Hi there, @beckyd1.
Thank you for posting in the Community. Let me share you some insight about processing payroll timelines.
In QuickBooks, payroll processes at 5 PM PT two business before the check date. Yes! it will wait until the specific check date you've entered when creating the payroll.
You might also find the following articles handy for future reference to learn more about the workflow of processing payroll in QuickBooks Desktop:
Please don't hesitate to let me know if you should have any questions about payroll or anything else QuickBooks related. Have a wonderful day!