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Bookmark and Share Home > Planning Your Wedding >  Ceremony Timetable

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Your Ceremony Timetable

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Ceremony Timetable

Planning a timetable to follow for your wedding day must be customized to each individual situation.  The following guidelines assume a church wedding with wedding photos taken in advance of the ceremony, which is becoming more popular every year. 

  • Two and a half to three hours prior to the ceremony:   The bride, her mother, and attendants arrive at the church and begin putting on their makeup, curling their hair, (if not previously done by a professional salon) and dressing.  This is expected to take approximately one hour, leaving a full hour, plus, for wedding photographs. 
  • Two hours prior to the ceremony:    The florist should arrive with the alter baskets, bouquets, corsages, boutonniere's, and other assorted wedding flowers.   The groom, his parents, and attendants will arrive at the ceremony site and pin on their wedding flowers. The brides father should also arrive at this time if he did not come earlier with the bride and her mother.  The ushers will assist in pinning corsages on the mothers and other honored guests who have arrived early for the photography session.  Photographs  begin at this time especially when you have a large wedding party.
  • One hour prior to the ceremony:    Pre-wedding photos should be completed no later than one hour prior to the ceremony.  The bride and her attendants will take this opportunity to freshen makeup, possibly touch up the wedding gown with a puff of steam where it may have wrinkled during the photo session, and take a quick breather.  Snack trays are a great idea in the dressing area, but be sure not to include items that will stain or mark clothing.  Fresh vegetable trays are a great idea.  (You may want to consider forgetting the ranch dressing, as if it is spilled on a garment it will leave a grease mark when quickly spot cleaned).
  • Forty-five minutes prior to the ceremony:    The ushers will want to be certain of the seating arrangements and be available in the vestibule of the church for early arrivers.  The best man should see to it that the marriage license has been given to the pastor if it was not done so earlier. 
  • Thirty minutes prior to the ceremony:    The organist begins to play the prelude music as the ushers escort guests to their seats. 
  • Ten minutes prior to the ceremony:   Time for a final "once over" for the wedding participants.
  • Five minutes prior to the ceremony:    The head usher will escort the groom's mother to her seat.  The groom's father follows a few feet behind the usher, then takes his seat beside his wife. It lends a nice touch to the wedding for a son to escort his mother down the isle at his brothers wedding whether or not he is the head usher.  Mothers have also been escorted to their seat by the groom, when that is the desire of the couple.
  • Immediately following the seating of the mother of the groom, the brides mother is  escorted to her seat.  If the ushers are also the grooms attendants, they will now take their place with the wedding party.
  • Ceremony time:     Special music plays as the candle lighting ceremony begins.  Music changes to the chosen "processional" as the candle lighters leave the auditorium or find their seats.   Also see "The Procession"
  • The minister, groom and best man step into their places at the front of the church. 
  • The wedding party enters, either as couples or the bridesmaids only, if the groomsmen took their place at the front of the church moments earlier with the groom and best man.
  • The maid of honor follows behind the bridesmaids, and the flower girl and ring bearer behind her.  As everyone takes their places at the front of the church, the organist will change to the music for the bride and her father's entrance.  The congregation will rise in honor of the bride. 




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