Planning Your Wedding Day Timeline

The Planner: Rachael Mayo, Photos courtesy of Rachael Mayo, Pepper Nix and Kellie Jackstien

There’s a science to coordinating the schedule for your big day, and some timely elements may come as a surprise. Three Utah wedding pros share tips for orchestrating a wedding day timeline that feels perfectly in tempo. 


Getting ready is one of the most special parts of a wedding day. Rachael Mayo of Rachael Ellen Events (pictured above) warns brides not to underestimate the time it takes to actually don the wedding gown. “This moment should be special and intentional,” Mayo explains. “If not properly planned, it can feel rushed.” 

When it comes to directing guests to the right place at the right time, Mayo’s top tools are buffering and direction. First, give guests a 30 minute buffer for arrivals: if the ceremony begins at 5:00, write 4:30 on those invitations. At the event, have plenty of signage and staff to ensure your guests aren’t left to wander.

The Photographer: Pepper Nix
Photo courtesy of Pepper Nix


The wedding day timeline fills up remarkably quickly, says seasoned photographer Pepper Nix, and the biggest “running-late” culprit is last-minute additions to the pre-ceremony moments. She recommends that couples make a list of all the getting-ready moments they’d like captured ahead of time, and to budget approximately 15 minutes for each photo, especially when arranging a group is required.

“Many brides don’t realize how much time last-minute additions eat up,” Nix says. With 15 minutes on the clock for each setup, fleeting additions such as a first look with Dad, a bridal party gift exchange or a boudoir shot can easily put you an hour behind schedule. “Plan to begin shooting 5 hours before your ceremony,” says Nix. “That allows for getting-ready shots, group photos of the family and wedding party, a first look and any other additions with plenty of daylight left for your ‘I Dos.’”

The Florist: Kellie Jackstien,
Photo courtesy of Kellie Jackstien


According to florist Kellie Jackstien of Artisan Bloom, a full floral setup can take up to 12 hours. A perfectly bloomed and photo-ready installation requires a lot of planning, sometimes beginning days in advance. “Our florals often sit in various climate-controlled rooms for a few days before the wedding to ensure they will open right on time for the ceremony.” There’s a fine balance between lush and lack-luster. Be sure to give your floral team time to build your backdrop, but don’t leave florals cooking in the hot sun for too long. 

The bouquet is another day-of consideration. “What you see on Pinterest isn’t always practical,” Jackstien warns. Pansies will wilt in moments, and daffodils will kill off other blooms in a bouquet. Instead, opt for heartier blooms like roses, hydrangea or peony for the base of your hand-held arrangements, and accent with seasonal blooms to add texture and personality to your bouquet.

Get more tips from Utah’s top wedding planners.

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