guest list.

3. Investigate hotel options for out-of-town guests who will be visiting.

4. Order your wedding invitations as soon as possible.

5. Begin purchasing items for your wedding ceremony, such as a unity candle, a ring bearer pillow, a flower girl basket, a guest book and pen, a garter, and other accessories.

6. Begin purchasing reception-related items, such as favors, a cake topper, decorations, centerpieces, toasting glasses, a cake serving set, and so on.

3 months

1. Begin by addressing those invitations and calculating the appropriate postage amount for them.

2. Determine your mode of transportation to the wedding - limo, trusted friend, etc.

Setting the date and location for the rehearsal and dinner is step three.

4. Make final arrangements for the honeymoon and ensure that all necessary paperwork has been completed. If you require a passport, obtain one immediately!

2 months

1. Confirm with vendors, such as the caterer/menu, the bakery for the cake, the florist, the musicians/band/dj, the photographer, and the videographer.

2. Send out the wedding invitations via regular mail.

3) Keep track of who is planning to attend and who isn't.

4. Place an order for wedding programs for the ceremony. Meet with the priest or other official to finalize the details of the ceremony.

5. As a thank you, purchase gifts for the bridesmaids and groomsmen.

Buy something special for your groom.

7. Finalize the seating arrangements for the reception and other final details.

8. Write out the placecards - enlist the assistance of your bridesmaids for this task.

9. Confirm with everyone who will be attending that they are aware of the location and time of the rehearsal dinner.

10. Compile a list of name change forms (bride).

11. Make your wedding vows.

12. Prepare any toasts or speeches that you want to give. Make sure the best man and maid of honor are on the same page about their speeches so there are no surprises.

13. Apply for a marriage license.

1 month

1. Get your hair and makeup ready for the big day.

2. Check that your dress is a good fit (bride and bridesmaids).

3. Keep a list of wedding gifts you've already received, thank you notes you've sent out, and an RSVP list for your guests to make it easier to remember who's coming.

4. Make certain that all wedding helpers are aware of their responsibilities, including the reader, guest book attendant, gift table attendant, ushers, ring bearer, flower girl, servers, and cleanup crew.

1 week

1. Confirm everything with all of your vendors one last time.

2. Confirm the location of the ceremony and reception with the venue coordinator.

3. Confirm with the caterer/hotel that the final guest count for meals has been received.

Lastly, prepare your suitcases for the honeymoon trip.

5. Pick up the wedding gown and store it in a secure location. Last but not least, double-check your fit!

6. The groom and his attendants must collect their outfits and store them in a secure location. Check for proper fit!

7. Put together a wedding-day emergency kit, which should include items such as tissues, a sewing kit, deodorant, cameras, extra pantyhose, makeup, a mirror, a toothbrush, breath mints, and so on.

8. Go to bed at a consistent time each night so that you look your best on your wedding day.

9. Take it easy. You're almost ready to exchange wedding vows!

On the Day - How To Create A Wedding Day Itinerary

Your itinerary will assist you, your Bridal Party, and Family in determining where they need to be and when they need to be there.

Begin with broad swaths of time from the end of the reception; once the broad swaths of time are established, you can fill in the details.

The first thing you must do is determine the end time of the reception. 

When are you required to exit the reception hall? Once you've gathered that information, you'll need to allow time for clear up, unless you've made arrangements to do so the following day. 

Allow at least two hours for deconstruction, whether you are doing it yourself or hiring someone to do it for you. If you're in a hotel's reception hall, the party is typically cut off at midnight to allow their staff to clean up and your group to tear down. The Hotel is not obligated to remove your decor; this is your responsibility. You will need to return all rentals to their original boxes. Linens do not need to be folded; they are typically placed in laundry-style bags to be returned.

CAUTION: Ensure that you understand how linens and other rental items should be returned. Are they going to collect them or are you going to be responsible for returning them? Additionally, if they must sit for a day before being returned to the rental location, store them in a cool, dry location. If you store them in the garage following the large outdoor tent wedding, where the temperature is 80 degrees and the humidity is 90 percent, they will mildew and you may be held liable for the additional cleaning fees!

You have four hours of open bar 

Even if you have a limited bar, this is the general amount of time, one hour of cocktails, and then the bar will close for an hour before reopening for three more hours. Assuming you end the night at 12 a.m. minus three hours, you arrive at 9 p.m. when the dance floor is opened.

Allow an hour to an hour and a half for dinner and cake. 

This will also vary according to the number of guests and whether the meal is plated or buffet. Buffet service will take slightly longer; inquire with your caterer. They'll have a good idea of their capacity for feeding people. Therefore, for the sake of argument, it is a plated dinner, and we allow them an hour for dinner and cake. This brings us to 7:30 PM, when dinner will begin. This provides some cushioning. 7:30 p.m. minus time for guests to enter and be seated, your Bridal Party Introduction and "For the First Time Ever, We Introduce Mr. and Mrs...", your grand entrance into the dining room, and the hour of cocktails. 7:30 minus one and a half hours equals 6 p.m. Are you beginning to see how to accomplish this?

Cocktail hour begins at 6 p.m. 

The ceremony will take place in the small town where you grew up, approximately 20 minutes from the reception. You must allow sufficient time for your guests to travel from the ceremony to the reception. Uncle Bob is a slow driver; allow them a half-hour to drive. Without a doubt, after the ceremony, people will mingle, and you will have them throw rose petals at you as you exit the Church. Thirty minutes will be allotted for the ceremony (You know this because you asked the Minister how long it will take.) 6 p.m. minus thirty minutes for driving, 5:30 p.m. minus a half hour for socializing, taking pictures, and throwing petals, and you're at 5 p.m. minus thirty minutes for the ceremony, Ta Da, 4:30 p.m. ceremony start time.

Create a list of everything that needs to be accomplished that day: 

Hair, makeup, and pictures of you getting dressed (Are you getting dressed at home or at the ceremony location?) Are you planning to see each other prior to the ceremony? I will admit that some girls are adamant about this, but seeing each other prior to the ceremony makes life so much easier. You can complete all of your photographs. Additionally, the first time you see each other can be quite moving. This moment is entirely yours! You will have time to converse and express your feelings. It's likely to be the final private moment of the day. 

Communicate with your photographer; they will have a timeline for when they will complete tasks; incorporate his timeline into yours. 

Typically, a 4:30 wedding will begin photographs at 1 PM, which means you must be dressed and ready to go at that time. Family members will need to know when they are expected to arrive for photographs. 3 p.m. should suffice. Appointments for hair and makeup should be scheduled with sufficient time to ensure that EVERYONE is completed and returned on time. Consult your stylist for an estimate of how long things will take and go from there.

Now that you have the tools, you can begin scheduling. 

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