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  • The secret to a stress-free wedding day? Scheduling enough prep time! Here, get a complete breakdown to what happens when on your wedding day.

    Getting Ready
    Bride’s Side
    Bride’s hair: One hour. “This gives enough time to get it right and make any tweaks or changes from the trial run,” said many hairstylists.

    Bride’s makeup: 45 to 60 minutes, depending on the makeup style the bride selects, according to makeup artists.

    Bridesmaids’ hair: 30 minutes per person.

    Bridesmaids’ makeup: 45 minutes per person.

    The order: When your hairstylist arrives, have her start on your bridesmaids first. “I prefer to have the bride go last so that when her photographer arrives, they catch those last-minute ‘getting ready’ shots, and the bride looks the freshest,” said most wedding planners.

    Instead, the bride should start with makeup. “We like to prep the bride’s face first, let her relax and enjoy the day, and then allow her the last two hours of time for final styling.” “But it depends on the bride’s preference as well. Regardless, with proper makeup application, her look will last.”

    When should the photographer arrive? One hour before the bride is ready to go. “It’s generally best to arrive during the bride’s hair and makeup. The latter portion of the hair and makeup styling, when the bride is closer to being finished, makes for more flattering photos,” said many photographers. This also gives your photographer plenty of time to capture the details — gown, shoes, jewelry, etc. — in addition to the hustle and bustle of the room and the often emotional interactions between the bride and her bridesmaids and relatives.”

    If you have more than yourself plus four getting hair done, ask your stylist to bring an assistant to cut down on time. For makeup, add an assistant after yourself plus two.

    If you’re traveling to a salon, double the travel time you anticipate — better to have too much time than not enough.

    Put on your veil after the dress. Consider asking your stylist to stick around until then to make sure your veil is secure.

    Pre-ceremony photos of the bride with her family and attendants/groom with his family and attendants: Two to three minutes per shot; more if the groups are very large, and less if they are very small. “You must also consider how punctual the groups tend to be and possibly cushion the schedule to allow for unexpected delays.”

    First look: 15-30 minutes.

    Groom and groomsmen arrive: An hour and a half before the ceremony.

    Bride and bridesmaids arrive: An hour* before the ceremony. “We want to make sure you are hidden before your guests arrive, so they don’t get an early peek at your gown!” said wedding planner.

    *If the bride won’t be taking photos at the church prior to the ceremony, then she can arrive moments before walking down the aisle and wait in the limo until it’s time.

    Ideal ceremony length: 30 minutes. “It’s enough time to have meaningful readings and music to make your ceremony unique and memorable.”

    Receiving line: For a ceremony with 100 guests or less, this will take 12-15 minutes. With 150 guests, allow 20 minutes. If you’re expecting more than 150 guests, consider skipping the receiving line and visiting guests at their tables during dinner instead.

    Maximum gap between ceremony and reception: One hour. “Any more than that, and I’d recommend suggesting places for your guests to visit between the ceremony and cocktail hour.”

    Ceremony
    Bride’s Side
    Groom’s Side
    Post Ceremony Photos
    Bride’s Side
    Groom’s Side
    Family photos: Two to three minutes per shot — if your family is properly organized!

    Bridal party: Two to three minutes per shot. “I like to keep these simple, as my clients are always eager to make it to their cocktail party.”
    Didn’t have a first look? Allow 30 minutes post-ceremony for photos of you and your groom. If you did have a first look, you’ll still want 15-20 minutes post-ceremony for just the two of you.

    Save photos of very large groups (like classmates, coworkers, and large extended family groups) for the reception, when your DJ or band leader can make an announcement to gather everyone. You’ll be able to take the photos much faster than trying to track down 50 people during the cocktail hour.

    Tip: The best way to save time taking photos is by being prepared. “I work with my clients in detail prior to the ceremony to compile a list of all the necessary shots and who is in each one. This ensures the couple and their families have all their needs met, while saving a lot of time and confusion while shooting,” said photographer. “It also allows me to politely manage family members who ask for additional shots during the session. I simply tell them we are covering the list first and, if there is time at the end, we’d be happy to add any additional shots they’d like.”

    Also, think about where exactly you’ll want to take your photos. If your photographer isn’t familiar with the site, see if he or she would mind scouting it out. “This is a huge time saver on the wedding day!” says most photographers.

