As you get further along the wedding planning process, you will start to realize just how many aspects you have to figure out. Once you have your itinerary and vendors figured out, you have to create a timeline that feels logical and natural.
Figuring out a timeline, even with the help of a professional planner, can feel daunting. You can start by determining how you want to start your day — breakfast with your bridal crew can be an amazing kickoff to your wedding.
Below is an example of a wedding day time with a 1pm ceremony to give you an idea of how you can structure your day. Afterward, each item in the itinerary is discussed in further detail.
Wedding Day Timeline 1pm Ceremony: Sample Schedule
|8:00 a.m.||The bridal party eats breakfast together.|
|9:00 a.m.||The bridal party starts preparing for the big day.|
|9:30 a.m.||The photographer starts taking photos of the bridal crew as they start putting on makeup, styling their hair, and getting into their outfits.|
|11:00 a.m.||The bride puts on her wedding dress.|
|11:10 a.m.||The couple goes to their first-look ceremony.|
|11:30 a.m.||The bridal crew goes on a pre-ceremony shoot with the photographer and videographer.|
|12:15 p.m.||The groom and his entourage arrive at the venue.|
|12:30 p.m.||The guests start arriving at the venue. Ushers assist them to their seats.|
|12:45 p.m.||The bride and her entourage arrive at the venue.|
|1:00 p.m.||The ceremony starts.|
|1:30 p.m.||The ceremony ends. While the guests go to the reception venue, the bridal crew stays for another shoot with the photographer and videographer.|
|1:45 p.m.||Cocktail hour starts. Guests mingle, drink cocktails, and refresh before the reception starts.|
|2:50 p.m.||Guests can start eating wedding breakfast — the meal directly after the ceremony. This part of the wedding day timeline (1 PM ceremony) can last for a few hours.
During this time, guests can start giving speeches and toasts. Over the next few hours, the couple can provide entertainment, such as live music, coffee, and drinks.
|6:00 p.m.||Evening guests start arriving.|
|6:30 p.m.||The wedding party is introduced.|
|6:40 p.m.||The host gives a welcome speech.|
|7:30 p.m.||Dinner is served.|
|7:40 p.m.||During dinner, selected guests can give a speech or toast.|
|8:00 p.m.||The newlyweds give a thank-you speech.|
|8:20 p.m.||The cake-cutting ceremony commences.|
|8:25 p.m.||The newlyweds have their first dance, immediately followed by a dance with their parents.|
|8:40 p.m.||The emcee facilitates a few wedding reception games to get the guests engaged and excited.|
|9:15 p.m.||Guests can go to the dance floor, socialize, and get drinks at the open bar.|
|10:30 p.m.||The newlyweds leave after a grand send-off. The guests can continue partying, or the bridal crew can start assisting with the venue clean-up.|
Parts of a Wedding Day Timeline: 1pm Ceremony
Before the Ceremony
- The bridal crew starts the day together. Couples might have something planned for the morning, such as a short hike, group yoga, or a breakfast buffet. Not only will this activity help them bond, but it may help with some nerves.
- The photographer might arrive early to start taking pictures of the bridal crew. The wedding photographer may want to capture some images of the bridal crew before they start getting ready.
- The bridal crew starts preparing for the ceremony. Everyone will put on their clothes, apply makeup, style their hair, and make sure they look their best for the day. The most special and memorable part of this moment is the bride getting into her dress.
- The first-look ceremony occurs. The couple seeing each other in their wedding attire for the first time is a magical moment. As such, it deserves a photoshoot; other bridal crew members can also join. The first-look ceremony will take around 20 minutes.
- Portraits of the bridal crew will be taken. Before the ceremony, the wedding photographer will take photos of the bridal crew. At the same time, your videographer will shoot clips for your wedding video or same-day edit.
- The groom, together with his entourage, arrives at the venue. The groom, his parents, and his groomsmen typically head to the venue first. Doing so allows them to talk to the day-of coordinator and find their spots.
- Guests arrive at the venue. Around 30 minutes before the ceremony starts, expect the couple’s guests to trickle into the venue. However, some might arrive later than expected.
- The bride and her entourage reach the venue. More or less 10 minutes before the ceremony begins, the bridesmaids and bride’s parents will arrive at the venue. The bride might come last and in a separate car.
The Ceremony Proper
- The processional begins. One by one, the wedding party will walk down the aisle. The bride will have a special moment marked by a sentimental and heartwarming song.
- The actual ceremony takes place. Each wedding ceremony looks different; couples may choose to reorder, add, or omit rituals. Thus, a wedding day timeline (1pm ceremony) will vary greatly according to the type of wedding. However, ceremonies generally take anywhere between 20 to 60 minutes to finish.
- The bridal party leaves the wedding venue. The ceremony ends with the recessional, where the newlyweds walk down the aisle as their guests cheer for them.
- The guests leave the wedding venue. The people invited to the reception will head to the venue directly after the recessional.
After the Ceremony
- The bridal crew poses for more pictures and videos. As the guests travel to the reception venue and get settled in, the wedding party will take more photos and videos. The photography and videography team might have them go to a different location for the shoot. Try not to spend longer than 45 minutes for your post-ceremony shoot.
- The cocktail hour ends. The cocktail hour — which can last up to 1½ hours — allows guests to socialize, rest, and retouch. This part of a wedding day timeline with a 1pm ceremony ends when the bridal crew arrives after their shoot.
- The bridal party can retouch their hair and makeup.
- The wedding party is introduced. The reception formally starts with the wedding party introductions, wherein the bridal crew enters the venue. They can think of an entertaining twist, such as a dance battle or costume change, to make it more memorable.
- The host makes a welcome speech. This speech is typically given by the newlyweds’ parents; they can thank the guests for coming, express their emotions, and impart advice to their children.
- Guests can have their meals. The serving style might vary per event. Some might have a buffet, while others have servers who will bring the meals to the tables. Regardless, the dinner is probably one of the most anticipated parts of a reception.
- More people give toasts, speeches, and well-wishes. While everyone eats dinner, some guests can stand up and deliver a speech. However, if the couple prefers, this part of a 1pm wedding day ceremony can take place after dinner.
- The couple gives a thank-you speech. The emotions of the day can quickly catch up on the newlyweds. During this thank-you speech, they can express their gratitude to everyone who helped them along the way — vendors, friends, relatives, and each other.
- The cake-cutting ceremony takes place.
- The couple can leave to get more portraits. In some cases, the newlyweds can exit the venue with the photographer to take more pictures. These photos are typically more intimate and subdued. During the photo shoot, the guests can rest, socialize, and gather themselves.
- The master of ceremonies can facilitate wedding reception games. In a wedding day timeline (1 PM ceremony), you can insert one to three games to keep your guests engaged and entertained. These games are also effective icebreakers, getting everyone comfortable.
- Any special dances can take place. The couple’s first dance as newlyweds, their dances with their parents, and other cultural dances can happen during this part of the reception.
- The dance floor opens for the rest of the guests. With the momentum from the previous activities, tell the guests they can start flocking to the dance floor. Have your wedding DJ play upbeat and popular songs to get everyone hyped.
- More traditions, rituals, and games can take place. You can distribute the games or rituals you want to play throughout the night. However, you can add one at this point to get everyone settled down and prepared for the end of the reception.
- The newlyweds leave the venue with a send-off. Before exiting the venue, the guests send off the newlyweds. This event marks the end of a 1pm wedding day timeline.