A Sample Wedding Day Timeline
The start time for your ceremony will obviously have a large impact on your wedding timeline.
The following is a breakdown of a traditional wedding day where the wedding ceremony starts at 7 PM.
Keep in mind that this is just an example of how your wedding day activities can line up.
11:00 AM - Bridesmaids' luncheon.
1:00 PM - Bride's makeup appointment.
2:00 PM - Bride's hair appointment.
3:30 PM - Bridal party meets at church to dress. Florist has bouquets, corsages, and boutonnieres waiting.
4:15 PM - Bride and groom meet at altar for private time.
(This couple has chosen to take all the photographs before the ceremony)
4:30 PM - All "posed" bridal party and family pictures are taken. Caterer begins set up, the cake is delivered, and the florist puts finishing touches on buffet and cake tables.
The band will set up at reception site shortly
6:15 PM - Ushers assume duties.
6:30 PM - Prelude Music begins
6:55 PM - Candlelighters' light candles
Grandmothers are ushered in, Mothers' are ushered in, groom's mother first Ushers unroll aisle runner
7:00 PM - Groom and efficient enter from vestry.
Processional begins with Bach's "Jesu, Joy Of Man's Desiring."
Groomsmen enter in pairs, followed by bridesmaids.
Ring bearer and flower girl enter.
Wagner's "Bridal Chorus" begins. The bride's mother stands, congregation follows. Bride walks down aisle on father's arm. Ceremony begins.
7:45 PM - Recessional begins to Mendelssohn's "Wedding March" with bride and groom leaving first, followed by children attendants, honor attendants, and bridesmaids and groomsmen in pairs.
Mothers and other special guests are ushered out.
Bride and groom quickly return to front of church to usher guests out. Parents of bridal couple receive in vestibule.
PM - Guests arrive at reception site after twenty minute drive. Background music begins;
Waiters pass trays of champagne and hors d'oeuvres.
Photographs would be taken and receiving line would form (if these agenda items had not already been taken care of at the church.)
Wedding party is announced.
Best man proposes toast.
Buffet or sit-down dinner begins.
(To keep the pace moving, the other traditional activities can be inserted in between meal courses.)
PM - Cake is cut and served to guests.
First dances begin.
Dance floor opens to all guests.
10:30 PM - Bride throws bouquet. Garter is tossed.
Bride and groom change into going-away clothes.
11:00 PM - Bride and groom say good-byes. Confetti is thrown as bride and groom make getaway.
Recruit Some People!
- Check for personal belongings left behind after the ceremony
- Move ceremony flowers and gifts to reception site.
- Coordinate place cards and seating chart at reception.
- Emcee the reception activities.
- Assist the photographer, so candids of important people are captured.
- Cut the cake.
- Attend to the guest book.
- Hand out programs, maps, and favors.
- Organize bridal party by sending them down the aisle on the right foot at the right time.
- Gather the top tier of wedding cake and cake rental items, bride's gown, bouquet, guest book, cake top, and gifts. Retrieve any leftover favors, disposable cameras, and programs.
- Thank and pay the hired professionals.
- Oversee the return of rental items and, in some cases, unopened liquor bottles for refund. Secure deposits.- Conduct any necessary cleanup
- Have wedding gown cleaned and preserved.
- Home Cards
Often included in wedding announcements, are "at-home" cards to inform family and friends of your new address as well as the new name you may have chosen to use.