Timeline for a Traditional Church Wedding Day

Traditional Church Wedding-Day Timeline from WeddingLDS.com
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When the Big Day finally arrives, you want everything to happen perfectly, without a hitch! While small hiccups will inevitably come up, you can dramatically increase the odds of your church wedding going smoothly if you take the time to plan out exactly how you want your big day to unfold. That means drawing up a detailed schedule for what should take place when and making sure everyone has a copy and knows his or her responsibilities. An important part of traditional non-temple weddings is the wedding rehearsal. These are traditionally held the evening before the wedding itself and the rehearsal precedes a dinner. You should invite the wedding party, officiant, parents and significant family members, musicians, and any assistants or wedding coordinators.

Standard rehearsal schedule for a traditional non-temple wedding:

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Timeline for a rehersal dinner from WeddingLDS.com

Timeline for a rehersal dinner
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5:15 Arrive at the ceremony location. Encourage ladies to wear the shoes they’ll be wearing the wedding so they can get accurate timing.

5:30 Greet your guests. Introduce everyone to the officiant and wedding coordinator and explain that they’ll be running the show on the big day. You might consider providing the wedding coordinator with a page containing names and pictures of all the significant members of the wedding party. Unless he or she is very familiar with both sides of the family, they’ll work better if they can identify everyone without having to ask. This would be an appropriate time to have an opening prayer.

• Let the officiant or coordinator explain the wedding program, and begin a run through. During the run through, you’ll practice walking the aisle in order and going through the entire wedding program, skipping over exact sermons, vows, and special musical numbers. Unless the wedding is very complicated, you should be able to run through the program 2-3 times in 45 minutes. During this time, you may have assistants/vendors decorating the chapel or working on the reception site.

beautiful wedding venue
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6:30 Bring everyone together to review the schedule for the next day. Thank them all for their time and make sure they have all the information they need for the wedding.

7:00 Begin the dinner. This may be at a nearby restaurant, at a family home, or catered to the rehearsal site. Traditionally, the groom’s family coordinates and pays for the dinner. Family members may give speeches or tell stories, or just spend the time getting to know each other. The wedding day itself will be very busy and you’ll have obligations to your guests, so the dinner is a good time to give your bridesmaids and family members special attention and thanks for all their support.

8:30 End dinner. Walk through the church one more time to make sure everything is ready for the morning. If flowers are being delivered the next morning, ensure that the church will be opened and someone waiting to meet the deliveryman.

• You may want to bring your wedding gown, accessories, hair supplies, and get-away-bag to the wedding venue when you come for the rehearsal dinner, and encourage your bridesmaids to do the same. Most churches or ceremony locations provide a room for bridal prep – so you can store them there and have one less thing to worry about in the morning.

Standard schedule for a traditional non-temple wedding:

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Timeline for a traditional church wedding from WeddingLDS.com

A bride gets ready at the correct time by using the traditional wedding day timeline
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4 hours before the wedding ceremony

11:00 Bathe or shower, wash face, moisturize, etc. If wearing hair up, wash hair the night before (day-old hair holds an updo better than squeaky-clean hair). Put on underclothes and a robe.

11:30 Eat something! Have someone (preferably a guy with few responsibilities & low prep time) assigned to make lunch for the ladies (who have to take extra time for their hair and makeup in addition to getting dressed). Or consider making a casserole in advance that can be baked and served with little effort.

11:50 Change into your “traveling dress” and wear a robe over it (so you won’t disturb your hair and makeup or get lipstick on your clothes).

beautiful wedding venue
Photo Courtesy of Ravenberg Photography

3 hours before the wedding ceremony

12:00 Begin hair and makeup. If you are traveling to a salon or to the ceremony location to get ready, account for travel time. If you are doing your hair and make up yourself, give yourself a few minutes of wiggle room.

12:15 While you’re in hair and makeup, have someone make the reminder phone calls.

• Have someone assigned to gathering and double-checking your wedding gown and supplies. Have them place all of your clothes and accessories in the right vehicle. This will prevent leaving anything behind in a mad dash while running out the door.

• Have someone else assigned to call essential members of the wedding party (maid of honor/best man, witnesses, etc) who are staying elsewhere to make sure everyone is awake and running on schedule.

• If you are having the flowers delivered to the church, have someone call the florist to verify they will be delivered on time. If you are sending someone to pick them up, call them now to verify that they remember and are on schedule. Remember, they’ll need a cool vehicle to keep the flowers safe and fresh.

A traditional church wedding
Photo Courtesy of Ravenberg Photography

• Also, call whomever is responsible for the marriage license and verify that they have it and will remember to bring it with them. This is one of the most common items that couples forget to bring with them.

2 hours before the wedding ceremony

1:00 Musicians, photographer, and officiant arrive.1:00 Any decoration at the ceremony site not already completed should begin by now.

1:00 If you’re getting ready elsewhere, arrive at the church now.

90 minutes before the wedding ceremony

1:30 Check in with the wedding coordinator (or whomever is running the show so you don’t have to). Verify that s/he has everything s/he needs. Start distributing boutonnières and corsages to groomsmen, ushers, and parents of the wedding couple. Wait to hand out bouquets until just before the ceremony; they’re more delicate and more likely to get damaged.

1 hour before the wedding ceremony

2:00 Ushers should be in place and ready to greet guests.

2:00 Before getting into your gown, take a few minutes to eat a snack and drink something. Use the bathroom. Take a few minutes for yourself right now. If you need some quiet, sit alone in a room for a few minutes. If you want to have a special conversation with your parents or other family members, do that now. Be sure you take some time for yourself!

A traditional church wedding
Photo Courtesy of Wasatch Studios

2:15 Bride gets into wedding gown, touch up hair and makeup as needed

2:45 Distribute bouquets.

2:55 Line up for the processional

3:00 Processional begins. After wedding ceremony, you’ll likely have photos at the ceremony site and then, depending on the time of day, perhaps a wedding luncheon to attend before your reception. Any of these times can be adjusted to fit your special circumstances!

Do whatever makes your day truly yours!

Congratulations! You made it through your Big Day!

♥ Emily H. Geddes
Exclusively for WeddingLDS.com
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