Wedding Day Timeline

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A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Your Wedding Day Timeline

Before The Wedding Ceremony

On the morning of the big day, you will usually have stayed separate overnight from your partner and will be spending the wedding day morning with close family or friends and will be getting yourself ready for the day ahead. You’ll need to give yourself plenty of time to get ready with hair and makeup, taking into account how many bridesmaids in your wedding party will be getting ready in the same place also for hair and makeup. Also, think about what time you’ll need to leave to get to your venue on time. Some of the things you may do in the morning will be –

Have breakfast!

Be sure to have something to eat before the long day ahead.

Photographers –

May arrive to take the getting ready pictures and bridal party photos.

Bridal hair and makeup –

For yourself by hair and makeup artists.

Hair and makeup for the bridal party.

Getting dressed –

You might need help from a friend to get into your dress or chosen outfit.

Adding accessories –

Give yourself enough time to add any accessories you’ve chosen with your outfit.

Time before you leave –

Don’t get ready and rush out of the door, give yourself time to have a minute and breathe before you leave.

Wedding rings
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Wedding Ceremony

When you get to your venue on your wedding day, your wedding guests will already be there and will have been seated ready for your wedding ceremony. The photographer will be there ready to catch family photos, wedding party photos and the entire wedding day.

The timeline should go something like this –

Wedding photographer arrives at the ceremony venue

The groom, ushers and best man will arrive

Guests invited begin to arrive and will be seated ( usually by the ushers )

Wedding party members and the bride will arrive

The ceremony will begin ( usually lasts for 30 minutes to an hour )

The couple will leave the ceremony first and either spend time with the photographer or spend time talking with guests first. Depending on the venue, you may be leaving to go to your reception venue for a sit-down meal.

Wedding Reception Timeline – Drinks Reception

There will usually be a certain amount of free time between the ceremony and the wedding breakfast. This time will usually be used for professional photos with your wedding party, family and group photos. Anyone not having their photo taken will mix together and have a drink and maybe something to eat if there is something available to them.

bride and groom with bouquet
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Wedding Breakfast

Guests will be asked to be seated in the area for the sit-down meal

The married couple will be introduced and will make a grand entrance into the room

Traditionally there may be a three-course meal

After the meal, there will usually be speeches from the chosen guests in the wedding party. Sometimes couples decide to have these before the meal so they can then relax.

For wedding ceremonies held in the evening or later in the day, there may not be a sit down meal as evening guests may arrive soon after.

Bride and groom with wedding cake
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Wedding Cake Cutting

The cutting of the wedding cake is a traditional part of the wedding day. It is usually done after the meals have been served and is a great photo moment of the day.

The couple will usually stand together at the wedding cake and make the first cut together. This may then be cut to hand out to the guests on the day.

After the cake cutting, there might be some time to fill before the evening guests arrive. Guests may mix together at the venue or go to freshen up if it’s a hotel that they are staying at overnight.

You might want to arrange some entertainment for your day guests before the evening guests begin to arrive.

Bride and groom dancing
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Evening Wedding Reception

The evening reception usually includes music with a DJ or live music, dancing, and other types of entertainment, such as photo booths or casino tables. The couple may also choose to say a few words to thank family members and friends for being there and also the bridal party for all the help they have given. Couples may choose to have a special first dance together at this time.

In this part of the day, there will be evening food served, usually as a buffet with a mix of hot and cold food.

people, man, woman couple dancing

Wedding First Dance

The first dance is a traditional and significant part of a wedding reception, usually taking place at the evening reception. It is the first time the newlyweds take to the dance floor together as a married couple and is a moment that many couples and guests remember for years to come.

The first dance is often a slow, romantic dance, but the choice of music and style can vary depending on the couple’s preferences. Some couples have a favourite song that they share together and has a meaning for them. Other couples have a song that’s upbeat and plan a dance routine to share and surprise the guests with.

The first dance is usually announced by the wedding DJ or band and takes place in front of the guests, who gather around to watch and take photos or videos.

Some couples may decide to have a father-daughter dance or a mother-son dance before the first dance.

Bridal Bouquet Toss

Bride and bouquet
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The bouquet toss is an old wedding custom where the bride would stand with her back to any of the unmarried female guests. The bride would then throw the bouquet into the group and the one who caught the bouquet would be the next to be married.

This tradition is still quite popular as a bit of lighthearted fun but some couples like to keep their bouquet to keep as a memory so buy a cheaper one just to use in the bouquet tradition.

The Last Dance

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The last dance is often part of a wedding reception and marks the end of the day. It is usually the final song played by the wedding DJ or live band and is a chance for the newlyweds and their guests to share one last dance together before the end of the evening.

This dance is often a more upbeat song than the first dance and is meant to be a fun and lively dance at the end of the wedding reception. Some popular choices for the last dance include classic party songs, pop music or even traditional wedding songs.

Guests can be invited to the dancefloor with the couple to enjoy this moment with them.

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End Of The Day

At one time, couples would drive off in a car to start their honeymoon after saying goodbye to the guests. Quite often this doesn’t happen now due to honeymoons being taken a few days after the wedding or at a different time of the year.

Often weddings are held in a hotel so the couple will be staying at the wedding venue overnight. If the venue is open quite late, the couple may decide to stay with the family and guests and continue with an after-party.

You may want to ask some friends and family for help at the end of the party collecting cards and gifts and anything that needs to be taken home.


Hopefully, this will help with your own wedding day timeline and let you see how your wedding day might flow. Don’t forget this is just a guide for you to check and any changes that you want can be made to suit yourselves as a couple.

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