Is this a good timeline?

posted 2 years ago in Logistics
Post # 2
145 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: March 2018

francesjoys :  I think thats a pretty good timeline, it seems like it should allow time for getting ready and cleanup at the end. Out of curiosity why aren’t you starting the ceremoy on the hour or half hour?

You have your cocktail hour listed from 6:15-7pm, would it be until 7:15pm sinces it’s cocktail hour?

I have planned my first dance to happen right as we enter the reception so it would be before dinner, but you can choose either way.


Post # 3
2757 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

I’m a bit confused about your first look, are you doing it before or after you get ready at the venue? How many people are getting ready with you? For me, pro hair and makeup (2 artists) took from 9am-2:30pm for myself and five bridesmaids. And then about 45 minutes to get dressed!

Post # 4
355 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2017

Yes that sounds good! Nice job.

If I were you I’d put 5:30 on the invitation and let your timeline be flexible to start anywhere from 5:30 to 5:45, depending on when most guests are in their seats. I agree with your plan of having vendors arrive earlier, I think we had ours an hour earlier but I think 30 min would probably have been fine (tbh I was very distracted at the time haha).

And I’m totally with you on a 45-minute cocktail “hour”, personally I wouldn’t want to spend longer than that away from the festivities!

Usually the first dance signals that the dance party part of the evening is about to begin, so after dinner makes sense. 

Post # 5
3832 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: April 2017

I like the first dance to signal the opening of the dancefloor. 

What time will you be doing the first look?

How many bridesmaids will be getting ready? Are you having pros do hair and make-up for everyone?

Post # 6
1528 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2017

Do you have a DOC? What kind of vendors are you having? What kind of venue is this? If it is a DIY venue where offsite vendors – caterers, DJ, etc. are coming, for a 5:45 ceremony your vendors are probably going to start showing up as soon as you have venue access, or probably within an hour. of that. 


Agree with your guest arrival time, pending the venue. We had lots of stuff set up for cocktail hour so I think most of our guests arrived about 30 minutes before our scheduled start time and took advantage of those things and walked the grounds.


Good start, but it’s going to need more detail. You’ll need to actually schedule in cake cutting, speeches, first dance, exit, etc. You’ll also want exact arrival times for your vendors too.


We did our first dance as our entrance, so before dinner. And then we did parent dances to open up the dance floor. It just worked best for us!

Post # 9
378 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

francesjoys :  If you are worried about your reception being too short, just extend it. What exactly does your family need to be setting up for the first three hours? 🤔. It typically doesn’t take three hours for the catererer and florist to set an event. Most only need two hours, so you can start your ceremony at 4:30pm and still give them plenty of time. The fact that the venue will already have the tables and chairs placed is a huge help with this. 

Post # 11
378 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

francesjoys :  Four hours of set-up time is definitely excessive when you are using a full service caterer and a florist. Guests typically start arriving around 30 minutes prior, which seasoned vendors account for. Since it sounds like your ceremony location is outdoors, your caterer will still  have the opportunity to put finishing touches on the closed-off reception area while your ceremony and cocktail hour are taking place. They’ll have PLENTY of time. 

If you are worried about things going wrong, I would definitely hire a DOC. They seriously make all the difference in the world when it comes to the day running smoothly.

Like a PP said, your timeline is missing the getting ready portion. You should include when hair and make-up is to begin, the time that your wedding party needs to be dressed and photo ready and what time they need to arrive at the venue. 

I would make cocktail “hour” a full hour instead of 45 minutes…especially if you have the intention of joining it. You’ll be surprised how quickly it goes by.

Also, I would break down your reception plan more to include when toasts and cake cutting will be etc. It’s really vague right now. A sample would be:

2:00pm- Venue opens, caterer arrives for set-up

2:30pm- Florist arrives for set-up (once linens have been placed by caterer)

3:00pm- DJ and other vendors arrive; wedding party and immediate family member arrive at venue for pre-ceremony photos 

3:30pm- Cake delivered

3:45pm- Pre-ceremony photos end; wedding party retreats to bridal suite

4:00pm- Ceremony space set and ready for early guest arrivals; reception space set-up continues by catererer

4:20pm- wedding party to line up for ceremony (location?)


4:45pm- Reception space set-up is finished up

5:00pm-ceremony ends/cocktail hour commences; Post-ceremony photos commence (location)

5:20pm- wedding party and extended family dismissed to cocktail hour (after group shots)

5:20-5:45- B&G portraits at venue (you can join cocktail hour depending on how long your after-ceremony photos take)

6:00pm: Guests are invited into reception space; Wedding party meets in (location??) for introduction line-up 

6:15pm: Intros (followed by first dance?)

6:25pm: Welcome? Thank you? Blessing?

6:30pm: Dinner begins (ask your caterer how long you can expect dinner service to take. This will depend on the meal type, the number of servers they are providing, and your guest count)

7:15pm: Toasts begin (once everyone has been served and has a chance to eat some)

**if your cake is being served table-side to guests as their last course, you would need to insert the. Are cutting during dinner time so the caterer can take it to the kitchen to slice and plate. You can do it later on in the night if it will be sliced and served buffet style**

7:30pm: Dinner ends (or first dance if you choose to open the dance floor with that instead of placing it after intros)

***open dancing***

10:00pm:bouquet and garter toss

11:30pm-reception ends (send-off?)

1:00am- all vendors out


This is just to give you an idea and show you how much time you actually have if you choose to maximize it. A DOC would be in charge of making sure all of these items are happening according to your final timeline so you don’t have to think about it at all :).

I hope this is helpful!





Post # 12
2033 posts
Buzzing bee

I got married on a Friday too so we had the ceremony at 6 pm.  We did:

12-4 get ready at venue

4-4:30 first look

4:30-5:30 wedding party and family photos 

5:30-6 touch up/break

6-6:30 ceremony

6:30-7 cocktails guests/us sign marriage license 

7-8 dinner, toasts, cut cake, first dance 

8-11 open dancing 

i wish we had also done extended family photos right after ceremony.  We also snuck out for a few couples photos when the sun was setting.

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