A lot of couples tend to focus on wedding reception planning. Like, what will the centerpieces be and what time is the cake cutting happening. Let’s take a step back and remember what this day is actually all about. It’s about two people deciding to spend the rest of their lives together and making that decision official. THEN comes the celebrating at the reception! But before the celebrating happens, the ceremony has to happen first! Don’t let the ceremony planning take a back seat, make sure you’ve thought about timing and program, traditions to include and décor to consider.


Timeline and Program

When deciding what time to start your ceremony there are a few things to consider. First, consider timing of sunset, especially if you are having an outdoor ceremony. If your reception is at a different venue, think about how long it will take to travel between the two locations and what time the reception will start. Also, consider what you are including in your ceremony and how long you intend for the whole thing to be. 


To help get you started, here is what an average wedding ceremony program looks like:

5:00                 Processional

5:05                 Opening Remarks

5:10                 Readings

5:15                 Exchange of Vows and Rings

5:20                 Closing Remarks

5:25                 Pronouncement and Kiss

5:30                 Recessional




If you plan to personalize your ceremony in anyway with a unity candle ceremony or a rose presentation, don’t forget to add that into your order of events. Also, if you are having a religious ceremony, consider the traditions you will incorporate like a hymn and communion, or the seven blessings and breaking of the glass, and when they will fall in the program. 



One you’ve decided on the venue for your reception, you can plan out the décor. If you are using a place of worship, décor will most likely be much simpler because there will be more restrictions. If you are using an alternative venue, here are some questions to think about.

  • Is there an arbor at the venue? If so, do you need flowers or draping to dress it up? If not, do you want to rent an arbor?
  • What kind of seating is there for guests? Do you want to upgrade the chairs or rent decorative pews?
  • Do you want aisle markers? Will they hang off the chairs, sit on the floor or do you need to rent shepherds hooks?
  • Will you have any sort of welcome display of flowers or lanterns? What about an entrance table for programs?


Connect to local venues for your ceremony by clicking HERE.


Photo Credit: Connection Photography