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Creating a Wedding Day Timeline

Wedding Day Timeline

Your wedding day is not an impromptu event. Planning perfection revolves around a timeline of important events. Let’s explore an example of a wedding day timeline that was created by a wedding planning professional for a little inspiration to create yours.

Beginning Your Wedding Day

You will probably be nervous, but never skip breakfast. Disconnect from social media and gather with your wedding party. You should have a designated meeting location to prepare. Most brides rent a house or hotel for the night before to have the wedding party together the next morning for a brunch and a small toasting. Avoid drinking too early and too much. Contact your hair and makeup artist, photographer and the transportation to make sure everyone is following your wedding day timeline.

Commute to the Venue

Whether party bus or limo, you and your wedding party should plan enough time to travel to the venue and prepare in your bridal suite. Determine how early you are allowed to arrive at your venue, and plan accordingly. Make sure you have properly booked your venue with the extra time to get ready onsite. Allow time for travel, and extra time at the venue to step into your dress and do hair and makeup touch-ups. If you want a first look and a photo shoot prior to the procession, plan a little more on the timeline.

After the bride is dressed, the father of the bride usually gets a first look. If you are planning to have a first look with the groom, plan enough time before the ceremony and take advantage of the candid moments with wedding photography.

Wedding Day Timeline

6:00 pm on the Wedding Day Timeline

After the prelude music plays and guests take their seats, the groom takes his place at the wedding arch and the procession begins. The ceremony usually lasts about 30 minutes. Some couples have special readings and prayers. Some add a handfasting ceremony, a sand ceremony or a unity candle ceremony. You could choose to add other important events that would increase the duration of your ceremony.

6:30 pm Cocktail Hour

This is the moment on the wedding day timeline that you dreamed about. This is where you will be announced as husband and wife, and make your exit beneath a confetti blast, rose petals or a saber arch. You will make your exit down the aisle with applause and be whisked away with your photographer for an hour of wedding photography and a private toasting with your spouse. This time period is called the cocktail hour. During cocktail hour, your guests will mix and mingle with drinks and appetizers while they await your grand entrance at the reception. Sometimes the bride and groom get a big reveal of the ceremony space before the guests are invited to the reception ballroom, but this will depend on the logistics at your venue.

7:30 pm Invitation to Dine

Guests are usually invited to dine about fifteen minutes in advance of the grand entrance, but more time might be required for a larger wedding. The grand entrance is the place on the wedding day timeline where you will make your grand entrance into the reception space as husband and wife. If you are not hosting your ceremony and reception at the same venue, you will need to add travel time between the cocktail hour and the introduction at the reception hall. Most couples choose to immediately take center stage and dance their first dance on cloud effects.

Wedding Day Timeline

The Reception Timeline

  • 7:45 pm -Grand entrance and first dance

  • 8:00 pm -Welcome toasts from the parents of the bride or the hosts (father of the bride delivers the first speech)

  • 8:15 pm -Dinner is served

  • 9:00 pm -Bridal party makes a toast (maid of honor and best man speeches)

  • 9:10 pm -Father and daughter dance and the parents dance

  • 9:15 pm -Everyone joins the floor to dance

  • 9:45 pm -Cake cutting ceremony

  • 10:05 pm -Bouquet toss and garter toss

  • 10:20 pm -Everyone joins the floor to dance

  • 11:50 pm -Last song

  • 11:55 pm -Grand exit

Wedding Day Timeline Thoughts

Consider whether you will be having your ceremony and reception at the same venue or different locations. If you will be hosting the events at separate locations, you will need to include blocks of time on your wedding day timeline for transportation between places. Choosing a venue with a ceremony space and a reception ballroom provides an advantage when you do not need to factor in additional travel time and work around transportation issues. Plan blocks of time for photography, and create a playlist that coincides with each event on your timeline.

Wedding Day Timeline

The Crystal Ballroom

Plan your wedding day timeline with The Crystal Ballroom. Crystal Ballroom is an all-inclusive wedding venue with an in-house design team, planners, vendor connections and a day of event coordinator package to make your dream wedding come true just the way you planned it. Build your vendor team with Crystal Ballroom vendors and the free concierge service. Walk the red carpet to your fairy tale at Crystal Ballroom.


We invite you to discover the
Crystal Ballroom difference found in the unparalleled elegance and uniqueness written into the design of each of our venues. The themes are as limitless as your imagination.

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