Apart from the main ceremony during which a man and a woman get married to each other, a wedding consists of several ceremonies and events. Because of how elaborate a wedding is, it is important to plan things properly so that all the events are executed smoothly. You must have a timeline and follow a particular order as far as organizing the events are concerned so that there is no confusion at any point. So, what is the order of events at a wedding?
As a general rule, the first major event at a wedding is the ceremony. The ceremony is usually followed by a cocktail hour, during which photos of the bride and groom are taken. Then the Reception begins with the first dance, speeches etc.
What is an order of ceremony?
Order of ceremony is the sequence in which different events are organized at your wedding. For this purpose, an order of service is printed and handed out to the guests. It is a small-sized booklet that serves as a proper guide to the wedding. Once guests go through it, they will get a good understanding of the kind and the number of events you have planned for your wedding. It will also give them a comprehensive idea about which event will follow which one and so on. (Recommended article: “How Long is the Average Wedding Ceremony“)
Do you need to have an order of service at a wedding?
No, it is not necessary to have an order of service at a wedding. As attractive and interesting they seem, orders of service cost a good amount of money to make. Opting to have an order of service at a wedding or deciding not to have it is a matter of personal preference. The larger the guest list, the more you have to spend on getting the orders of service made.
A lot of people think making orders of service for a small-scale or an intimate wedding is a waste of money but you don’t have to adhere to such notions. A friend of mine, who got married last year, believed in the importance of orders of service and got them done for his wedding. (Recommended article: “Planning the Perfect Wedding Day Timeline“)
What does an order of service look like?
An order of service features a simple but attractive front page. One of the things that make an order of service special is the presence of a photograph of a family member. The photograph could either be colored or in black-and-white. You must also remember to mention the date of birth and the full name of the person whose photograph you have attached with the order of service. Most importantly, an order of service should contain the list of events and ceremonies that are scheduled to be held on your wedding day. (Recommended article :”What is Cocktail Hour During a Wedding?“)
What is a typical wedding timeline?
A lot of couples opt to have their wedding ceremony and reception at the same venue. Apart from saving money and time, it also helps you stick to a timeline. While the timeline of a wedding depends on several factors including the scale of the wedding and the various events you might have planned for the day, one could give you a breakdown of what an ideal wedding timeline looks like.
Here is what a typical wedding timeline looks like.
- 10:00 am: Arrival of the hair and makeup artists and helping the bride getting ready
- 11:00 am: Different vendors reach the venue to set up everything
- 12:00 pm: Bride puts final touches to her hair and makeup
- 1:00 pm: Photographer comes and starts shooting candid pictures of the bride
- 2:00 pm: Bride wears her wedding costume
- 2:45 pm: Pictures of the couple are clicked
- 3:30 pm: Members of the wedding party arrive at the wedding venue
- 4:00 pm: The couple clicks pictures with their families and the wedding party
- 4:30 pm: Guests start arriving at the venue
- 5:00 pm: The wedding ceremony starts
- 6:00 pm: The wedding ceremony comes to an end and the cocktail hour starts
- 7:00 pm: Cocktail hour comes to an end and guests enter the reception area
- 7:15 pm: The newly married couple is introduced to the guests and the first dance takes place
- 7:25 pm: Guests are invited to join the couple on the dance floor
- 7:45 pm: Guests get back from the dance floor and the first course/starters are served
- 8:00 pm: Welcome toast is raised
- 8:15 pm: Main course is served to the guests
- 8:45 pm: A toast is raised by the maid of honor and the best man
- 9:00 pm: The bride dances with her father and the groom jives with his mother
- 9:15 pm: The guests are requested to join the couple and their parents on the dance floor
- 10:00 pm: Cake cutting ceremony takes place
- 10:50 pm: The last song of the evening plays in the background
- 11:00 pm: Guests leave
What comes first – vows or rings?
If it’s a traditional wedding, the vows will be followed by the ring exchange. Traditionally, the groom is expected to go first but in a lot of modern weddings these days, the bride is encouraged to go first if she wants to. If the groom goes first, he holds the bride’s hand and puts the ring on one of the fingers. While doing so, he repeats a phrase uttered by the priest. After this, the bride puts the ring on the groom’s finger and repeats a similar phrase.
What is a First Look wedding?
A first look at a wedding is referred to the moment when the couple sees each other right before the wedding ceremony takes place. The photographer accompanies them during this moment and clicks a bunch of candid pictures of the bride and groom. The way the first look session will pan out and the location where it will be set in is decided several days before the wedding day. The first look session takes around 15-30 minutes to conclude. It is usually organized 1-2 hours before the arrival of the guests.
Does the first dance come before dinner?
If you go by traditional norms, the first dance happens after dinner. However, these days a lot of couples prefer having the first dance before dinner. You must know that there are pros and cons to both scenarios. Often, couples are in the mood to have the first dance when the reception has begun. They might not have a similar kind of energy after having a full meal. When my brother got married, he and his wife preferred having the first dance after dinner as they felt they would be a lot more relaxed after ensuring that all the guests have eaten and that they are done with all their responsibilities for the day.
What comes first father-daughter dance or bride and groom?
Back in the day, it was a norm for the bride and her father to have a dance together before she joins her husband for a dance. As times changed, most couples preferred the first dance at the wedding to be theirs. Now, in most weddings, you will see the father-daughter dance happening right after the bride-and-groom dance. However, those who still swear by traditional values ensure that the father-daughter dance happens before the bride and groom get together for a dance.
What is the order of dances at a wedding reception?
After they are introduced to the guests, the bride and the groom go about having their first dance. A lot of couples practice or rehearse this dance for several days before the wedding so that they could get their moves right in front of the guests that would be witnessing their dance.
After the conclusion of the first dance, the bride dances with her father and the groom shares a dance with his mother. After this, the father of the bride is expected to dance with her mother. Similarly, the groom’s parents dance with each other. The groomsmen, including the best man, can dance with the bride and the groom could have a dance with the bridesmaids. Towards the end, the guests should be invited to come to the dance floor and dance with their loved ones.
How long is the first dance at a wedding?
The first dance should not extend beyond 4-5 minutes. That’s roughly the duration of an average song. You play a song and when the song comes to an end, you must know that it is time to get off the stage and let others dance. The first dance at a wedding is very important and keenly looked forward to by guests. However, the charm of the dance will wither away if you extend it for way too long.
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