Wedding Day Timeline: Picking The Ideal Time To Be Wed

Deciding the exact timing of when the vows are exchanged still remains a tough nut to crack for most couples. There is so much to do while planning a wedding that it’s likely you’ll end up with tonnes of practical and logistical details to figure out. That’s okay.


There aren’t really any ground rules to chalk out when it comes to deciding the time to be wed, however much of it depends on your venue, budget and theme. The key is to freeze on a time and work backwards.

Here are our pointers for morning, afternoon and evening weddings; complete with a timeline that best fits for each.

Morning Weddings


Couples usually prefer to be wed in the afternoon or evening over the early option, however that trend isn’t set in stone anymore. If you’re looking at a morning wedding, here are a few pointers.

  • The most important part is for the couple to get to bed very early the previous night. Weddings are a tiring affair and no matter what time the ceremony is scheduled, beauty sleep is a must.
  • Do not schedule the ceremony before 9AM, an hour or so later is preferable. That leaves guests with enough time to reach if they are travelling from afar.
    Get to the venue at least three hours earlier to prepare, this especially applies to the bride.
  • It takes an hour and half for hair plus make-up, then the dress will take another thirty minutes.
  • Let there be a discreet make-up team for the bride, taking care of both the bride and the bridesmaids can be daunting and laborious for everyone involved.
  • It might be a good idea to serve a light breakfast. Some coffee, tea and pastries for the guests will do just fine.
  • You can save a considerable chunk because there’s no cocktail hour. So split that with a splendid brunch spread and refreshing breakfast.
    Organize games or a magic show to keep them occupied, since the scope for a dance party is very slim.
  • Lemon cake is a great dessert option for this set up.
  • Split your portrait sessions in two, one after the ceremony and the other after the reception.
  • You will get enough time to squeeze in both family and group photographs after the ceremony. There’s still plenty light after the guests leave for a couple session.
  • Enjoy the rest of your day as a newly weds, also this time suits best if your wedding is on a Sunday.

Afternoon Weddings


Afternoon weddings are a great option if you are getting married in Spring or Fall. The weather is pleasant and balanced. If you have a lot of kids in the family and as part of the wedding, this could work pretty well. Kids are generally active and not cranky unlike late evenings or mornings.

  • Marking the ceremony to start at 12 or 1 PM is an ideal start.
  • The bride will have enough time to sleep well and not be riled up!
  • Again, preferably have separate make-up artists for the bride and the bridesmaids. If you’re trying to cut some costs here, have the bridesmaid’s start early and give the bride an exclusive two hour window.
  • Plan a menu that compliments the theme with plenty of finger food options.
  • Guests will begin arriving at least half an hour before the ceremony, so speak to your caterer for welcome drinks.
  • Plan the wedding outdoors, and the reception plus lunch indoor. Midday sun can get guests irked after a point.
  • Get a few couple photos first or skip this until lunch begins so that the guests are not starving.
  • Inform your caterer to serve some champagne or wine during the toast instead of beer or other liquor.
  • You can have a live band or an instrumentalist to go with the theme.
  • If you can manage, get your own playlist to loosen up a little and dance.
  • Spend the rest of the evening with your loved ones or even better if you have to leave for the honeymoon.

Evening Wedding


An evening ceremony is most fun and couples choose this time the most. The family, bridesmaids and particularly the bride, get a lot of time to prepare. There is no reason to hurry and fret, it is a blessing to have a ceremony towards the end of the day.

  • If you are travelling far for the wedding venue, you need to take this under consideration and leave room for any last minute hiccups.
  • Even though there’s enough time during the day, have a rehearsal of hair and makeup at least a couple of weeks in advance. It will be a real morass if you consider any changes assuming you have the entire day.
  • Have your separate stylist/makeup artist and this is always a best practise irrespective of the wedding time.
  • Ensure you don’t miss breakfast or lunch, this is very important. It will show on your face and you won’t be able to last the night.
  • Talk to your photographer and have them cover a few candid shots while you, the groom and everyone else is getting ready.
  • Mark the ceremony for a 5PM, so that you start by 5:15 PM and end it by 6 PM.
  • You will have enough time to mingle with the guests and don’t have to rush anything.
  • Kick start the cock-tail bar and have finger food served before you head for your couple portrait.
  • The best part though is the portrait session at the “golden hour.”
  • You get some breathtaking photographs taken just before the sun begins its descent. It can’t get better.
  • Prepare for the toast after your shoot and cake cutting before the first dance.
  • Choose a dinner spread that compliments the theme and open the dance floor.
  • It’s the best part of the evening. It works even better if your wedding is on a Saturday and no rush to exit the venue.

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