You may have been to countless weddings as a guest or even helped plan one, so you’re probably very familiar with the various protocols, duties, and formalities. But when it comes to your own wedding day, you may feel overwhelmed about getting the order of events right.

To help you prepare for your big day, take a look at this timeline for a guide to how your wedding day should unfold.

Typical timeline of a wedding:

If you’ve chosen a morning wedding with an official start time of 10 am, a reasonable time to start your day would be 7 am. For an afternoon/evening wedding with a start time of 4 pm, you may want to get underway around 10 am.

Bridal preparation

Leave enough time for hair and make-up. Don’t underestimate the length of time it takes to get ready. It is advisable to budget an hour for the bride and around 45 minutes for each bridesmaid.

Venue preparation

At least two hours or more before the event starts, the vendors should arrive at the venue to set up.

Guests begin to arrive

Guests begin to arrive from around 30 minutes before the start time. Of course, family members may be there earlier.

Official ceremony

This may not start exactly on time; factor in at least a 15-minute delay. The ceremony should take approximately 45 minutes.

Wedding photos

Having photos taken is an important part of your wedding day, so plan enough time for the photographer to get some great shots without you being stressed about rushing to the reception.


The reception should kick-off at around about two hours into the event with toasts and speeches, which will set the celebratory atmosphere. Then the food will be served and the cake will be cut. The first dance leads the rest of the guests to follow suit on the dance floor.

The wedding day tapers down after a few hours of dancing, with the new happy couple heading off. Guests may stay a while longer. Once everyone leaves, the vendors will start the clean-up process.

While you are making your preparations and plans, it’s best if you keep flexibility in mind. You might want to consider hiring a professional wedding planner to ensure that your wedding day runs smoothly. Handing the reins over to someone else will take away the stress, leaving you to enjoy your big day. To ensure the success of your wedding day, choose a venue that provides an integrated service. Merrimu Receptions have experienced in-house event coordinators who cater to your personal requests and needs. Give us a call today.

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