Wedding Day Timeline 2PM Ceremony (Schedule Examples)

Just as every person is different, no two weddings are the same. Couples plan their ceremonies to be as personalized as possible, which they can achieve in many ways: creating unique itineraries, choosing sentimental locations, and starting the ceremony at certain times.

A common time to start a ceremony is 2 p.m. This gives the bridal party enough time in the morning to prepare and not too late that guests are already tired. Listed below are parts of a wedding timeline, followed by examples of how you can schedule a 2 p.m. ceremony.

Parts of a Wedding Day Timeline: 2PM Ceremony

woman putting bride's tiara

Before the Ceremony

1. The bride and the rest of the bridal party members start preparing for the day. They may also have a light breakfast at this time or shortly before.

2. The photographer starts taking photos of the couple and the bridal party. Typically, the photographer captures images of the bride and bridesmaids first, then proceeds to the groom and groomsmen’s room afterward. 

3. The bride finally wears her wedding dress. Together with the bridesmaids, they celebrate this unforgettable moment. At this point, someone delivers the bridal bouquets to their suite.

4. The bride goes to have a first-look ceremony. The bride’s father — and the rest of her family — sees her first. Afterward, she goes to a special location where the groom has been waiting for her. Having the first-look moment is popular but not mandatory.  

bride and bridesmaids wearing yellow dresses

5. The photographer takes portraits of the bridal party. This part starts during the first-look moment. Afterward, the photographer will capture images of the family and the entire wedding party.

6. The bridal party has an opportunity to retouch their looks. The bride can fix her makeup and hair, and she can do any last-minute rituals or preparations to help her prepare for the ceremony.

7. The wedding party goes to the venue. Often, the groom and his entourage arrive first. The guests — and the rest of the couple’s relatives — start filling the venue around 30 minutes before the ceremony begins. The bride and her entourage also arrive ten minutes before the ceremony starts. 

The Ceremony

guests throwing confetti at newlyweds

8. The ceremony begins with the processional. The wedding party walks down the aisle, culminating in the bride’s momentous and emotional entrance.

9. The ceremony ends with the recessional. The duration of the ceremony depends on what type of wedding you had. Regardless, this part of the day will end with a festive recessional.

10. The newlyweds interact with their guests through a receiving line. The newlyweds and the wedding party will greet each guest and thank them for their attendance. Alternatively, the receiving line can take place before the guests enter the venue.

After the Ceremony

newlyweds looking up the sky

11. The wedding party stays behind to take post-ceremony pictures. The photographer will ask the bridal party to take formal and casual portraits. If you have a videographer, they can also film additional shots for your wedding film or same-day edit.

12. The guests go to the reception venue. While the bridal party takes portraits, the guests will leave and go to the next location.

13. Cocktail hour begins. At this time, drinks and appetizers will be available for the guests. Likewise, they can socialize with each other. Music can play in the background. The guests can take their time finding their table if there are seating options.

14. The bridal party retouches their makeup, hair, and styling. The bride can change into something else if her dress is not suitable for the reception.

15. The bridal party enters the venue. Once the guests are seated, the master of ceremonies will start introducing the wedding party. The newlyweds typically go last, and their entrance is the most fun and unforgettable of all.

wedding guests raising their glasses

16. The host gives a welcome speech. Usually, the welcome speech is given by the couple’s parents. Both sides can make a toast; whoever is comfortable talking to a crowd can speak.

17. The guests can start eating dinner. How dinner is served depends on your agreement with pertinent vendors. They might serve food directly to the guests, have them line up for a buffet-style meal, and more.

18. More speeches and toasts are delivered. During or after dinner, your loved ones can dedicate speeches to you. These toasts can be short, witty, heartfelt, nostalgic, and whatnot.

19. The couple gives a thank-you speech. The newlyweds will thank their guests for coming and express gratitude for everyone who helped them. This part of the reception can take place at any point, though doing it before or after dinner is a common choice.

portrait of newlywed on a field during sunset

20. The newlyweds can leave for more portraits. At this point, the photographer can ask the couple to leave the reception for a moment. In the meantime, the guests can continue eating, socializing, and resting.

21. If you have any evening guests, they will arrive around this time.

22. The couple cuts the cake. The simple yet meaningful cake-cutting ceremony takes place, after which dessert is served to the guests.

23. A small break in the party starts. Some venues might need some adjustments before guests can start partying. Regardless, your guests will appreciate some downtime after dinner. They can relax, change into a different outfit, socialize, and whatnot.

groom dipping bride

24. Special dances start. Examples include the couple’s first dance, their moments with their parents, and any cultural traditions like the money dance.

25. The guests can start going to the dance floor. The wedding DJ — or anyone in charge of the music — can play songs that will get the crowd engaged and lively.

26. Late-night meals and finger foods are served. If there are still a few hours left to the reception, it is a great idea to serve hors d’oeuvres or other food to keep your guests energized.

27. Any games or traditions you want to observe can be interspersed throughout the reception. Examples include lawn games, bouquets and garter tosses, cultural rituals, and so on.

28. Make the last call for drinks if you have an open bar. Ensure that all your guests hear this last call; no one wants to leave any drink to waste.

wedding party

29. The newlyweds leave the venue with a grand send-off. You can be as creative as you want to be with your exit. For example, some couples utilize glow sticks for a memorable send-off from their guests.

30. Guests begin to exit the venue. Make sure they remember to grab wedding favors before leaving.

31. Vendors start packing their belongings and leaving the reception as well.

32. The bridal party finishes cleaning the venue.

Sample Schedules for your 2PM Wedding Ceremony

The list above presents the possible items in your 2 p.m. wedding itinerary. With that said, you do not have to observe every part or do them in that order. Take what is appropriate for your special day and rearrange them to fit your needs.

