Micro Wedding Timeline: 3 Fun Ways to Plan the Ideal Intimate Ceremony

micro wedding timeline

Planning a wedding can be overwhelming. It is time-consuming and often a huge expense. Many couples are left with sleepless nights, wondering if it’s worth it. Some might even joke about eloping instead. 

But if you’re on the onset of planning your big day and are alarmed over the exorbitant cost of things and the extensive guest list, we have an alternate suggestion for you: micro weddings. 

A micro wedding is an intimate affair, typically with less than 50 guests. They can include time-honored wedding traditions but with fewer guests. 

The Covid-19 global pandemic has given rise to the concept of these intimate weddings. The restrictions and limits on gathering sizes have not only brought small weddings to everyone’s attention, but they’ve also made them trendy.

If the idea of an intimate affair has gotten you excited, but you don’t know how to plan one, our guide will help you. Our micro-wedding timeline templates and tips will make wedding planning much easier for you. 

micro wedding timeline how to create a timeline for a micro wedding 1

How to create a timeline for a micro-wedding

While micro weddings offer a more relaxed and intimate feel, it is still essential to craft a wedding day timeline. This will ensure guests don’t feel like they’re attending just another party. It is, after all, a special day. 

If you have a detailed sequence, it will also help you maintain the momentum of your celebrations and avoid lulls. 

Like any timeline, take the most important key events and then build your timeline around those. Be sure to leave some leeway and then relax and go with the flow. 

Our timeline templates will provide you with frameworks to plan your version for your special day. 

micro wedding timeline with a reception

Micro wedding timeline with a reception 

A micro wedding may be smaller in group size, but you can still include all the time-honored wedding traditions. 

This timeline will help you plan your micro-wedding ceremony, followed by a dinner reception and dancing with your nearest and dearest. 

  • 1 p.m. — Planner and florist arrive for setup 
  • 2 p.m. — Bride and bridal party arrive for hair and make-up
  • 3 p.m. — Photographer arrives for candid photos of the bridal party
  • 3 p.m. — Groom and groomsmen get ready
  • 3:30 p.m. — The photographer gets candid shots of the groom and groomsmen
  • 4 p.m. — Bride puts on the wedding dress
  • 4 p.m. — Bouquet delivered to the bride 
  • 4 p.m. — Groom and groomsmen take photos
  • 4:15 p.m. — First look with father (or other family members)
  • 4:30 p.m. — Bride and bridal party official photos (bride and groom to avoid seeing each other)
  • 4:30 p.m. — Catering and bar set up for dinner 
  • 4:45 p.m. — Bride and family photos
  • 5:15 p.m. — Groom and family photos (bride and groom to avoid seeing each other)
  • 5:15 p.m. — Bride and bridal party rest/ freshen up hair and make-up
  • 5:30 p.m. — Photographer takes pictures of venue and guests arriving
  • 6 p.m. — Ceremony begins
  • 6:30 p.m. — Hugs, congratulations, and candid photos 
  • 6:45 p.m. — Cocktail hour and hors d’oeuvres to be served to guests (music to begin, band or acoustic musician can be used). 
  • 6:45 p.m. — Wedding party photos 
  • 7 p.m. — Immediate and extended family photos 
  • 7:15 p.m. — Couple takes sunset photos 
  • 7:40 p.m. — Bride bustles dress with help from mother or maid of honor
  • 7:45 p.m. — The Reception begins. The couple is announced and makes an entrance 
  • 7:50 p.m. — First dance 
  • 7:55 p.m. — Couple’s speech 
  • 8 p.m. — Dinner is served 
  • 8:30 p.m. — Toasts and/or speeches 
  • 8:45 p.m. — Cut the cake and serve dessert
  • 9:00 p.m. — Parent dances 
  • 9:05 p.m. — Dance floor opens 
  • 9:45 p.m. — Bridal couple leave (special send-off).
  • 10:00 p.m. — Guests start to leave
  • 11:00 p.m. — Vendors finish packing up and leave
micro wedding timeline with a leisure activity and a cerebration

Micro wedding timeline with a leisure activity and a celebration 

Hosting an intimate wedding gives you complete flexibility to stray away from the traditional timeline. Because you have a smaller group size, you can get creative and incorporate a memorable leisure activity.

Pro-tip: You can include karaoke, bowling, or even organize a sunrise hike if you have a destination wedding. A group activity will encourage everyone to bond in a way that is only possible in a micro wedding. 

