A Must-Have Wedding Timeline for a Stress Free Day
Have you ever seen a bride and groom totally stressed out at their wedding? They didn’t have a wedding day timeline. Don’t make the same mistake and end up in a pickle on your big day. You’re meant to be in a floaty cloud of love and wonder – not fretting about napkins and appetisers. This could be you if you don’t have a wedding day plan. Take heed!
A stress-free wedding comes from a great timeline and a strategy – and in our opinion, is more important than the dress, the guests or anything else. No, really! With a barrel of stress and worry the whole day is tainted. You need to approach this event like a military campaign. Think tactical, timely – with less camouflage.
By planning ahead you can ensure you are worry-free, ready for the big day and that you enjoy and soak in every second with nothing missed. So, we’ve made you a wedding day schedule that you can use to build your own.
To help you, we kind of needed to assume that the venue location and the ceremony are in the same place. If not, then you might need to adjust slightly. In fact, all of this is based on a dream day. Change the times, and the people, but note the activities!
We really do hope this helps!
Wedding day order of events
This simple wedding timetable is only a typical wedding timeline but has all the ‘usual’ activities. Your wedding might be different.
We have considered
- Getting ready and dressed
- Videos and Photos
- Arrival at the venue
- Guest appetisers
- Group photos and bride and groom photos
- Announcement of the bride and groom
- The meal ‘wedding breakfast’
- The cake cutting
- The first dance
- The party
We are presuming you have already taken care of the big ones:
- Venue set up (Band, food, seating arrangements, tables and favours, menus and food – as well as confetti.)
- Purchasing shoes, suits, dresses and rings
- Purchasing gifts for Mothers of the bride, bridesmaids etc and storing these where they need to be
- Purchasing flowers and these being where they need to be
- Arranging professionals eg DJ, band to attend.
- Arranging any transport for bride, groom and helping for after the wedding
Typical wedding timeline
Timeline for a wedding day: The morning
7 am – Sorry about this if you love your sleep but this is a special day and as such, it makes sense to get up early. Check your phone, ensure Godzilla hasn’t ripped a hole in your venue, see if you can see what the weather is doing. We recommend a social media scan, avoiding a pointless TikTok vortex – and Whatsapp check with a notepad to hand. Jot down any questions. Drink a nice strong coffee to get your body in motion…
7.30 – You might want to eat something light now as you burn through energy! Croissants, something with a carb in it. Tried and tested foods, of course.
8.00 am -You might want to have an adult drink. Let’s make it a shandy so there’s a walk to the aisle, not a stagger. You might want to consider doing some beauty stuff here. Would you like a bath? A shower and some lotions and potions to set in? A moment with the Calm app or listening to the Affirmation Song? Whatever you need, do it now, and product-wise – keep using your tried and trusted stuff. Now is not the day to pick out something new unless you have antihistamines to hand.
9.00 am – Are you the bride? Maybe your hairdresser will be arriving now. It would be a decent time to turn up. Make sure if they aren’t already with you that your bridesmaids come now too. Groom? You can let the best men in if they didn’t sleep over last night.
It can be nice to let the ‘supporting cast’ go first for any preening treatments. Eg instead of the bride getting her hair done, you could let bridesmaids go first, so if you have curls they don’t drop and fall flat. Sorry, maids – you must be second best today!
Both genders might want to be putting on some base layers of moisturiser now to let that really set in, layered over a serum. Skip any with SPF as this will flashback in the evening photos and leave you looking quite white and pale.
Wedding day plan: Arrival of bridesmaids and best men and professionals
10:00 am – Time to eat something if you only had a little gnaw early. Don’t be a groom or a bride with a roaring stomach at the altar!
Your photographer might be turning up now, unless you wanted them to come at 9am with the hairdressing. When the food is all packed away, and your hair is done, it might be a good idea to get into your suit or dress.
10:30 – For brides now is a good time to get make-up applied, and to get the hair sorted. You’ll also probably have a drama with someone’s false nails pinging off, a lost phone, shoe or something else, so build in time here! For grooms, you might need to be cracking on getting to the venue so you can meet and greet.
- Do you have rings?
- Do you all look smart and correct?
- Does everyone have the right tie/ pocket square/flowers/ cufflinks and other bits and bobs?
- Did anything need to go with you to the venue?
- Have you got money to tip any professionals later on
11.30 – Time to think about hopping in the transport. Usually, bridesmaids go in first, and then the vehicle comes back for the bride and father/ father figure, or you might all go as one convoy in separate cars. Build buffers of time for traffic! At this time, hopefully, guests should be enjoying themselves at the reception with canapes.
11.45 – 11.55 We’ve estimated your imaginary arrival time. You will need to sign some paperwork before the ceremony goes ahead, or even if your ceremony doesn’t require this, this little time window allows for the bride to do some last checks of make-up! Grooms can ensure everyone is sat where they need to be and wait for the big moment!
12:00 The ceremony!
A typical ceremony can be around 30 minutes, more or less depending on the event and how religious it is.
Wedding day schedule: Post-ceremony
1 pm: Confetti and photographs time. While the guests enjoy more drinks and refreshments (starting as they mean to go on) you can have your photographs taken. Ask the videographer to roam and film guests.
1:30 – 1.45 pm: Photo time! Get some group shots if you can. They can seem cheesy but one day, not all these people will be there. It’s nice to remember how many people came together for you two.
2 pm – Sit down for lunch This is about the limit – by 2 pm some guests will be ready to gnaw their own arms off for food, but judge this based on how generous your appetisers will have been!
2:30 – 3:30 – Lunch is served (don’t forget to make your grand entrance to applause!)
3:30 – 4: 30 Speeches (We have left extra time for wafflers!) Some people like to give speeches before dinner so nerves are minimised, but it depends on the parties. Will everyone be merry enough to do the big laughs? Ask the best men what they think.
4:30 Cake cutting!
4:40 Party starts – time to hit the bar, chat, play games or let any entertainers loose. You could set the DJ live now but it’s still early. What about some gentle mingling music?
7 pm – Evening guest’s arrival time
7.00 – Evening food is placed / served- don’t forget to slice up the cake and offer this on a big platter also.
8 pm – First Dance – let everyone see the big moment. You could do this sooner or later but this feels like a nice time.
8:05 pm DJ / Band to get everyone dancing…
11:30 /12 – End time! The bride and groom should be merry and promise to wake up at 7 am for breakfast.
There you have it! An imaginary but hopefully helpful timeline for you.
We would encourage you to use the provided timeline as a guide to create your own wedding day timeline. If you’re in wedding planning mode, don’t miss out on the chance to get an incredible donation by using Collection Pot for your honeymoon fund!