As the bride and groom embark on the final marathon leading to their grand event – twelve, nine, ten days… one weak left – they would feel the stress of wedding frenzy mounting up exponentially. Once you get down to the nitty-gritty, nuptial logistics and supply alone prove terrifying. Even if the couple hires professional assistance to steer them on a steady course of preparation, few can cope with the jitters the celebration ahead can give us.

Do you wake up anxious and haunted by thoughts like: what is omitted? What, if something goes wrong? Relax and take it easy. Everyone has been there – everyone who got married at least once. Visualize the big day in vivid detail- everything running like clockwork. Print out some pin-up lists with what you will do in the morning, during the formal part and afterwards. The trick helps feel calmer and more in control.

Tip: Instead of stressing and sweating, try to kick back. Book a Swedish massage a day or two before the nuptial. Apart from full body treatment, it is a great idea to have a facial. Besides releasing muscle tension, pre-marriage pampering has many other pleasant effects, such as freshened skin and complexion. On the other hand, if you are all taught and strained, even the best make-up artist in the world can disappoint you.

Have you run rehearsals, hair and beauty preps yet? If not, please do so. It provides insights into what slipped attention and – very important – into how much time it all takes. If yes, you would figure this one out for yourself: a realistic wedding schedule is the backbone of any large-scale event.

You have probably heard more than once by now: things are bound to go wrong – it happens to anyone. However, right timings on the day are the core – they will help you breeze through the ceremony and dinner like nothing happened. If there is a hitch somewhere, people know there is a timeline to stick to and carry on without much interference.

Those, who do not get their day timings right, risk being bogged down in any last-minute calamity, trying to sort out inessential stuff rather than keep a stiff upper lip and continue. With luck no one will notice at all.

Note: Wise after the event, one happy couple says it was the bride-to be was too much into Internet inspiration boards and going wild over dresses, themes, designs, colour palettes and took the organizational routine for granted, until it was too late. Eventually, she had to squeeze her beauty into a very narrow margin and dispensed with some fancy lash enhancement, was calling off the technician at the last minute, which left her a little glum.

Approximate timeline

To aid all engaged people who visit our site, here is a rough wedding timings guide and plenty of tips. These timing tips will come in handy as the special day is getting closer. They will also help you to feel in charge, making you less nervous in final run.

Tip: Break down the big and ‘scary’ happening looming ahead into small and manageable parts – use our suggested wedding timings and considerations thereupon. What elements do you need to factor in? Spell everything out on a minute-by-minute basis with good margins. Slots allocated for getting into the dress, driving there and similar should be increased – twice, if possible.

Do not forget to allow enough room in the morning to have shower and breakfast. One is very likely to get up from the bed feeling specifically ‘non-hungry’, but you will be starving very soon – believe us – with the emotional exertion, when it is too late to arrange for a quick snack. You surely don’t picture butterflies in the stomach breaking into the solemn readings in the church superior acoustics environment, do you? Ideal wedding breakfast would be a decent helping of eggs and bacon.

The whole nuptial thing hinges on the formalities. Whatever happens before and after, showing up for your ceremony properly attired, perfectly coiffed and made up is a must. Turn up at least half an hour before the guests – unless, of course, you mean them to see the grand arrival of the bride and groom.

Definitely, the morning will be very busy. Depending on how elaborated the bridal beauty plan is, it may be necessary to get into the dress in advance. No need to swipe it off with the gown’s white fabric.

Summing up, the hours before the ceremony look like the following:

  • breakfast and morning hygiene – at least 1 hour
  • hair-do and applying cosmetics – approx. 2,5 hours; if you did trials you know how long it lasted. If not, get the
  • timings from the stylists; add on half an hour or more – better to err on the safe side

Note: If you have a booking at the saloon, it may be long before one gets there and back – have to wake up earlier.

  • dressing and putting on the jewellery, the veil – up to half an hour

Note: Determined by the make-up and hair style, this and the previous position may swap places.

  • make sure nothing is forgotten or left behind – the rings, the ring pillow, the bouquet, the vows cheat sheet, etc. – whatever will be needed at the church – 5 minutes
  • photos before starting out – 10-15 minutes

How about made of honor?

Preparation of the bride consumes most effort. Depending on the scheme, it may also be necessary to factor in the maids of honor– they are often your responsibility. Clear it up well before the day. Pin the rough timetable up somewhere and use it to add comments.

Tip: You had breakfast, now it will be nice to find space and arrange a little treat for the retinue – with a glass of bubbles, maybe. It will cheer up the atmosphere. Wedge in an extra hour, and you all will breathe out and actually enjoy the morning, starting in an excellent mood.

The wardrobe fuss and flurry doesn’t leave us with plenty of time to attend to anything else, decor details, in particular. Enlist someone to go and finish dressing up the venue. The centerpiece and other floral arrangements will, most likely, be delivered the same morning.

Tip: Perhaps, you will also need someone to take care of dressing up the getaway car for her, as well as other vehicles forming the cortege. Being a nice custom, although it is determined by your own preferences. Be sure they start early enough – put a stand-alone list item for it, too – to complete decoration by moment it is time to leave for the ceremony.

