There are many things to think about on your wedding day. Essential steps like hair and makeup, vendor setup, and guest arrival need to happen in a specific order, so there’s time for everything. If scheduling your wedding day seems daunting, we’re here to help you out with these suggestions.
How Long Activities Take
Hair and makeup can vary a lot depending on whether you hire an expert or do it yourself. If you’re working with a professional, expect it to take two to three hours for the bride, and around an hour or a little more for others.
Vendor setup – where your event is makes a big difference with how long the setup takes. Still, in general, caterers need around 3 hours to prep. For chair and table rental, approximately 1-2 hours. Here at Denison Ridge, we make it easy by doing the setup for you.
Guest arrival – this is tricky. You want people there in enough time that no one is walking down the aisle with the bride. But you also don’t want guests there so early that they get bored waiting. Invitees should arrive about half an hour to an hour before the ceremony begins. They’ll have time to park, find their seats, and mingle.
From the Bride and Planner’s Perspective
If you’re planning the event, when do you arrive? Generally, the wedding planner should arrive at the site before the first vendor gets there. They should plan on a long day and get to the area several hours early to help with last-minute decorating and answer questions.
What about if you’re the bride? If you’re getting ready at the venue, you’ll need to be there several hours early, as well. However, suppose you’re getting hair and makeup done somewhere else. In that case, your arrival time can be a couple of hours before the wedding. Remember, you’ll also need to get there early if you’re taking photos before the ceremony.
Wedding Day of Schedule Example
Maybe you think this is all good to know, but you’d rather have an actual timeline to help create your schedule. Check this one out for reference:
(This assumes a ceremony time of 6 pm. You can adjust it to fit your time. Also, remember that multiple things will be happening at once.)
10:00 – 3:00 pm: Bride and bridesmaid hair and makeup. Get started on decorations, table, and chair rental.
3:00 – 5:00pm: Photographer and videographer arrive. Groom, groomsmen, arrive at the venue. Do the first look, wedding party photos, and family photos. Florist arrives.
4:00 – 5:30 pm: Dessert, caterer, and bartender arrive, deejay arrives, photo booth setup.
(This can vary.)
5:00 – 5:30 pm: Relax, snacks, extra time.
5:15 – 6:00 pm: Guests arrive at the venue.
6:00 pm: The wedding ceremony begins.
6:45 – 7:00 pm: Reception begins / dinner served.
7:00 pm: Announcement of bride and groom.
7:15 – 7:30 pm: Toasts, cake cutting, dessert for all.
8:00 – 9:30 First dance, father-daughter, mother-son, dance floor open.
9:30 – Sparkler send-off.
9:30 – 10:00 pm: Clean up.
At Denison Ridge, we offer great wedding packages at affordable prices. We provide chairs, tables, linens, setup, breakdown, and more! If you want to give yourself more time to enjoy your special day, use this timeline template, and book with Denison Ridge.
Alex Loredo is a freelance writer. She utilizes her knowledge of events and planning to create content that motivates and inspires. She writes for Thrive Global, Adventures and Coffee, and more. Alex specializes in events, hospitality, and planning topics. When she isn’t writing, she can be found reading, baking, or on a never-ending quest for the world’s best cup of coffee.