What is a typical Wedding Day Timeline?

by Saturday 13th June 2020blog, Wedding Planning

Putting your wedding day timeline together can be tricky, below I have put together a typical wedding day timeline to help take the stress away. This is based on a civil ceremony at your venue, it will help with your planning and give you the knowledge to arrange a perfectly flowing day.

12:00 pm – Guests Arrive

Guests must be requested to arrive early to make sure everyone arrives on time and that there is plenty of time for guests to be seated ready for the ceremony to start at 1 pm.

12:30 pm – Bride Arrives

If you are not already getting ready at your venue you will need to arrive at least half an hour early to have your meeting with the registrars, confirm with your venue where you can have this meeting as of course this has to be away in private.

1:00 pm – Ceremony

Deciding your ceremony time can be difficult as this will determine your full-day timeline. The earlier you have your ceremony the more time you will have to enjoy your day with your family and friends, however, the longer the day the more time you will have to fill with entertainment for your guests, you may also find yourself more tired when it comes to the evening reception.

Having a later ceremony means you will have more time to get ready and won’t be having to rush around although it does mean you will spend more time away from your family and friends. There are positives and negatives to having any time for your ceremony if you worry that you may be nervous for the ceremony you may find it better to have it earlier so the nerve-racking bit can be done and out of the way earlier in the day.

The most popular ceremony time seems to be between 1 and 3 pm, you may want your evening reception to begin as soon as the speeches finish so you do not have spare time in between. In this case, you may decide to go for a 2 pm ceremony to put the timings back slightly.

Bride and Groom exchanging rings at their wedding ceremony

1:30 pm – Ceremony Finish

When you come out of the ceremony you will easily spend 15 minutes with your guests wanting to congratulate you, consider this if you are planning a tight schedule with your photographer.

1:30 pm – Drinks Reception Begins

This is where you will have your photos with your photographer, whilst guests can spend time mingling and at the bar. You may want to consider drinks and canapés for your guests at this time.

Bride & Groom sit relaxing on bridge for wedding day photo shoot

2:30 pm – Receiving Line

This is where you form a line into the entrance of the wedding breakfast room, this can just be you the couple or the full top table. This is so you can welcome all of your guests and thank them for coming as they enter for the wedding breakfast.

2:55 pm – Grand Entrance

Once all of your guests are seated, you will be announced into the room as the newlyweds. As part of our Wedding Hosts here at Jackstar Weddings, this is something that we can arrange for you, your host can play your chosen track and get the guests all excited for your entrance then, of course, announce you in.

3:00 pm – Wedding Breakfast

Your meal will be served, the length of this will be determined by your venue, your menu and how many guests you have. However the average time for this is 2 hours, this can be quite a long time so be sure to consider some entertainment for this time. Our Hosts at Jackstar Weddings will provide background music for this as well as arranging Pearls of Wisdom Cards for the tables.

Wedding table setting with wedding breakfast menu

5:00 pm – Speeches

The all-important speeches, it is most common for these to happen after the meal. However, at most venues, it is possible to do this before the meal if you prefer. Speeches are most commonly around 30 minutes long altogether, this does depend on the number of people who are doing a speech and how long they have planned for each speech.

5:30 pm – Freshen Up and Mingling

This is the time after the speeches and before the evening begins, if there is accommodation at your venue this time is often used for a freshen up if not it’s a perfect time to just relax, take it all in and mingle with guests that you may not have had chance to catch up with yet. This time will also be the room turnaround time from the day to the evening reception. Your evening entertainment will start to set up and the venue will tidy the room and get ready for the evening reception, depending on your venue you may be asked to move to another room or bar area for this time.

Groom celebrates with ushers on wedding day drinking beers

7:00 pm – DJ Begins and Evening Guests Arrive

Make sure you both make yourselves available to greet your evening guests. I recommend if you have entertainment such as a Photo Booth you shouldn’t open this straight away at 7 pm, you will find it is not used at first due to guests and yourselves being busy catching up and getting the first drinks in at the bar.

7:30 pm – Cake Cut/ First Dance

It is very popular to do the first dance straight after the cake cut because you already have all your guests attention and usually near the dance floor. The first dance will then lead guests straight into the party, the DJ will announce everyone onto the dance floor when you have finished and the party can begin. I would recommend starting your other entertainment like your Photo Booth after the first dance so this does not distract guests, based on this timeline 8 pm would be a good start for this.

Bride and Groom's first dance on wedding day with white LED dance floor

8:30 pm – Evening Food is served

You need to consider how long it will have been that your day guests ate their meal and also that your evening guests may not have had an evening meal before arriving. You also need to take into consideration that there will be plenty of time after the food for guests to get back onto the dance floor and party.

9:30 pm – Bouquet Toss/ Mr and Mrs Game

I recommend doing this at this time so you can re-gather the guests after the food and get the dance floor busy again, guests will then restart the party. 

Bride about to toss bouquet in white dress on wedding day

11:55 pm – Last Song

This is the last song of the wedding, decide on a song for this that you know your guests all know and can join in. Your wedding DJ would announce that this is the last song to make sure that nobody misses out.

Midnight – Carriages

Make sure you make it clear to guests when the wedding finishes as the venue will have to be strict on this. If your guests are aware they can prepare by pre-booking taxis.