Wedding Day Timeline Tips by My Big Day
Every wedding is unique and My Big Day treats every day as such. When planning your wedding, smart brides ask for tips to pull the day off smoothly. The secret to a stress-free wedding day? Giving yourself enough time to prepare for a VERY full day!
Get the complete breakdown below to what happens on your wedding day. (in general of course)
Bride's hair: One hour, depending on the style. This gives enough time to get it right and make any tweaks or changes from the trial run.
Bride's makeup: 45 to 60 minutes, depending on the makeup style the bride selects
Bridesmaids' hair: 30 minutes per person. (depending on style)
Bridesmaids' makeup: 45 minutes per person.
The order: When your hairstylist arrives, have her start on your bridesmaids first. This way, the bride can go last so that when her photographer arrives, they catch those last-minute 'getting ready' shots, and the bride looks the freshest.
Photographer arrival time: One hour prior to formal photo time. This gives your photographer time to walk your wedding site for any last minute photo ideas, and to capture photos of the bride getting ready.
5+ Girls Requiring Hair/Make-up Styling: ask your stylist to bring an assistant to cut down on time. For makeup, add an assistant after yourself plus two.
Traveling to a Salon: Double the travel time you anticipate — better to have too much time than not enough.
Pre-ceremony photos of the bride with her family and attendants/groom with his family and attendants: Two to three minutes per shot; more if the groups are very large, and less if they are very small. "You must also consider how punctual the groups tend to be and possibly cushion the schedule to allow for unexpected delays.
First look: 15-30 minutes.
Groom and groomsmen arrive: An hour and a half before the ceremony.
Bride and bridesmaids arrive: An hour before the ceremony. We want to make sure you are hidden before your guests arrive, so they don't get an early peek at your gown! *If the bride won't be taking photos at the church or ceremony site prior to the ceremony, then she can arrive moments before walking down the aisle and wait in the limo until it's time.
Ideal ceremony length: 30 minutes. It's enough time to have meaningful readings and music to make your ceremony unique and memorable.
Receiving line: For a ceremony with 100 guests or less, this will take 12-15 minutes. With 150 guests, allow 20+ minutes. If you're expecting more than 150 guests, consider skipping the receiving line and visiting guests at their tables during dinner instead.
Maximum gap between ceremony and reception: One hour. Any more than that, and we’d recommend suggesting places for your guests to visit between the ceremony and cocktail hour.
Family photos: Two to three minutes per shot — if your family is properly organized!
Bridal party: Two to three minutes per shot.
Didn't have a first look? Allow 30 minutes post-ceremony for photos of you and your groom.
If you did have a first look, you'll still want 15-20 minutes post-ceremony for just the two of you.
*Save photos of very large groups (like classmates, coworkers, and large extended family groups) for the reception, when your DJ or band leader can make an announcement to gather everyone. You'll be able to take the photos much faster than trying to track down 50 people during the cocktail hour.
Ideal event length: Six hours. This will allow an hour for cocktails, two hours for dinner, and three hours for dancing.
First dance: This can take place immediately after the bride and groom enter the reception, following the conclusion of dinner, or right after dessert.
Father/daughter dance: Immediately following the first dance.
Mother/son dance: Immediately following the father/daughter dance. Or, sometimes, this dance is shared with the father/daughter dance.
Welcome toast: Given by the father of the bride or by the bride and groom.
Toasts: Ladies first! Start with the maid of honor, followed by the best man.
Guests invited to dance: Open up the dance floor, and get the party started!
Dessert: Two hours before the reception ends. Cake cutting, cupcakes, or whatever you have planned.
Bouquet and garter tosses: Right after the cake cutting, or about two hours before the end of the reception.
Late-night snacks: A popular trend, many couples start passing around bite-size snacks at this point to refuel guests.
Farewell: If you're doing a sparkler farewell, for example, have guests start lining up about 10 minutes before you plan to exit.
For more tips and helpful hints, or to hire My Big Day as your wedding planner -
Contact My Big Day!
Christine Kovacs Forster, Owner/ Party Planner
My Big Day llc
Phone: 970-613-1455 or 303-886-3068
Located in Loveland, CO
As event planners, we serve the entire front range; Northern Colorado, Southern Wyoming and mountain venues.
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