Wedding Timeline of Events

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Wedding ceremonies can be fairly complex with lots of things happening seemingly all at once! To clear up some of the confusion, we've put together this basic timeline of events that outlines what happens when during the typical wedding ceremony, as well as at the reception! Enjoy!

The Ceremony

Usher in the Guests
Have light music playing in the background before the ceremony. The music should start no earlier than 15 minutes ahead of time. The ushers will guide guests to their seats. Parents or other significant guests should have reserved seats in the front. One set of parents or other honored guest will be responsible for “giving away” their loved one. Heterosexual weddings traditionally have the mother of the bride seated last and the father of the bride escorting the bride down the aisle. You and your partner will want to work your own arrangements out ahead of time.

Attendants Procession
Bridesmaids, groomsmen, matron(s) of honor, flower girls, ring bearers, all walk down the aisle and stand where they were assigned during the rehearsal.

Main Procession
Breathe! You and/or your partner will be escorted down the aisle towards the altar so the ceremony can begin.

Exchanging Your Vows
Exchange your vows. Whether they are traditional vows or words personally written to your future spouse, they will carry a lot of weight, meaning and magic! Hopefully you didn’t write these at the last minute like you did in college!

Ceremony Music
During portions of the ceremony that aren’t spoken, music is played in the background, perhaps a hymn if the ceremony is religious or a love song. Many couples hire professional musicians for the ceremony.

Rings             
Have the rings handy to place on your partner’s finger. Couples are more than welcome to use rings from previous commitment ceremonies (many do) or purchase new rings.

You May Kiss Your Spouse!
It’s about time!

Introduction of the Newly Married Couple
Smile! You will be announced as lawfully wedded to your partner: Mr. and Mr. / Mrs. and Mrs.

Recessional
You did it! The newlyweds guide the wedding party back down the aisle and on to pictures and the reception!

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The Reception

The Background
Before your arrival, the guests will have already begun with light refreshments and music playing from either a hired band or DJ. Have your planner (if you have one) or the venue coordinate the sequence of when things are to be announced. The guestbook will be placed in an accessible area. Have a table out for wedding gifts. You may also ask the venue for their suggestions, as they have more than likely hosted events like this before.

The Announcer
This will most likely be your DJ or a staff member at the venue. Make sure names are pronounced correctly and in the right order for the Wedding Party. Listen out for the announcer to introduce you before walking in.

Say Hello!
Your guests will be excited to see you and your spouse! Make sure you greet your guests and thank them for coming.

Toasts
The maids of honor or groomsmen will begin the toast. Once again, if it is a religious ceremony, have someone bless the meal after the toast, if desired.

Family First (And Wedding Party)!
The wedding party and family should be served their food first, followed by the remaining guests. This applies to both a formal setup or a buffet style dinner.