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the perfect timeline

We get asked all the time how long certain moments will take, so we made it easy and assembled all you need to know below. That said, the most important thing to remember is that this is your unique day, and anything can change. Don't want to do a first look? That's okay! Know what's important to you, and stick to it.

This is a rough list, and can easily depending on sunset, if you'd like a first look, venue changes, etc.

10:00 a.m. Setup for hair appointments

You don't want to be rushed for this, so start early, and leave time for your bridesmaids to add services.

10:30 a.m. Hair appointments begin

11:00 a.m. Food delivered to bride's room/lighting setup

You are gonna want snacks, but super heavy food during this time can make everyone sluggish for the rest of the day.

12:00 p.m. Makeup appointments begin/chair covers and linens arrive

12:30 p.m. Food delivered to groom's room

1:30 p.m. Bride gets makeup done

2:00 p.m. Ceremony setup begins

2:30 p.m. Photographer arrives to take getting-ready photos

Have your details like dress, shoes, jewelry, and invitation suite ready to go if you'd like them photographed so we can spend more time doing what we do best.

Often it's best to have at least two photographers so one can take photos of the guys getting ready while the other covers the girls. If you want to do a first look, it will be around this time as well.

4:15 p.m. Officiant arrives

4:20 p.m. Groomsmen arrive to start ushering guests

4:30 p.m. Guests start to arrive to the ceremony

Allow enough time for everyone to get seated before the official start.

4:55 p.m. Music begins

5:00 p.m. Ceremony begins

5:25 p.m. Ceremony ends

5:30 p.m. Cocktail hour begins

5:30–6:00 p.m. Couple take photos with wedding party and family

Remember to carefully craft that family portrait list (we will send along instructions for that 30 days before). A great list makes everything go much more smoothly).

6:00–6:30 p.m. Couple takes photos alone

Often the only time of the day you will get to yourselves (I mean, we'll be there too...), take this time to take a breath before heading into the reception. You want to end this portrait session right at the end of sunset if possible.

6:30 p.m. Guests are asked to take their seats in the dining room

6:45 p.m. Bridal party and groom are announced

Make sure that the photographer is ready for this! Flashes often need to be set up and tested right after couples portraits, and this can be the biggest time crunch of the day.

7:00 p.m. First course of dinner is served

Is this buffet or served? If it's a buffet, the toasts shouldn't start until everyone has gone through the line, so plan accordingly.

7:45 p.m. Toasts

Consider time limits if you are having 3+ people speak. Trust us.

8:30 p.m. Dancing begins

9:15 p.m. Bride tosses bouquet

This, along with the garter (and everything, really) is optional. There are tons other games, activities, or more dancing that can go here instead.

10:30 p.m. Reception ends

Really think hard about how long people will dance. Got a young, wild crowd? Push the party an extra hour. Everyone is over 40 and has kids? Maybe wrap it up by 10:30.

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