Wedding Day Timeline

Plan out your wedding day events to stay on time! This will help you to spend more time doing what you want and be less stressed.

wedding day timeline tips

Wedding Day Moments

  • Leave for venue
  • The wedding party begins arrival at the venue
  • Hair and Make-up arrives
  • Start getting ready
  • Photo/Video arrives
  • Getting ready photos
  • Small bites/lunch
  • All wedding party must arrive
  • Couple opens gifts from each other
  • Final getting ready preparations
  • All wedding party must be ready
  • First looks
  • Before wedding – party & family photos
  • Vendors arrive: DJ/Caterer/Cake/etc.
  • Guests arrive at the ceremony
  • Ceremony starts
  • Ceremony ends
  • Reception starts
  • After wedding – party & family photos
  • Cocktail hour
  • Grand entrance/Introductions
  • First Dance
  • Blessing/welcome toast
  • Meal
  • Toast/Speeches
  • Photo booth opens
  • Parents’ dances
  • Bouquet toss
  • Garter toss
  • Money dance
  • Longest married (Anniversary) dance
  • Party Time!
  • Photo booth closes
  • Last Dance
  • Send-off
  • Reception ends

Timeline Planning Tips

  • Consider the travel time from where you are getting ready to the ceremony venue. Also. consider the travel time from the ceremony to the reception.
  • Talk to your HMUA about the time needed to complete all of your wedding party members.
  • The first dance is typically immediately following the grand entrance -or- after the meal.
  • The typical ceremony is 15-20 minutes unless you have a mass (allow 30 minutes to 1 hour).
  • If you want a party atmosphere, you can have open dancing between events.
  • Try to plan as many pictures as possible before the ceremony. Pictures always take longer than expected to get everyone lined up.
  • Try to have a minimum of 2 hours for dancing. Guests will remember if they had a good time.
  • You don’t have to introduce each member of the wedding party. You can introduce your parents and then have your “tribe” enter as a group to keep the timing short and the hype high.
  • Guests should arrive 30 minutes before the ceremony begins.
  • There is a reason it is called cocktail HOUR. Please do not keep guests waiting for your arrival longer than an hour.
  • You do not have to wait until party time for dancing. You can plan dance time before and after the cake cutting. You can have dancing during cocktails too.
  • Finally, who is breaking down the reception hall? Do you need to set time aside for a breakdown?


All of the above timeline is included in my book “The Wedding Music Toolkit” (available on Amazon).

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