Have you ever planned a wedding day timeline?! The task can seem daunting to say the very least! How long does hair and makeup take? How long will it take to get enough bride and groom photos? When will you have time to go to the bathroom?!

While all vendor related questions can be answered specifically by your wedding vendor (and I highly recommend reaching out to vendors to get a time estimate for how long each part of the day could potentially take!), I’d love to share five unexpected events I frequently come across on wedding days that are sometimes not given enough time in the “official” wedding timeline (causing day-of events to run behind), or just not accounted for at all. The key to an awesome timeline is to be prepared in advance – so here are my top tips for you, bride-to-be! Don’t forget to factor in:


This is a big one, but can sometimes be overlooked even by even the most detailed planners! Travel time from the getting ready location to the ceremony, from the ceremony to the photo location, and from the photo location to the reception can sometimes eat up a significant amount of time on a wedding day. On top of that, party busses, limos, and trolleys are required by law to drive below the speed limit – which means longer travel time.

Tip: If you plan on renting a party bus, add an extra ten to fifteen minutes onto any travel time during the wedding day.


Receiving lines can be great for getting to greet each guest, but before you decide on a receiving line, think about this: you’ll probably want to talk to at least each of your guests for a minute or so (trust me, I was a bride once!), because many of them you won’t have seen in months or even years. If you have 150 guests, your receiving line could take up to 150 minutes, or over two hours.

Tip: Check in with all of your guests during dinner! During the reception, typically the timeline is a bit more relaxed and you’ll actually have an hour to an hour and a half during dinner to greet everyone individually (plus, everyone will be happy because they’ll be getting fed, too!)


Bustling a dress can be a LOT harder than you would think! Some bustles can have up to 20 different hooks and/or buttons, so if you have a dress with an intricate bustle, make sure you leave some time to bustle up!

Tip: Leave an extra 10 to 15 minutes before your reception begins for your bridesmaids to bustle you!


This is one area where I see a lot of disconnect. The DJ typically likes to have 10 minutes or so to set up each couple for their grand entrance – making sure they have name pronunciation right and the entrance order correct.

Tip: Ask your DJ how much time he/she needs to set up for the grand entrance, and allot that into your timeline. This way, you’ll keep your guests happy (who are expecting to be fed at a certain time!)


Anything can happen on a wedding day, from a bridesmaid running behind to makeup/hair taking longer than expected – whatever the case, I highly recommend leaving a few “buffers” in your timeline, just in case something unexpected and out of your control happens. That way, you can rest assured that you have more than enough time and leeway in your timeline to keep the day on pace!

Former brides, bridesmaids, grooms, and family members: is there anything you would add to the list? Leave your best timeline tips in the comments below!