(Closed) I am having SOOOO much trouble figuring out my timeline!

posted 5 years ago in Logistics
Post # 3
8389 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

Is your ceremony actually 30 minutes long? Or is that allowing time for people to chit chat and congratulate afterwards?

How many people are you planning on?

Post # 5
514 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@GamersBride:  Our vendor recommended cake later in the night and also having the toasts during/before dinner, but if you go with your timeline, I think you’re fine, but just be ok with getting a little off the schedule.

Post # 7
514 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@GamersBride:  I think that’s fine. your dJ is taking a 45 minute dinner? sounds like that’s too long.

Post # 9
514 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

I would ask him when specifically he will take his dinner and if he will be close by in case of some unforseen complication

Post # 11
5662 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

Agreed with make sure you know when the DJ is taking their dinner. Regarding toasts, we had the DJ announce to take a seat for tables, we did toasts, then went to the buffet for our Food. Then everyone was subsequently dismissed to go to the buffet a few tables at a time. 

Cake cutting hmmm… I THINK we did dinner then cake cutting then family dances (we did our upon being announced). Then my dad and I finished our dance with “the twist” so dancing started then. 

are people traveling to your reception or is it down the hall in the same venue?

Post # 12
8389 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

If your ceremony is a full 30 minutes, I would maybe give more time for photos. People are going to stop and congratulate you, hug you, hang around and chat with family, etc. I think it will be hard for you to get away for photos right away.

We did a first look, had a short ceremony at 5:00 with cocktail hour and photos immediately following, then dinner at 7:00. It worked out perfect for us. Dinner took about and hour, maybe an hour and 20 minutes, but we only had 90ish people. I would plan on at least about 1.5 hours to be safe.

We cut our cake before dinner so that it could be served right afterwards.

Post # 14
1358 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

I would leave pockets of “buffer” time that will come in handy if anything runs late, particularly between photography and the reception. Photography may take longer than expected, or you could hit traffic while traveling. 

When it comes to your reception timeline, my guess would be to get an order for events and a rough idea of when dinner or champagne need to be served, then hire a good DJ. A good DJ will sort of “direct” your reception based on his/her knowledge of wedding receptions, good timing, and flow.


Here is our late afternoon wedding timeline:

4:30 to 5:00: Ceremony

5:00 to 5:20: Photos of bride/groom with family and wedding party

5:20 to 5:50: Bride and groom photos

6:00 to 6:40: Cocktails and hor d’oeuvres for guests at reception venue

5:50 to 6:10: Transit for bride and groom to reception venue (+5 minutes for traffic)

6:35 to 6:45: Guests to take their seats and champagne served (Note the extra half hour for us…it was buffer time in case we ran late, but we were on time and used it to sign our license and have a minute to sit down together and relax.)

6:45: Grand entrance with wedding party

~6:50: First dance

~6:55: Toasts

~7:00: Dinner service (bar closed for an hour)

~8:00: Cake cutting and cake served

~8:30: Bouquet toss

Anniversary dance

Post # 15
493 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

The only thing I can recommend is assigning a 5 or 10 minute minimum to each of those tasks, just to be safe. It’s difficult to pin point that something will take specifically 2 minutes.

  • 5:00-5:30 ceremony
  • 5:30-6:00 Family Photos
  • 5:30-6:15 guests travel to the reception site (200 guests is still a lot of people moving even if it is still down the street, plus depending on whether your family takes pictures with you before or after the ceremony they will leave later than everyone else)
  • 6:15-7:10  cocktail hour
  • 6:00-7:00 bridal party takes pictures
  • 7:00-7:10 bridal party  travels to the reception site
  • 7:20-7:25 introductions
  • 7:25-7:30 Welcome and prayer
  • 7:30-???? dinner (usually with buffets they don’t have a super short cut off time but I don’t know what yours is)
  • 8:20-8:30 toasts, and cake cutting
  • 8:30-9:00 first dance, father daughter dance, mother son dance
  • 9:00-??? dance  time
  • 9:15-9:25 bouquet toss, garter toss This you can be a lot more lax about. It will depend on the mood of the room, I guess. I moved the cake cutting up so you could go ahead and get it out of the way. That way people will be ready for cake as soon as they are done eating. But I’m not sure what you’d prefer. Cake and this stuff is luckily super moveable.
  • 9:25-10:30  dancing
  • 10:30-10:35 bride and groom exit
  • 10:45 alcohol stops being  served
  • 11:00 all guests out
  • 11:00-12:00 clean up crew and vendors out


I had fun doing this. You totally don’t have to use it . I mostly just took out a bunch of stuff that was under 5 minutes because trust me with all those peole they will take up your sweet time longer than you think.


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