    Ideal length: Six hours. “This will allow an hour for cocktails, two hours for dinner, and three hours for dancing,” according to Ewing’s Mobile DJ Service, but it can be done in five hours.

    Order of events:

    First dance: The most common timing is immediately after the bride and groom enter the reception, but you can also do your first dance following the conclusion of dinner or right after dessert.

    Father/daughter dance: Immediately following the first dance.

    Mother/son dance: Immediately following the father/daughter dance. Or, sometimes, this dance is shared with the father/daughter dance.

    Welcome toast: Given by the father of the bride or by the bride and groom.

    First course (salad/appetizer) served

    Toasts: Ladies first! Start with the maid of honor, followed by the best man.

    Second course (main course) served

    Toasts: The bride and groom can give a toast here, if desired.

    Guests invited to dance: Open up the dance floor, and get the party started!

    Cake cutting: Two hours before the reception ends. “The cake will then be passed on trays or set on a table alongside other fun sweets for guests who may want a sugar boost after dancing for a while.” Other couples opt to cut the cake earlier in the night, like following their introduction or the toasts. “This ensures that all guests see the cake being cut and allows the bride and groom to have fewer obligations throughout the night.”

    Bouquet and garter tosses: Right after the cake cutting, or about two hours before the end of the reception.

    Late-night snacks: A popular trend, many couples start passing around bite-size snacks at this point to refuel guests.

    Farewell: If you’re doing a sparkler farewell, for example, have guests start lining up about 10 minutes before you plan to exit.

    Reception
    Bride’s Side
    Groom’s Side

    Now mainly the Groom………..
    The day before – Relax, Rehearsal and Rehearsal Dinner

    Relax – All Day

    Shorts, flip flops, summertime. It’s a beautiful summer day, and your family and friends are all arriving in town for your wedding. You can bet that you won’t have much time to take it all in or to have quality conversations with everyone, but you should try hard. Because your bachelor party will not be held tonight (and don’t think otherwise!), take this day to relax as much as possible. You’ll find that wedding day itself will be a whirlwind of activity.

    The Wedding Rehearsal – About one hour

    In the early afternoon or evening, you are likely to have a rehearsal of the wedding ceremony itself with the officiant at the site of your wedding. This will significantly calm your nerves (or give you a case of the nerves if you didn’t already have them) and the nerves of anyone that is called upon to read (or sing) during a religious ceremony. “When exactly do I sit down?” you will ask. The rehearsal will answer all of that. And if you have any doubts about any part of the ceremony, now is the time to ask.

    The Rehearsal Dinner – About two hours

    After the rehearsal, you will likely proceed to a rehearsal dinner. This can be as informal as Subway sandwiches, a backyard barbecue or as formal as a sit-down meal at a nice restaurant. Typically, your parents, your fiancée’s parents, and the wedding party are invited. Some couples will also include close friends, additional family and out-of-town guests, but who ultimately attends is up to you. One of the great things about the rehearsal dinner is that is gives you the time to hang out with friends and family that you might not see that often. And by the way – it’s typically the groom and his family that are tasked with planning wedding day.

    Last Minute Jitters

    – About 5 minutes at some point, probably at least once. It’s ok. It’s not a sign that you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into, but a sign that this is an infinitely more important contract than, say, signing up for a cell phone, and you’re taking the commitment seriously. Your bride may be having last minute jitters as well. Take a big deep breath, and practice your wedding speech instead of worrying!

    Wedding Speech Prep

    – About 20 minutes at some point, hopefully at least twice.

    Restless sleep – About 4.5 hours of it. Count on it.

    The Day Of Prep Time – About 2 hours in the morning

    Your day will start with a rotten sleep the night before, because you’ll be very nervous and possibly excited about what the day will bring. Start your day with breakfast and invite the groomsmen, best man and your dad to join you with room service at your hotel or at a breakfast joint. Now is the time to relax before things really get rolling. Don’t throw on the tuxedo, then have breakfast. Maximize your time in jeans and flip flops.
    Getting ready – continued

    After breakfast, you’ll want to get dressed. In wedding attire. That could be beach wear, morning coats or tuxedos. We suggest to have all your attendants meet you where you are staying, be it your hotel room or home, to get ready together. Why? Typically, boutonnières will be delivered to you on the morning of wedding day. You’ll be nervous enough without having to cart around flowers for everybody. Further, this ensures that your party is in one spot. No worrying about “where’s Peter?” at the 11th hour. Finally, many couples will document the day by having the groom and his attendants pose for photos with the wedding photographer as they are getting ready or once they are ready. It’s also nice not to be alone!