Ask the photographer and the camera man to show up earlier to capture the lady in those final moments of her preparation. It is always so endearing afterwards to watch it all recorded and documented.


Other staff

Typical wedding timings specify the hour the couple leaves home and their time of arrival for the official part. They would also wish to make some pictures there and then, too. Engagement shoots are best organized in advance. An experienced photographer would prefer to come earlier and scout the location for background ideas, to gain the necessary inspiration and unleash their creative potential. Tell them the exact whereabouts. Give him or her combinations of people you would definitely like to appear in group photos from the big day.

Expert tips: Use the ready timing schedule to check back with the vendors. Call them and specify when exactly flowers should be delivered to the wedding venue.
Remind the caterers at what hour the party is arriving for the dinner.
Reconfirm your beauty bookings thrice – make sure to have a backup in case your primary stylists are, for any reason, unable to do you and bridesmaids.
Write down the most important phone numbers on the schedule’s paper – it’s clever to have them at hand, just in case.

Ceremony order

The focal point of any marriage, the formal routine happens quickly, as a rule. Procedure should run as smoothly as possible. Tying the knot is a solemn thing and any unwanted excitement at it is least necessary.

The bigger the guest-list becomes, the longer it takes for people to file in, occupy their seats and exit afterwards. Count them all in. As you do not usually have much time there, decide beforehand who goes down the aisle in the retinue and in what order.

It will be the chief bridesmaid’s duty and her party to line up the guests and direct them throughout the official ceremony. Remember, people at weddings tend to feel relaxed and chatty, lingering about. They do need to be hustled up, occasionally – the most polite manner, of course. Discuss such things with your ushers, best man and maid of honor beforehand – they should be ready to act on the slightest hint from you or even without.

No one sets off for the reception right away – give photographers and cameramen ample space. Pictures with the guests, portraits are best snapped at this point.

Whether the event will be civil or religious, its outline includes:

  • arrival of guests, ushers, etc.
  • appearance of the groom and his guys – suggested time: 30-40 minutes before
  • coming of the bridal retinue –15-20 minutes before
  • ushers show guests to their seats, groomsmen escorting maids of honor unless they will be forming a procession – specify when they should get about it
  • the procession and the music starts – write the hour
  • the bride goes down the aisle – may take a couple of minutes
  • the officiant opens the ceremony – if he has to say more than just a few words, specify the time needed
  • declaration of consent, exchanging vows and rings, signing the register, etc.
  • the officiant pronounces the two people in front of him ‘husband and wife’
  • recessional or the wedding company exit: the newlyweds are usually the last to come out, everyone around
  • cheers, showers them with confetti and so on
  • photos and departure – write approx. time


When the actual nuptial is over, it will be down the hill already – easier and less stressful. However, do draw up a timetable for the dinner party as well. Indicate when speeches, drink receptions, dancing, cake-cutting, bouquet-throwing and so on are to take place.

Map out the menu step-by-step with caterers and give information to the restaurant staff. Compose the entertainment sheet as well and let them have copies of it – that way you can ensure dishes are not brought to the table at awkward moments.

Tip: If you will have a receiving line to welcome the attendees, count the time needed, given the number of the expected crowd. In this case the dinner’s planned starting time may move down (the timeline). Make a note to inform the kitchen staff about it.

Trying to keep their nuptial budgets within reasonable limits, more or less, many couples dispense with the designer’s services of the day and choose to decorate the reception location themselves. Select someone on your retinue to assume this responsibility.

Dressing up the venue can often be done on the eve of the marriage, but there are some last-minute touches – like adding floral compositions – they cannot be placed too soon. Do not forget to put it down in the timeline lest this vital assignment is omitted.

Note: If you hire an expert wedding planner to coordinate all the prep work – a good investment that eventually pays back in money and energy saved – your assistant may be there during the festivities. You can always fall back on him or her to go to the dinner location beforehand and control that everything is in order.

Pen down the names of those, who shall deliver speeches. Specify at what point of the reception it will happen. Always ask people you wish to invite. Do not surprise or press anyone to make a toast – it is an overwhelming task not everyone is up to it emotionally or otherwise. Select people who are trustworthy and reliable – do not opt for someone who likes to talk: too long a speech – and the audience starts to fidget. Ask your prospective speakers about estimated time and double it mentally.

Expert tips: As soon as the party gets underway, our perfectly orchestrated little timeline starts falling apart. Don’t fret: it is normal. However, do stick to the indicated timings for certain high points of the dinner. First and foremost, there go these three things:

  • the first dance
  • cake cutting
  • bouquet throwing

It will give the evening structure. On the other hand, you won’t suddenly find yourself in a situation, when you have to rush through it just because we are running short of time.

Putting together the marriage day schedule, confirm reservations for the wedding night accommodation. If you are leaving soon for the honeymoon, check with the hotel, too – you won’t have a spare minute for it later. Besides, that day should be fun and entertainment, all important organizational stuff finalized by it. Do not forget to find enough room to change from formal wear, pick up passports, baggage and tickets for the trip.