  • 6:30 a.m. — Sunrise hike and photos (optional for a destination wedding) 
  • 10:00 a.m. — Group yoga and breakfast for bride’s maids (optional)
  • 12 p.m. — Planner and florist arrive for setup 
  • 1 p.m. — Bride and bridal party hair and make-up
  • 1:30 p.m. — Photographer arrives for candid photos of the bridal party
  • 2 p.m. — Groom and groomsmen get ready
  • 2:30 p.m. — The photographer gets candid shots of the groom and groomsmen
  • 3 p.m. — Bride puts on the wedding dress
  • 3 p.m. — Bouquet delivered to the bride 
  • 3 p.m. — Groom and groomsmen take photos
  • 3:15 p.m. — First look with father (or other family members)
  • 3:30 p.m. — Bride and bridal party official photos (bride and groom to avoid seeing each other)
  • 3:30 p.m. — Catering and bar set up for dinner 
  • 3:45 p.m. — Bride and family photos
  • 4:15 p.m. — Groom and family photos (bride and groom to avoid seeing each other)
  • 4:15 p.m. — Bride and bridal party rest/ freshen up hair and make-up
  • 4:30 p.m. — Photographer takes pictures of venue and guests arriving
  • 5 p.m. — Ceremony begins
  • 5:30 p.m. — Hugs, congratulations, and candid photos 
  • 5:45 p.m. — Cocktail hour and hors d’oeuvres to be served to guests 
  • 5:45 p.m. — Wedding party photos 
  • 6 p.m. — Immediate and extended family photos 
  • 6:15 p.m. — Couple takes sunset photos 
  • 6:40 p.m. — Bride bustles dress with help from mother or maid of honor
  • 6:45 p.m. — The reception begins. The couple is announced and makes an entrance 
  • 6:50 p.m. — First dance 
  • 6:55 p.m. — Couple’s speech 
  • 7 p.m. — Dinner is served 
  • 7:30 p.m. — Toasts and/or speeches 
  • 7:45 p.m. — Cut the cake and serve dessert
  • 8:00 p.m. — Group karaoke / bowling/ games (optional) 
  • 9:00 p.m. — Bridal couple leave (special send-off).
  • 9:15 p.m. — Guests start to leave
  • 10:00 p.m. — Vendors finish packing up and leave
micro wedding timeline with a reception in a different location

Micro wedding timeline with a reception in a different location 

A smaller group size means you can explore intimate venues. Maybe you want to have the wedding in your backyard followed by a reception in the private dining room of your favorite restaurant. Or perhaps you want to be unique and host your post-ceremony celebration in a small but swanky art gallery. 

Either way, if you plan to move from your ceremony venue to a different reception venue, you will need to consider the logistics and the travel time. 

Pro-tip: Choose a venue no more than 20 to 30 minutes away to ensure it is convenient for you and your guests. Since you have an intimate group, try to organize transport for everyone, making it a seamless commute between both venues. 

This timeline, with a first look, will help you plan your special day if you want to move from your wedding venue to a separate reception venue. 

  • 11 a.m. — Planner and florist arrive for setup 
  • 12 p.m. — Bride and bridal party arrive for hair and make-up
  • 12:30 p.m. — The photographer arrives for candid photos of the bridal party
  • 1 p.m. — Groom and groomsmen get ready
  • 1:30 p.m. — The photographer gets candid shots of the groom and groomsmen
  • 2 p.m. — Bride puts on the wedding dress
  • 2 p.m. — Bridal bouquet delivery 
  • 2:15 p.m. — First look with the bride’s father (or other family members)
  • 2:30 p.m. — Groom heads to first look location to await his bride
  • 2:40 p.m. — Bride heads to the first look location
  • 2:45 p.m. — Bride and groom first look and photos
  • 3:30 p.m. — Wedding party photos
  • 4 p.m. — Family photos
  • 4:30 p.m. — Bride touches up hair and make-up
  • 4:30 p.m. — Photographer takes pictures of venue and guests arriving
  • 5 p.m. — Ceremony begins
  • 5:30 p.m. — Hugs, congratulations, and candid photos 
  • 5:55 p.m. — Bride bustles dress with help from maid of honor 
  • 6 p.m. — Guests begin leaving for the reception venue 
  • 6:15 p.m. — Couple enjoy a few moments together and then leave for the reception venue (alternatively, they can go with everyone) 
  • 6:30 p.m. — Cocktail hour starts at the reception venue. Hor d’oeuvres to be served 
  • 6:45 p.m. — Couple reaches the reception venue and makes an entrance. Cocktail hour resumes and guests mingle
  • 7:25 p.m. — Couple’s speech 
  • 7:30 p.m. — Dinner is served
  • 8:00 p.m. — Toasts and/or speeches
  • 8:15 p.m. — Cut the cake and serve dessert
  • 8:30 p.m. — First dance (optional, depending on the venue. If you’ve chosen a more relaxed feel and a venue with no dancing space, you can use the time to drink and mingle with your family and friends) 
  • 8:35 p.m. — Parent dances (optional, depending on venue)
  • 8:40 p.m. — The dance floor opens to guests (optional, depending on venue)
  • 10:00 p.m. — Bridal couple leave (special send-off).
  • 10:15 p.m. — Guests start to leave
  • 11:15 p.m. — Vendors finish packing up and leave
micro wedding timeline additional advice

Additional Advice: 

While a micro-wedding is more intimate and relaxed, it still requires thoughtful planning. Follow this additional advice to make the day extra memorable. 

  • Focus on the meaningful touches: a smaller group size allows you to focus on little gestures that you may not be able to in a larger wedding. One way to make guests feel special is to place handwritten thank you notes on everyone’s seats. It is much easier to make these little gestures for 10 people instead of 100. 
  • Be sure to hire a photographer: You can do without a decor production team or a DJ but make sure you have a professional to capture all your valuable moments with your closest loved ones. 
  • Cover the basics: alcohol, food, and entertainment. These are key to any celebrations, so make sure you have these three. The rest are additional frills. A live band or an acoustic musician can be an excellent alternative to a DJ if you envision something more relaxed.