    We sincerely hope you’ve figured out your wedding day transportation, because – well – that’s how you are getting the ceremony itself. Is it your feet? Is it a taxi? A limo? A horse drawn carriage with frilly white ribbons tied just so? Your wedding transportation will arrive about 45 minutes before the ceremony. That will leave you plenty of time to get to the site, greet guests as they arrive and nervously pace the halls waiting for your bride to arrive.

    Pre-Ceremony – 30-45 minutes prior to the Ceremony

    Running Late?

    We’re sure you’ve heard plenty of stories about the groom running late. LOL. We dare you to even think about it. We just can’t understand how you could possibly be late, other than getting stuck on the freeway. With some good planning, you’re going to be super early! Forewarned, you will arrive at the ceremony in advance of your bride.

    A Few Minutes before it all begins. This is a great opportunity to calm your nerves by making witty banter and talking to your guests, who will slowly start to arrive at your wedding. You will very quickly realize that you are one of the stars of the show. You’ll have more attention focused on you than you’ve likely ever had before. Try to avoid clamming up and don’t hide in the back room (unless your best man thinks it’s a good idea!) You’ll be at least a little nervous.

    The Ceremony Itself – Shorter than you think!

    This puppy will be over quicker than you can say the longest word in the dictionary, so pay attention. Forget how you look, savor the moment and how amazing your bride looks. Take it all in as her father escorts her down the aisle as that famous “here comes the bride” music (ed. – It’s called ‘Wedding March’ by Richard Wagner…) pumps out through the church organ (or boom box complete with cassette tapes, depending on your ceremony). Flashes flash, grannies and friends cry and the knot is officially tied. As much as you can, however, calm those nerves, and listen to what your officiant is saying. Don’t just recite your vows, think about them. That’s the real important stuff. And remember that the marriage contract gets signed by the eyes.

    Post-ceremony – About 45 minutes to an hour

    Between the ceremony and your grand entrance at your wedding reception, you, your parents, the wedding party and Larry, your wedding photographer, will step away from the eye of your guests and have additional wedding photos taken. This could be at a spot near the ceremony itself, or you may have planned to hop in the Batmobile to a special spot Larry has designated for this purpose. This is the easy part. Your guests, meanwhile, will head back to their cars, get out their wedding gifts (“Do you think they’ll like this cutting board and salad mixer combo?”) and make their way to the reception.

    Pre-Reception – About 20 minutes

    You and your beautiful new wife, along with your parents and her parents will form what is called a receiving line at the reception . Guests will enter the reception room and you’ll greet them as they do. The receiving line is great fun. You get to spend approximately 3.5 seconds with each person, and, in the case of your wife’s family and friends, just enough time to realize you can’t remember their names, or aren’t sure if they really are family or friends.

    The Reception – About 2 hoursFood, drink and speeches. That’s about all you need to know, other than when, exactly, you’ll be making yours. Make sure you’ve had a discussion with your wedding master of ceremonies a couple of days before the reception and, ideally, the night before as well. He has to keep things rolling otherwise it will be painfully slow between courses and toasts.

    Post Reception – All Night Long (that is, until you leave)

    The beginning of the end of the wedding. Have a great time. You’ll leave at some point with your bride, earlier in the evening, leaving your guests to party.

    Wedding Night Sex – About 7.5 minutes, if at all. You, of course, have other important things to take care of. There’s no shame in leaving the reception at midnight to retire to your hotel room. It is, after all, your wedding night. If you’re too tired for wedding night love making, then don’t worry about it. Unless, of course, it’s your first time, and having saved all that energy, desire and passion for wedding night will be quite a relief, we’d expect.

    Gift Opening Traditionally, around noon the next day, the bride and groom will re-appear and open presents. “A cutting board and salad mixer combo!” you’ll grin, with a great big, and likely less than real, smile. You’re in the home stretch now.

    Bon Voyage, You say your goodbyes, and if you’ve planned it all well, will be whisked away to the airport for the honeymoon of a lifetime.

    And that’s how this whirlwind wedding will go. Don’t be late!

    That’s an idea of what the day the groom has whether it be before the big day and also of course the big day.