Creating the Perfect Wedding Timeline – With Jenn Robirds

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Hi, I'm elizabeth

It’s no secret that weddings have a lot of moving pieces.  And logistics can be hard to juggle on your own. Today, I want to shed some light on how we can make a perfect wedding timeline that is extremely efficient and will use your time wisely. 

A timeline is going to vary from wedding to wedding, but it will also heavily rely on what season your wedding is taking place. Will you have an all-inclusive venue or multiple locations. How about sunset? will you need to push your ceremony to an earlier time to make sure you have time for the dreamy sunset photos and make sure you plan some time to enjoy quality time with your guests? Let’s walk through this together with my good friend Jenn. 

Meet Jenn Robirds. Northern Californias premier wedding planner voted best wedding planner three years in a row. Jenn is dedicated to all the intricate details of a fast-paced wedding and is a true believer in creating Pinterest trends, NOT copying them. Jenn is here to share her experience with you. Grab a mojito and be ready to take some notes. 

Spring wedding table design

• Where to begin a wedding timeline 

We start our formal day-of timeline once we have all the vendors secured. This way we can go through all contracts with every party involved and determine the coverage amounts. The best place to start in planning your timeline is by reviewing your venue agreement.

** Think about how many hours you get for your ceremony and reception.

Next, we look up the sunset. We try to plan our timeline around this so that our couples have time to do sunset photos. This may mean a ceremony start of 5:30 PM in the summer months  or 4 PM in the winter months. Once we have the event start and end times and sunset times, we determine if our couple is doing a first look. This will impact when we schedule our photo and video team to arrive.

Generally, we have the photo and cinema time arrive earlier. When there is a first look scheduled more photos are likely taken before the ceremony. (more on why this is awesome, later) Your photo team should be on-site at least 1.5 hours before the first look to allow time for details shots and getting ready photos.


Planning out your day is a bit like solving a puzzle. The best people to help you put the puzzle together are your vendors. If you have a planner, rely on their expertise to get the best flow of your wedding timeline. A well-written and realistic timeline is one of the best ways to protect your investment. As well as ensure everything happens the way you want it to!

• Who should be involved when creating a timeline?

Every vendor you are working with needs to be involved in timeline planning. At a minimum, they need to agree with your timeline proposal. For example, if you give your florist only 1 hour to set up and you have a huge installation, this is not going to happen in that time frame. Likewise, if you only give your photographer 15 minutes for getting ready and details photos you can expect very few images in your finished gallery. Talk to your vendors about what they recommend and trust them. 

• How is a first look helpful for a timeline?

Bride and groom doing a secret first look

We are BIG advocates for a first look. Some of the things we love about first looks are:

  • A first look helps you shake your nerves by giving you and your partner time together before the ceremony. Calmness and clarity are HUGE going into your wedding. We believe a first look allows you to enjoy your wedding day more.
  • A first look is an incredible time to spend a moment to read special words to one another that you might not have been comfortable saying during the ceremony. It’s just the two of you (and your photo/video team) so you don’t have to follow a script. You can hug, kiss, just be together without the pressure of guests watching you. It might be your only real-time together the entire day!
  • With a first look, I find you receive more images of your two together in your finished gallery. Instead of rushing through cocktail hour, you take most of your photos before the ceremony. This means you could spend an hour on just the couple’s photos with your photographer before the wedding even starts! On the other hand, if you jam couples portraits into cocktail hour you might get 15 minutes of photos after the bridal party and family shots!
  • You can actually attend and enjoy your wedding! Novel concept, right? If you get the majority of your photos done before the ceremony and only need to sneak out for sunset photos, you can go to your cocktail hour. You get to enjoy your dinner service. I tell my clients to add up what they spent on the entire wedding day and then divide it by the number of hours of the event. If you can go to your cocktail hour you are enjoying more of your investment!

• Are there any major don’ts for a timeline?

Don’t assume anything! Ask your caterer how long the dinner service will take and build a cushion. Talk to your DJ on how much time to allocate for toasts. You might think everyone will only speak for 2 minutes, but this is rarely the case. Talk to your photographer about how much time you need for group and family photos, and back into how much photo time you want before or after the ceremony. The more you communicate with your team, the better your outcome will be! With all of that being said, hopefully, you can see that value a wedding planner can provide in tackling a timeline. They know how to make the most out of your wedding day and then you can truly enjoy it as opposed to worrying about making sure things are on schedule. – 


You guys this is pure gold straight from the pros! If you take away anything from this post, it’s that having a team who is there for you every step of the way is not a luxury, it a non-negotiable investment to give you a piece of mind and give you time  back that you can spend on your wedding day with the people you love.  – Getting married and still not sure where to start? Click here to ask us all the things wedding realated.


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