Breaking down your wedding day into a well-structured timeline ensures everything runs smoothly. Wedding ceremonies usually last between 30 minutes to an hour, and receptions often extend for four to five hours. Meticulous planning, therefore, can make all the difference. Here is a breakdown of how an ideal wedding timeline should be on the day of.
11 a.m. Hair and Makeup Begin
Start the day with hair and makeup services for the bridal party. Depending on the group size, this might vary, but aiming for an 11 a.m. start is a good rule of thumb. Your photographer should arrive 30 minutes before you’re dressed. This gives them time to capture details like your attire, rings, and invitations.
2:30 p.m. Couple Gets Dressed
Capture those special moments of dressing up, from zipping up the dress to adjusting the tie. Don’t forget the important roles of family members. Once dressed, it’s time for individual portraits of each partner in various locations around the venue.
3:10 – 3:30 p.m. Wedding Party Group Photos
Capture candid and fun moments with the bridal party, including any special shots you desire. Consider having a private first look moment away from the crowd before the ceremony. This is the time to have some fun with your best friends!
5:30 p.m. Ceremony Start Time
Plan to start about 15 minutes after the invitation time to accommodate guests and set the ambiance. Depending on the ceremony type, it can last anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. While you take post-ceremony photos, guests enjoy drinks. Join them later if desired.
7 p.m. (ish) Sunset Photos
Capture stunning photos during the 30 minutes leading up to sunset for beautiful lighting. Transition into the dining room for dinner and relaxation.
7:30 p.m. Grand Entrance and First Dance
Kick off the festivities with a grand entrance followed by your first dance. Later the parents or family members give welcome toasts to set the tone. Then, it’s time to enjoy dinner.
8:30 – 8:40 p.m. Bridal Party Toasts
The best man and maid of honor offer their heartfelt toasts. Immediately following the toasts is the transition into an open dance floor.
9:30 – 9:45 p.m. Cake Cutting, Bouquet Toss, and Garter Toss
Engage in these traditional activities and express gratitude to your guests. Then, it’s time to dance the night away! End the night with a final song and bid farewell to guests.