The Ultimate Wedding Timeline


Photo by Bin Thiều on Unsplash

Your wedding is an event of a lifetime. You want to make sure there’s time for every aspect to be enjoyed. You also want to maintain the perfect balance between a rushed event and an event that goes on for too long.

So what is that perfect wedding timeline?

As you pick out every detail of your wedding, from the venue to the decor to the event music, you want to make sure you have the perfect amount of time for all of it, and we’re here to help!

For everything that your wedding involves, setting aside a six-hour wedding timeline from start to finish is ideal. If you think six hours is too long, you’ll be surprised at just how fast that time will pass. And if you think six hours is never going to cut it, it will – remember, you can always keep the party going at a bar or hotel.

Either way, the right wedding timeline will ensure that you and your guests have an unforgettable experience. Here’s what it should cover:

The Ceremony – 30 minutes

The very first impression of your wedding is going to be your ceremony. And not only that, but the ceremony is the deepest celebration of your love. While this is one of the most important parts of your wedding, it’s also the shortest.

An ample amount of time for your wedding ceremony is 30 minutes. Although it’s a short part of your wedding you want to make sure everything is well-orchestrated, this is your guests first big experience. Seating, decor, and tradition play a significant role here, and so does the right music entertainment. You want to make sure your event music is ready to go for your procession and recessional.

Here’s how the ceremony usually breaks down:

  • Processional 
  • Officiant’s opening remarks and addressing the couple
  • Exchange of vows
  • Ring exchange
  • Pronouncement of marriage
  • The big kiss
  • Closing remarks
  • Recessional

Cocktail Hour – 1 hour

After your ceremony, it’s time for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. As the name implies, the cocktail hour should last about an hour. The newlyweds don’t get to enjoy much of the drinks or hors d’oeuvres offered during cocktail hour, as this is your time to make rounds and take pictures.

While you’ll be busy taking pictures, cocktail hour is a super fun time for your guests so spice it up a little. Have your band or DJ set the mood, and take it to the next level by adding some personality with games and signature drinks.

Reception – 4 hours

Your reception is what will make up most of your wedding timeline, and you should allow around four hours for it. As you move into your reception, having a DJ will be a huge asset, as they’ll keep your wedding on schedule. As cocktail hour ends, your DJ will have your guests ready and moving to their seats at the reception hall.

Here’s how the reception breaks down:

Entrances – 40 minutes

The first part of your reception will be the wedding party entrance, the bride and groom entrance, the first dance, and a welcome speech. The entrances will add up to about 40 minutes.

Then it’s time to eat!

Dinner – 1 hour

Dinner at a wedding typically lasts about an hour, but the bride and groom have way less time to eat. With that said, make sure to give yourself some time to enjoy your wedding dinner before you start making stops at other tables to mingle with your guests.

Toasts – 30 minutes

After your guests have had some time to get into their meals, and you’ve had the chance to do some mingling, it’s time for the wedding toasts. Toasts should take around 30 minutes.

Family Dances – 15 minutes

After the toasts, it’s time to start the family dancing, which lasts around 15 minutes. Start with the mother and groom and father and bride dances, and then move onto couples dances.

Open Dance Floor – 30-45 minutes

After the family dances are over, your DJ can invite all your guests to come and show off their best moves. Keep the dance floor open for about 30-45 minutes.

Cake – 30 minutes

After your guests have danced off their dinner, it’s time to start the cake cutting ceremony and give your guests about 30 minutes to enjoy their dessert. At this point, your DJ will mix it up and put on some more mellow tunes.

The Partys Not Over Yet

The very last part of your wedding timeline is Keeping the party going after dessert for another 30-45 minutes of dancing before you make your big exit.

Perfect Timing

Every wedding is unique, and remember if things start a little early or run a little late, it’s still going to be an incredible event. If you want to ensure that things flow as planned, it’s a smart move to have a DJ provide the event music for your reception. Doubling as an MC, a wedding DJ knows how to move through every stage and stick to a wedding timeline, giving you more time to focus on your big day.

For the perfect wedding DJ and all your event music needs, contact SPN events for talent that will blow you and your guests away.


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