Your Wedding Day Timeline
Whenever brides ask me what the single most important aspect to their wedding is, I always have the same reply, and it's one that doesn't cost a cent, and that's timing. We have all been to weddings where the bride kept everyone waiting for the ceremony, where the cocktail hour lingered on and on, and an hour later, still no sign of dinner. In the end, the party never got going and half the guests slipped out tired and bored before the cake cutting.
Unlike a "regular party," a lot of things have to happen at a wedding: aside from just a ceremony, there's a cocktail hour where most likely photographs are taken, then a reception with the bride and groom being announced for the first time as husband and wife, then there's a first dance, a welcome speech, a meal to be served, toasts given, a father/daughter dance, and a cake cutting. The trick is to make sure the next activity takes place before anyone looks at their watch. Doing so brings a sense of production value to your party that keeps things moving along.
Here is an example of a general wedding timeline that you can tailor to your own start time and needs:
6:30 p.m.: Invitation Start Time
6:45 p.m.: Bride Walks Down Aisle
*Bride should not walk down the aisle more than 15 minutes after invitation start time.
7:05 p.m.: Ceremony Ends
7:10 p.m.: Cocktail Hour Begins
7:50 p.m.: Guests Invited to Reception Space
8:15 p.m.: Newlywed’s Grand Entrance
8:20 p.m.: First Dance
* After the first dance is a fun time to invite all guests to the dance floor before starting an uninterrupted dinner.
8:25 p.m.: Welcome Speech
8:30 p.m.: Dinner Begins
9:00 p.m.: Speeches
10:00 p.m.: Parents Dance
10:05 p.m.: All Guests Invited to Dance Floor
10:30 p.m.: Cake cutting
11:55 p.m.: Last song
12:00 p.m.: Grand Exit
12:05 a.m.: After Party
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