The Perfect Winter Wedding Day Timeline

One of the most common questions people ask me is, “What time should my wedding ceremony begin?” It often feels overwhelming to plan because, unless you routinely create wedding timelines, you just don’t know how much time is required for all of the things.. This is why I create a custom timeline for all of my couples based on their wedding day priorities, the time of year, whether or not they’re planning any first looks, size of the bridal party, how many family formal groupings they want in photos, etc.

But what if your photographer doesn’t offer this? Or what if you haven’t chosen a photographer yet, and you just need a ballpark idea when you’re booking your venue? How do you create the perfect timeline? If you’ve found yourself wondering about this, then keep reading because today I’m sharing Part Two in this Wedding Timelines series: Winter Wedding Day Timeline.

Timeline Disclaimers

Before we jump into the actual sample winter wedding timeline, I do want to point out that I can’t create a sample timeline to encompass every situation you might possibly encounter on your wedding day. For example, on the first day of winter the sun sets at 5:15pm in Charlotte. On the last day of winter, it sets at 7:35pm! That’s a huge difference in planning a timeline! As I mentioned in the sample Fall timeline post, there is even greater variation depending on your location.

Since we made our fictional couple skip the first look in the fall timeline post, for this winter post they will enjoy a Bride-Groom first look AND a Father-Daughter first look, as well. We’ll also pretend that there is no 2nd shooter and that the sun sets at 5:30pm. Final thing to note: the time your hair and makeup starts depends entirely on how many people will be having their hair and makeup done professionally. A bride, twelve bridesmaids, mother of the bride, and mother of the groom will obviously take far longer than a bride, maid of honor, mother of the bride, and mother of the groom. One is not better than the other, but definitely speak with your hair and makeup teams and create your timeline accordingly.

Winter wedding day timeline; wedding planning

Sample Winter Wedding Timeline

Hair and Makeup: Depends on Number of Bridesmaids

Photographer arrives for details photos: 10:45-12:00

Guys Getting Ready: 12:00-12:15

Girls Getting ready: 12:15-12:30pm

Bride puts on dress, shoes, jewelry, etc: 12:30-12:50pm

Bride and Groom First Look And Portraits: 12:55-1:25pm

Immediate Families arrive: 1:30-1:45pm

Father-Daughter First look: 1:45-2pm

Bride and Groom with Immediate Families: 2-2:30pm

Bride and Bridesmaids Portraits: 2:30-2:45pm:

Groom and Groomsmen Portraits: 2:45-3pm

Bridal Party Portraits: 3-3:15 pm

Bride and Groom Hide, Rest, Retouch/Photographer photograph Ceremony Decor: 3:15-4pm

Ceremony: 4-4:30pm

Full Family Formals: 4:30-4:50pm

Bride and Groom Sunset/Golden Hour Portraits: 4:50-5:10pm

Reception Entrance: 5:20pm

Reception: 5:30-end

Wedding planning and winter wedding day timeline

February 3, 2023

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Charlotte, NC Wedding Photographer