• Galina Nemtsov Wohl

How to Plan Your Wedding Day and Reception Timeline

Photo credit Madeline Isabella Photography

The key to a smooth run wedding day is in planning your wedding day timeline. The more details you can include, the better. Breaking down your entire wedding day timeline will help you stay organized. We love creating wedding timelines for our brides and wanted to share a sample timeline based on a wedding starting at 5:30pm.

This sample wedding reception and ceremony are being held at the same venue. Cocktail hour kicks off right after the ceremony’s conclusion, followed by dinner, toasts, dancing, and cake! If you’re having your wedding reception at a separate site, make sure to allow travel time for your guests to make their way to post-ceremony festivities.

You can use the following wedding day timeline as a guide to create your own.

Wedding Day Timeline and Wedding Reception Timeline

2:00 p.m. Photographer Arrives

2:15 p.m. Bridesmaids are Dressed and Ready, Bride’s Hair and Make up is Complete

2:30 p.m. Bride Gets Dressed

2:45 p.m. Bridal Portraits

3:10 – 3:30 p.m. Bridesmaids Photos

3:30 p.m. First Look

The first look is a magical moment where the groom sees his bride for the first time, away from all the guests that will be watching the bridal couple during the ceremony. This is a very special and private moment that the bride and groom cherish before their ceremony starts.

3:30 – 4:10 p.m. Bride and Groom Photos

4:10 – 5:00 p.m. Wedding and Family Photos

5:30 p.m. Start Time Stated on Wedding Invitation

Most weddings don’t start at the actual start time listed on the invitation. Plan to start your ceremony about 15 minutes later than the invitation time. This gives guests a little extra time if they are running late and ensures all the seats will be filled!

Plan to have music during this time such as a harpist, string quartet or a DJ. You can also play a photo montage video of special moments that the bride and groom shared in the past.

5:45 p.m. Actual Start Time

5:45 – 6:15 p.m. Ceremony

Every ceremony is unique and should be personalized to the bride and groom. Typically, non-religious ceremonies last around 30 minutes, while religious ceremonies last up to an hour or longer.

6:15 – 7:15 p.m. Cocktail Hour

Guests always enjoy the Cocktail Hour, it gives them time to get ready to start celebrating the happy couple at the reception. You can join your guests during the Cocktail Hour and take some photos with them or spend some time on your own in a private suite at the venue having appetizers and drinks just the two of you. You’ll get the much-needed break to get ready for your reception.

7:05 p.m. Sunset Photos

7:15 p.m. Guests Invited to Dinner

7:30 p.m. Grand Entrance and First Dance

7:35 p.m. – 7:45 p.m. Welcome Toasts from Hosts

The first two toasts in the wedding reception are considered welcome toasts and they are typically offered by the parents or a family member of the bride and groom.

7:45 – 8:30 p.m. Dinner

8:30 – 8:40 p.m. Bridal Party Toasts

For all the toasts, set a time limit of 2-3 minutes tops per toast and recommend your speakers stay within them.

8:40 – 8:50 p.m. Parent Dances

During the father-daughter and mother-son dances, transition into an open dance floor. After the last dance, switch to a high-energy music and have your band or DJ encourage everyone to join on the dance floor.

9:30 – 9:45 p.m. Cake Cutting, Bouquet Toss and Garter Toss

Cake cutting is a nice and timeless tradition at almost every wedding, it could be followed by a bouquet and garter toss (if desired). During this time a bride and groom can say a few words and thank their guests for attending.

9:45 p.m. Open Dance Floor

11:30 p.m. Grand Exit

Your band or DJ will have their own timeline of the songs you chose for the reception. They will cue you when the final song is coming up, during this time, say your final goodbyes and send your warm hugs to your guests. If you are having an exit with sparklers, a venue coordinator can help you organize all the guests along your exit path and hand out sparklers. When your final song comes on, take each other’s hand and walk under the sparklers bridge to a happily ever after!

Are you looking for a venue for your wedding, or a special event? We still have dates available in 2019 as well as 2020 – 2022. Book your date and lock in your price per person at a special rate! Our professional team of wedding and event planners at Nostalgia 1720 are committed to helping you plan your special day and create a successful and magical event for you and your loved ones.

Call us today 215-876-6306 or email to schedule a private venue tour!

We are hosting a Wedding Showcase by Elegant Bridal Productions at Nostalgia 1720 on Sunday 4-14-19 from 1-4:00pm Pre-register to be entered to win a grand prize!

We look forward to being your host for your next event at Nostalgia 1720!


Galina Nemtsov Wohl, CWP

Tel: 267.968.1210

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