It’s…Four O’Clock Somewhere?

Logistics are not my thing. I can dream away, creating the perfect wedding day in my head, but when it comes down to putting those dream plans in motion, I usually fail. Something that has been giving me tons of grief is actually quite simple—trying to sort out our wedding-day timeline.

See, we want to do our photos after the wedding, so we need good light. The whole shebang is outdoors, too, and we don’t want to get married in the dark. But we don’t want to have the wedding ceremony too early, because that means dinner will be at a weird time, and everything will end early, too.

From what I can gather, based on sunrise/sunset calendars and a bit of guesstimating, sunset should occur sometime around 7 PM on the day of our wedding. From there, we’ll have about half an hour of civil twilight, that blue, glow-y, fading-light kind of sky. Ideally, we’re going to want to have everything done waaay before then.

Figuring about half an hour for our ceremony, an hour for cocktails/us doing photographs, and an hour and a half or so for dinner (there’s not that many of us) and dancing thereafter, I’m imagining it like so:

  • Ceremony at 4 PM, lasting to about 4:30 PM
  • Photos/cocktail hour from 4:30 PM to 5:30 PM, with an extra half hour built in just in case we are slow getting away from the ceremony, accidentally get stuck in a receiving line, or the photos take longer than expected
  • Dinner from 6 PM to around 7:00 or 7:30 PM
  • Dancing until 10 PM or so? It’s an outdoor reception and I don’t really want noise complaints. Cake cutting/special dances/bouquet toss, etc. will be in this time period, too.
  • Optional after-party somewhere if we still feel like celebrating!

I think we’d be OK for light, and dinner would be at a normal eating time. It’s the things like this that make me scratch my head!

Is that schedule logical? Is there enough time built in for everything (keeping in mind there will only be 50 people in attendance)? Does anyone else struggle with sorting out things like times and dates and lists and technology? (Now I’m just venting.)


Mrs. Dragon

Sioux Lookout/Brockville, ON
Wedding Date:
September 2012
Wrapped Around Your Finger: What We Regret
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  1. Guest Icon Guest
    Jenny7568, Guest @ 8:37 am

    That looks like a great timeline…of course I’m saying this because this is what my wedding day timeline is looking like so I may be a bit biased! :)

  2. Member
    rivendeler 1244 posts, Bumble bee @ 8:40 am

    Yes, i think it’s ok and it will work :-)

  3. Member
    mandyanne 51 posts, Worker bee @ 8:46 am

    That’s pretty much the exact timeline my venue suggested, so I think it sounds great!

  4. Guest Icon Guest
    Cara, Guest @ 8:51 am

    @Jenny7568: @mandyanne: This is almost exactly my timeline too, haha. I guess it’s what is necessary if you want an “evening” wedding but don’t want a first look and therefore need daylight picture time between ceremony and reception :)

  5. Member
    MistyLuv79 62 posts, Worker bee @ 9:22 am

    That’s the same as our timeline – and, our wedding/reception is also outdoors. I think this will be perfect; plus, it leaves a little bit of sunset picture time right after dinner if you want.

  6. mspony Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 9:43 am

    This is almost exactly what our timeline was, but we had to travel 30 minutes between venues and we took the majority of photos before the ceremony (although we took plenty after too), so I think it sounds great :)

  7. Member
    FutureMrsSpencer 526 posts, Busy bee @ 9:43 am

    My timeline scares the heck out of me!! I sit and try to think about what time things should start, but all I do is frustrate myself. I am hoping that the person in charge at the church will be able to help me through this problem because I am stuck.

  8. msdragon Member
    Mrs. Dragon 814 posts, Busy bee @ 9:53 am

    Whew, glad to hear it sounds okay!
    @MistyLuv79: I didn’t even think of that — bonus!
    @FutureMrsSpencer: It was a really intimidating thing for me. I’m still too nervous to set it in stone on our wedding website! I have to double-check with my mom about how strict noise bylaws are, too. Once you figure out a jumping off point — ours was sorting out when the light would be best for photos — the rest sort of falls into place. :)

  9. coyote Member
    coyote 1932 posts, Buzzing bee @ 10:02 am

    It all sounds perfect to me… But probably because we’re doing the same exact thing except starting at 5pm instead of 4pm! :)

  10. Member
    zippitydoodah 210 posts, Helper bee @ 10:27 am

    Oh this was THE biggest wedding stress for me! I’m getting married in my childhood church, and the only time they had left was 1pm. Also, the nearest hotel for the guys to get ready at is half an hour away, and we wanted first look photos. After 10 months of stressing about it, I emailed my photographer asking how long he would think photos would take, and he invited me to his studio. He then sat down with me and wrote out the ENTIRE itinerary. I’m talking when the guys need to leave the hotel, when we need to be wrapping up family photos, when the cake cutting is… every single thing! I freaking LOVE my photographer haha

    The one thing, and I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve only been to one outdoor wedding and it was on a farm (no noise issues), but I’ve never even heard of a wedding going to less than 12 or 1am. I was actually surprised to see that you were from Ontario as well, because I thought it was just a US thing to end before midnight. The noise thing makes sense though!

  11. Member
    Saramina329 173 posts, Blushing bee @ 10:30 am

    I was freaking out at first too. We pretty much came up with the same timeline. Everything is the exact same thing since we have to be out and cleaned by 11 PM. If you have a planner, they should be able to help set it up and determine what would work best. Relax, it will fall into place. At least that is what I’m telling myself now since I’m half bald.

  12. archer Member
    archer 551 posts, Busy bee @ 10:37 am

    that sounds lovely!

    our timeline is close, but we’re doing a short cocktail hour and pictures before the 530 ceremony. and i totally just ran with whatever my photographers said about timeline- i didn’t have a clue!

  13. Member
    Future Army Wife 2213 posts, Buzzing bee @ 8:57 pm

    Looks great to me!

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