Here are some sample schedules you can refer to while planning your 2 p.m. wedding timeline.

2 p.m. Wedding Timeline + Cocktail Reception 

Time Activity
8:30 – 9:00 a.m. The bridal party eats breakfast. If they have a morning-of ceremony activity planned, this is the best time to do it as well.
9:00 – 10:00 a.m. The bridal party starts getting ready for the ceremony — typically in separate rooms. The bride and her bridesmaids fix their makeup and hair, then put on their attire.
10:00 – 11:00 a.m. The photographer starts capturing images of the bride and her bridesmaids.

At the same time, the groom and his groomsmen continue getting ready.

11:00 – 11:30 a.m. It is the groom and his entourage’s turn to have a photoshoot with the photographer.

Concurrently, the bride steps into her wedding dress.

11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. The bride’s family sees her wearing the dress for the first time. Next, the groom and the bride have their first-look moment. The photographer meticulously captures every emotion.

Shots of the entire bridal party are also taken.

Lastly, the photographer shoots some family portraits.

12:45 – 1:15 p.m. Any last-minute preparations and retouches are made.
1:15 p.m. The ushers, groomsmen, and groom arrive at the venue.
1:30 – 2:00 p.m. The invited guests start arriving. Prelude music plays in the background, setting the tone. The ushers hand out programs and guide guests to their seats.

The photographer captures images of the venue, the guests’ arrival, and more.

1:50 p.m. The bridesmaids, along with the bride’s mother, arrive at the venue.
1:55 p.m. The bride, along with her father or whoever is walking her down the aisle, arrives. The door to the venue is typically closed to hide the bride from the guests.
2:00 – 3:00 p.m. The ceremony starts with the processional and ends with the recessional.
3:00 – 3:30 p.m. The guests go to the reception venue, where appetizers and drinks are served. Meanwhile, the bridal party is taking photos.
3:30 – 3:45 p.m. The bridal party arrives at the reception venue, retouching if necessary.
3:45 – 3:55 p.m. The wedding party is introduced, concluding with the newlyweds’ entrance.
3:55 – 4:05 p.m. Anyone who wants to give a speech, including the newlyweds’ parents, maid-of-honor, and best man, can use this time.
4:05 – 4:10 p.m. The couple cuts the wedding cake. If available, dessert is served.
4:10 – 4:25 p.m. Any special dance, including the couple’s dances with each other and their parents, takes place here.
4:25 – 5:40 p.m. The guests can go to the dance floor and party as much as they want. Likewise, games and cultural rituals can be played or observed at this time.
5:40 – 5:50 p.m. The newlyweds give their thank-you speech before the grand send-off.
5:50 p.m. onwards The guests start to leave. While the vendors pack their things, the bridal party helps with the venue cleanup.

2 p.m. Wedding Timeline + Formal Dinner Reception 

Time Activity
8:00 – 9:00 a.m. The bridal party eats breakfast and does any morning-of activity.
9:00 – 10:00 a.m. The bridal party starts getting ready for the ceremony in separate rooms.
10:00 – 11:00 a.m. The photographer takes photos of the bride with her bridesmaids.
11:00 – 11:30 a.m. The groom, along with his groomsmen, goes for a photo shoot with the wedding photographer.
11:30 a.m. – 12:50 p.m. The bride puts on her wedding dress, then goes for a first look with her family. Afterward, she and her groom have their first look.

 

The photographer captures every moment. Afterward, they take portraits of the family and the bridal party.

12:50 – 1:15 p.m. Everyone makes any last-minute preparations, fixes, and retouches.
1:15 p.m. The ushers, groomsmen, and groom arrive at the venue.
1:30 – 2:00 p.m. While the guests arrive, prelude music plays in the background. The ushers hand out programs and guide guests to their seats. The photographer is busy taking pictures.
1:50 p.m. The bridesmaids, along with the bride’s mother, arrive at the venue.
1:55 p.m. The bride and her escort arrive at the venue.
2:00 – 2:30 p.m. The ceremony starts with the processional and ends with the recessional.
2:30 – 3:45 p.m. As the guests arrive at the reception venue, they start eating hors d’oeuvres, drinking cocktails, and socializing with other people.

During cocktail hour, the bridal party takes portraits. Depending on the photographer, the location of this photo shoot might be different from the ceremony or reception venues.

3:45 – 4:00 p.m. The wedding party arrives at the reception venue, retouching if needed. The guests start to take their seats.
4:00 – 4:10 p.m. Wedding party introductions take place, ending with the newlyweds’ entrance.
4:10 – 4:20 p.m. Anyone who wants to give a speech, including the newlyweds’ parents, maid-of-honor, and best man, can use this time.
4:20 – 4:25 p.m. The newlyweds give their thank-you speech.
4:25 – 4:40 p.m. The first reception game is played.
4:40 – 5:45 p.m. Guests can start eating dinner.
5:45 – 6:00 p.m. Any additional speeches and toasts can be given here.
6:00 – 7:15 p.m. The newlyweds leave with the photographer. If the timing and weather are right, they can take stunning golden hour photos.

Meanwhile, the guests can socialize and party.

Any evening guests will also start arriving.

7:15 – 7:30 p.m. The couple cuts the cake, and dessert is served.
7:30 – 8:00 p.m. More reception games are played. You can also observe any cultural or wedding traditions here.
8:00 – 8:15 p.m. Special dances, like the couple’s first dance and their dances with parents, occur here.
8:15 p.m. onwards Everyone can go to the dance floor and have fun.
8:30 p.m. More food is served.
10 p.m. The bar announces the last call for drinks.
10:15 p.m. The guests send off the couple.
10:20 p.m. onwards The guests leave, followed by the vendors. Meanwhile, the bridal party helps with the venue cleanup.

 

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