Taking control of your timeline, is how you truly make your wedding your own.

Timelines - how to personalize your wedding

A timeline is a very powerful tool to design the wedding that reflects perfectly who you are.

Let's get one thing out of the way first. There are no rules! One question I get asked a lot is, what are we supposed to do? And I really want to make this clear, you are not supposed to do anything! Let's get rid of that notion once and for all. It's your wedding, you can do what ever the f... you want!

This is probably the first time you're trying to plan a thing like this and it's a big deal. Making the timeline should be one of your first priorities. Because more than anything this reflects who you are as persons and as a couple. What's important to you, what's your values. And I urge you to treat all the small parts of a timeline as a puzzle and not a fixed recipe.
I've made three example timelines for you to get inspired by. They are pretty solid, because well, it's not my first rodeo. But they are still just examples. You can add things in there I haven't mentioned, you can leave things out, you can switch things up. Remember, there is no 'supposed to'!

And I'd love to help you work out what fits your need. I know the inns and outs and I can add valuable information to your planning process. If you have any questions, I'd love to take time to talk possibilities and options anytime, just let me know. I really want you to be equipped for the task of creating the best possible day for yourself. So dive in to the timeline examples I have provided you with here and start exploring what is the ideel timeline for you.

American timeline
12:00 — Bride starts getting ready
13:00 — Photography coverage begins
14:30 — Bride's hair & makeup complete
15:00 — Bride into dress
15:30 — Couple 'first look' & portraits
16:00 — Wedding party photographs
16:30 — Family photographs
17:00 — Couple into hiding for guest arrival
17:30 — Ceremony begins
17:50 — Rice throwing
18:00 — Cocktail hour
19:00 — Reception/dinner begins
20:00 — Sunset time (Couple portraits)
20:20 — First dance
20:30 — Party follows
21:00 — Photography coverage ends
23:00 — Reception finishes

South European timeline
17:00 — Photography coverage begins
17:00 — Couple 'first look' & portraits
17:30 — Couple into hiding for guest arrival
18:00 — Ceremony begins
18:20 — Rice throwing
18:00 — Cocktail hour
19:00 — Family/group photographs
19:15 — Couple portraits
19:50 — Guests invited to dinner
20:00 — Bride and groom enter
20:05 — Speeches
20:35 — Dinner begins
21:00 — Sunset time (Couple portraits)
22:15 — Cake cutting
22:20 — First dance
22:30 — Party follows
23:00 — Photography coverage ends

Scandinavian timeline
10:00 — Bride starts getting ready
10:30 — Photography coverage begins
12:30 — Bride's hair & makeup complete
12:45 — Bride into dress
13:00 — Groom arrive at church
13:00 — Guests arrive at church
13:15 — Bride leave prep location
13:25 — Church close doors, bride arrive
13:30 — Church ceremony begins
14:15 — Ceremony concludes
14:15 — Greetings at church
14:25 — Rice throwing
14:30 — Guests leave for reception
14:30 — Couple portraits
16:00 — Reception
16:30 — Cake cutting
18:00 — Dinner (3 courses and speeches)
23:45 — First dance
00:00 — Party follows
02:00 — Photography coverage ends

The above examples are taken from their cultural and geographical roots, but you can go American in Scandinavia or Scandinavian in Southern Europe.

Getting ready

Getting ready can be a big part of the day. And I always have a blast been there for the preparations. It's not a thing for everyone, but those who those to have me there, never feel like it's awkward or someting.
It is always very relaxed. There is this sizzling feeling of anticipation and joy. But it is never stressful. The girls are together drinking mimosas (yes, I'll drink a mimosa too) and the guys are fuzzing about the bowties and having a beer.
This is the part of the day that you experience apart, so havin' photos from it is just really nice. Especially if there a gift exchange between bride and groom, then that is awesome to have photos of.

When planning it, make sure to coordinate with your photographer, so they can capture the groomsmen getting ready, without leaving the bride at a photo critical moment. And also, when asking your makeup artist and hairdresser about required time, add half an hour extra. Just to be sure that it won't be stressing in the end.

First look

There is more than enough sentiment on the day for both a first look and an emotional walk down the aisle
A concern I hear from the bride in the planning phase, is that she would love to have a first look, but she is afraid it will ruin the surprise and emotion on her walking down the aisle later.
But I promise you, that is not the case. I've seen grooms cry at the ceremony, even if he's had a first look and a portrait session. You'll still both be overwhelmed with feeling, when all your loved onces are there.
And I think first look are an amazing thing to do. It gives you time to connect before the the day begins and share a strong moment, just the two of you. Take a deep breath together. I think it even strengthens your emotional bond before the ceremony.

The ceremony

This is the big thing, right? If you were to draw a graph of wedding day peeks, I bet this would be all the way to the top!

Ceremonies can be so many different things. There is the longer church ceremony and the rather short townhall ceremony and then there is all the stuff in between, which is unlimited in it's possibilities.
This is above all the moment of your wedding that defines and shows who you are. I'm not necessarily talking about getting married on a speeding bullet train. But I am talking about you putting your heart into it. Making it a very personal thing. I've seen couples plant a tree, stream their wedding, going all in on flower and colour themes in the church. A personalized ceremony feels rootet in you.
The length of the ceremony is also important. Of course, if you go with a church wedding, it will about 40 minutes, plus the time spent in front of the church afterwards, which is about an hour in total. And the townhall ceremony is 5-8 minutes typically. But if you make you own customized ceremony, the ideal length is about 20 minutes. It's enough to give it weight, but not so long, that people start loosing attention. And think about making it visual. Most people will not remember words ten years later, but they will remember forever, how magical and personal your ceremony felt and looked.

Friday weddings

If you start getting creative and having fun with your timeline, you open up for a whole bunch of options. One of them would be having your wedding on another day than Saturday.
This is a bit of a controversial thought for some, I know. So I just wanna touch a little bit on it here.
If you look a the timelines above, you can see that it is perfectly fine to plan a wedding that begins late. Without missing out on anything. And I have also had quite a few Friday weddings that began early afternoon. All the guests had taken a full or a half day off to celebrate two people they love and the wedding where everything as amazing as any other wedding. Maybe even a little bit better, because everyone wanted to be there. Plus, they had an extra day to rest afterwards.
Big upside is, that you have a lot more availability amongst venues and vendors.

The take away from this, is that your wedding can be whatever you want it to be.
I too often hear people tell me, that they regret parts of their wedding, because they had too much focus on pleasing others and not doing what they actually wanted.