Wedding Timeline Examples

VERY IMPORTANT Timeline Note:    If your ceremony start time & reception start time are within 2 ½ hours of each other, it is HIGHLY recommended for the Bride & Groom to have The “First Look” before the ceremony.  The “First Look” is when the Bride & Groom see each other before the ceremony and is increasingly common.  It gives couples a chance to connect privately beforehand, as well as get some great pictures / video in a much more relaxed way.   This also provides plenty of time to get great bridal party shots.  Since most of your important wedding day pictures can be captured during this time, another advantage to The “First Look” is that you’ll be able to spend your cocktail hour with your guests (and not rushing to take pictures).

Why A First Look?

Church Wedding that begins at 2:00 pm (EXAMPLE)

  • 9:00 am Ladies go to the beauty salon for hair & makeup
  • SPECIAL NOTE / VERY IMPORTANT:  Hair & makeup is the number one killer of wedding day timelines.  Getting Hair & Makeup done at a salon is, by far, the most time-efficient.  Most Hair & Makeup delays happen due to few too stylists coming to the bride / bridal party.   If you’re not planning on having hair & makeup done in a salon, add 90 minutes to your timeline (regardless of what any stylist tells you).
  • 11:00 am Finish hair & makeup and go to brides home / hotel suite
  • 11:00 – 12:30 Get dressed / final prep & primp (TIP – EAT during this time!)
  • 12:00 noon   Photographers / Videographers arrive
  • 1:00 pm  Bridal Party Arrives at Church
  • 2:00 – 3:00 CEREMONY
  • 3:15 – 3:45 Formal Pictures at the Alter with family & bridal party
  • NOTE:  guest dismissal / receiving line decisions could add over 30 minutes to this schedule
  • 4:00 – 6:30 Limo time / party time / picture time.  This is generally ….
  • 6:30 – 7:00 Arrive at Reception Venue
  • 6:00 – 7:00 Guests arrive. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres are served.
  • 7:00 – 7:15 Guests are seated.
    • Bridal Party is introduced into the room.
    • Bride and Groom enjoy their “Grand Entrance”.
    • Cake is cut.
    • Bridal party is seated.
  • 7:15 – 7:30 Toasts are made.  Grace is said.
  • 7:30 – 8:40 Dinner is served.
  • 8:40 – 8:59 Dinner is cleared while Bride & Groom visit with guests.
    • Guests are free to stretch, visit restrooms; go outside, call home, etc.
    • DJ gathers bridal party for the dances.
  • 8:59 – 9:00 Quick Special Introductions (usually grandparents)
  • 9:00 – 9:15 Bridal dances
  • 9:15 – 9:45 Dance & party music
  • 9:45 – 10:00  (Optional) Bouquet & garter toss, Anniversary Dance
  • 10:00 – 11:45 Dance & Party Music
  • 11:45 – 11:55 Last Call at the Bar
  • 11:55 – 12:00 Last Song

 

Venue Wedding  – Ceremony begins at 5:30 pm (EXAMPLE)

  • 11:00 am Ladies go to the salon for hair & makeup
  • SPECIAL NOTE / VERY IMPORTANT:  Hair & makeup is the number one killer of wedding day timelines.  Getting Hair & Makeup done at a salon is, by far, the most time-efficient.  Most Hair & Makeup delays happen due to few too stylists coming to the bride / bridal party.   If you’re not planning on having hair & makeup done in a salon, add 90 minutes to your timeline (regardless of what any stylist tells you).
  • NOTE:  There is some time leeway built in for travel, lunch, checking into your hotel and other important tasks.  Do not overestimate how much time is here … it FLIES BY!
  • 2:00 Bridal Party arrives at Venue
  • 2:00 Photographers / Videographers Begin Shooting
  • 2:00 – 3:00 Bridal party “gets ready” (dressed, final prep. TIP – EAT during this time)
  • 3:00 pm  The “First Look” –  (Highly recommended for timeline efficiency at Golf Club / Country Club –  If you choose to not have a “First Look” before your wedding ceremony, you can arrive to the venue an hour later – at 3:00 pm).  Take romantic pictures with your spouse, fun pics with your bridal party.
  • 4:45 Bride & Bridesmaids are in the Bridal Suite
  • 5:00 Guests begin arrive
  • 5:30 – 6:00   CEREMONY
  • 6:00 – 6:30 Guest dismissal / Formal Pictures at the Alter with family & bridal party
  • 6:30 – 7:00  Relax or Go-Go-Go?  If you have The “First Look” prior to your ceremony you can use this time to relax and enjoy cocktail hour with your guests.  If you choose not to have a “First Look” prior to the ceremony, then you have about half an hour to take all the romantic pictures with your spouse AND all your bridal party shots (groom with all groomsman, groom with each guy, bride with all bridsmaids, bride with each bridesmaid, all bridal party, each bridal party “couple” or pairing).  Remember, time will also be spent walking to / from locations, etc.
  • 7:00 – 7:15 Guests are seated.
    • Bridal Party is introduced into the room.
    • Bride and Groom enjoy their “Grand Entrance”.
    • Cake is cut.
    • Bridal party is seated.
  • 7:15 – 7:30 Toasts are made.  Grace is said.
  • 7:30 – 8:40 Dinner is served.
  • 8:40 – 8:59 Dinner is cleared while Bride & Groom visit with guests.
    • Guests are free to stretch, visit restrooms; go outside, call home, etc.
    • DJ gathers bridal party for the dances.
  • 8:59 – 9:00 Quick Special Introductions (usually grandparents)
  • 9:00 – 9:15 Bridal dances
  • 9:15 – 9:45 Dance & party music
  • 9:45 – 10:00  (Optional) Bouquet & garter toss, Anniversary Dance
  • 10:00 – 11:45 Dance & Party Music
  • 11:45 – 11:55 Last Call at the Bar
  • 11:55 – 12:00 Last Song

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