Wed­ding Time­line Tips

Cre­at­ing the order of events for your wed­ding day is no easy task but, we’re here to help! While we believe that every­one should tai­lor their wed­ding time­line to best fit their needs, these tips should help you cre­ate the per­fect time­line for YOUR wed­ding.

Cer­e­mony – Approx­i­mately 30 min­utes: From pro­ces­sional to reces­sional, it’s very rare that a wed­ding cer­e­mony would take more than thirty min­utes. Excep­tions include tra­di­tional reli­gious cer­e­monies, which can take 45 min­utes to an hour. Talk to who­ever is per­form­ing your cer­e­mony to get a more finite time frame.

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Above: Dustin Lewis Images

Cock­tail Hour – Approx­i­mately 45 min­utes: Imme­di­ately fol­low­ing your cer­e­mony, if you are host­ing your cer­e­mony & recep­tion in the same place, will be your cock­tail hour. This is where guests will have the oppor­tu­nity to min­gle, have some tasty hors d’oeuvres, and enjoy cock­tails if they are being served at your wed­ding. Dur­ing this time, the new­ly­weds are typ­i­cally tak­ing staged pho­tos with their fam­i­lies and wed­ding party. We rec­om­mend your cock­tail hour to be 45 min­utes to an hour long.

Announce­ments – Approx­i­mately 15 min­utes: When cock­tail hour dies down and you are tran­si­tion­ing to the party, most cou­ples will make the switch with announce­ments. This is where the wed­ding party and new­ly­weds are intro­duced to join the recep­tion, while friends and fam­ily are at their seats hyp­ing up the party. Some cou­ples intro­duce their fam­i­lies as well, but it is most com­mon to only include the wed­ding party. Announce­ments typ­i­cally only take 15 min­utes when you include hav­ing your guests be seated, lin­ing up the wed­ding party, and intro­duc­ing every­one by name.

First Dances – Approx­i­mately 510 min­utes: After announce­ments, you have the choice to jump into your first dances (i.e. new­ly­weds & parent’s dances) or to sit down and begin meal ser­vice. In most cases, cou­ples choose to get their first dance done imme­di­ately after announce­ments, while they still have their guest’s atten­tion. If you don’t want to have the parent’s dances right away, then hav­ing them right after meal ser­vice cre­ates a great oppor­tu­nity to open up the dance floor.


Above: Kelly Stin­son Photography

Meal Ser­vice – Approx­i­mately 2040 min­utes: Deter­min­ing the dura­tion of meal ser­vice depends on your guest count and type of meal. How­ever, most meal ser­vices don’t take more than 2040 min­utes for all guests to be served. Dur­ing this time, the cou­ple is usu­ally going from table to table thank­ing their guests for com­ing.

Toasts – Approx­i­mately 5 to 20 min­utes: Toasts are the most dif­fi­cult event to set a time for, but I have never seen toasts run longer than 20 min­utes. There is no way of telling how long speeches will take, unless you ask those giv­ing a speech to keep it under a cer­tain amount of time. Regard­less of how long their speeches are though, we rec­om­mend hav­ing toasts towards the end of meal ser­vice. This ensures that you have everyone’s atten­tion and doesn’t require you to gather every­one up from dif­fer­ent areas of the venue. We also rec­om­mend that you do the tra­di­tional cake cut­ting imme­di­ately after toasts so dessert can be served as soon as pos­si­ble.

After these main events, the rest of your wed­ding should be filled with danc­ing, catch­ing up with old friends and fam­ily, toss­ing your bou­quet, or tak­ing pho­tos at your photo booth! If you plan your time­line accord­ingly, and have a wed­ding coor­di­na­tor to keep you on sched­ule, you should have plenty of time to really ENJOY your wed­ding day!

We hope you found these tips use­ful in cre­at­ing your wed­ding time­line. Please con­tact the experts at This email address is being pro­tected from spam­bots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have any ques­tions about your Lesner Inn wed­ding in Vir­ginia Beach!

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