Among all of the checklists, to-dos and other wedding details, the wedding day timeline is probably one of the most important! While the timeline is more of a guideline of how the day will go, it’s extremely helpful to keep things on track for both your vendors and your guests. Here are a few things to keep in mind when creating a timeline for your wedding day.
It’s important to consider when and where you will be taking photos throughout the day. If you are willing to see each other before the ceremony, then you have more time during cocktail hour to mingle with your guests, which is what I recommend. It is becoming more popular to do a “first look” session, followed by wedding party and family photos prior to the wedding ceremony. Otherwise, if you prefer to not see each other before the ceremony, it is recommended to have an extended cocktail hour (1.5-2 hours) so you have enough time to take photos and still enjoy a portion of your social hour before the reception begins!
A receiving line can occur in a few different formats. You can dismiss guests by row (after the recessional), where you greet each guest before they exit the ceremony. Your parents can also dismiss guests by row, where the guests then greet you outside of the ceremony venue. Another more casual option is to greet guests during your cocktail hour, if you aren’t offsite taking photos. Regardless, plan for about 30 minutes per 100 guests for a receiving line when creating your wedding day timeline.
The timing of wedding food service ultimately depends on the style of service and how many guests you have. Common food service options include plated, buffet and family style. For plated and family style service, it takes about 30-40 minutes to serve each course. Buffets take roughly 30 minutes per 100 guests, and I recommend double-sided buffets to ensure a speedy experience!
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Thanks for explaining how the receiving line should work. My finance and I want to book an event venue for our wedding. Your tips will be helpful when looking at the layout of potential venues!
I am so glad this was helpful. It is very important to understand how things will flow for your guests on wedding day.