What you Should Know About… Your Wedding Timeline

Wedding timelines can be very confusing this post will look at how you can create a wedding timeline that flows, doesn’t feel rushed but also doesn’t have awkward gaps guests don’t know what to do.


The timeline isn’t set in stone, and things will often overrun so be flexible, for example it’s perfectly fine having your deserts a little later than you planned because the father of the bride gave a beautiful (if slightly longer than expected) speech. The start and end times are the important parts, everything in the middle can be slightly fluid. If you have a wedding planner they will be able to produce or at least advise on how to produce your wedding timeline.

Here’s an example wedding timeline;

09:00 Getting ready (hair, make up etc.)

10:00 Set-up start time for your suppliers (some suppliers may even do this the night before)

13:15 Guests begin to arrive to the ceremony venue

13:45 Ceremony invitation time (have this as approximately 15 minutes before the ceremony, but expect eager guests to be there 30 minutes before)

14:00 Wedding ceremony starts

14:20 Wedding ceremony finishes

timeline 3.jpg

Wedding Timeline Board

14:25 Drinks reception

14:45 Organised family and wedding party photographs

15:05 Couple portrait photographs

15:15 Guests begin to take their seats for the wedding breakfast

15:30 Wedding breakfast starts

15:35 Starters are served

16:10 Father of the bride and parent speeches

16:40 Main courses are served

17:20 Best man and groom speeches

18:00 Desert is served and cutting of the cake

18:30 Wedding Breakfast finishes

19:30 Evening reception begins

21:00 Evening buffet / food is served

00:00 Evening reception finishes

timeline 1.jpg

Order of the Day Wedding Programme


Start times – some guests will always arrive 10 minutes after the invitation time, so have your invitation time 15 minutes before your ceremony start time.

Food timing – this will depend on your menu style, number of guests etc. but as a rule for a sit down meal allocate 40 minutes for each course. This will ensure everyone is served and can eat without feeling rushed.

The secret rule – there is a rule that seems to be secret to most couples (we had no idea about this). There is a general rule that it is ok for guests to leave a wedding once the cake has been cut. This is when all the formalities are normally out of the way, so try not to leave the cake cutting until too late.


For some general inspiration and ideas for your wedding have a look at the Tartan Rose Weddings Pinterest page.

Previous ‘What You Should Know About…’ posts include:

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