Wedding Day Timeline 2pm Ceremony: How to Plan Your Afternoon Wedding

wedding day timeline 2pm ceremony

Weddings are constantly changing. There is no obligation to do things in a typical way. If you are currently planning your wedding, you are freer than ever to consider an itinerary that works best for you. After all, it is your special day. 

Hosting a 2 p.m. wedding gives you the flexibility to plan a day that best suits your vision for your big day. The afternoon timing means you can have a more casual post-ceremony celebration and wrap up before the night begins. Or you can go all out and host a big reception complete with an extensive guest list, a full course dinner, and lots of champagne. 

Whichever kind of itinerary you choose, it is important to create a wedding day timeline.

Our timeline templates will guide you in the process of intricately planning your wedding day. They will help you consider what works best for your big day and keep you organized. You can use the frameworks to incorporate all the key aspects of the day and then tweak the timelines to create your ideal version. 

It is imperative to share your finalized timeline with your key vendors: wedding planners, photographers, videographers, florists, and makeup artists. Once they have the detailed sequence, it’ll be easier for them to be punctual, and it’ll make it easier for you to relax and enjoy your special day. 

wedding day timeline 2pm ceremony followed by a casual reception

A wedding ceremony followed by a casual reception 

A 2 p.m. wedding doesn’t require you to host a post-ceremony dinner. The afternoon timing allows for you to lead into a more casual celebration with lots of hors d’oeuvres, cake, and champagne. 

You can enjoy the day with your guests, and by the time you wrap up the festivities, you will still have the whole evening ahead to unwind with your new spouse. Include a few lawn games or an acoustic guitarist to create a relaxed vibe.

Pro-tip: remember to clearly inform guests that you are hosting a cocktail or cake and champagne reception so that they can make their own post-celebration dinner plans. If you intend to keep it more relaxed, mention the more casual dress code too. 

wedding day 2pm timeline with a cocktail reception

2pm wedding timeline with a cocktail reception 

Our timeline template for a 2 p.m. wedding followed by a cocktail reception will help you in planning your celebrations. 

  • 9 a.m. — Bride and bridal party arrive for hair and makeup
  • 10 a.m. — Photographer arrives for candid photos of the bridal party
  • 10 a.m. — Groom and groomsmen get ready
  • 11:15 a.m. — The photographer gets candid shots of the groom and groomsmen
  • 11:15 a.m. — Bride puts on the wedding dress
  • 11:15 a.m. — Bridal bouquet delivery 
  • 11:30 a.m. — First look with the bride’s father (or other family members)
  • 11:30 a.m. — Groom heads to first look location to await his bride
  • 11:40 a.m. — Bride heads to the first look location
  • 11:45 a.m. — Bride and groom get their first look and take photos
  • 12:30 p.m. — Wedding party photos
  • 1 p.m. — Family photos
  • 1:30 p.m. — Bride touches up hair and makeup
  • 1:30 p.m. — Photographer takes pictures of venue and guests arriving
  • 2 p.m. — Ceremony begins 
  • 2:30 p.m. — Hugs and congratulations after the ceremony (formal reception line, if you choose to have one).
  • 3 p.m. — Bride touches up and bustles dress with help from her mother or the maid of honor
  • 3 p.m. — Reception begins. Cocktails/ champagne and hors d’oeuvres are served 
  • 3:05 p.m. — The wedding party makes an entrance 
  • 3:10 p.m. — Bride and groom make an entrance 
  • 3:15 p.m. — Toasts and/or speeches
  • 3:30 p.m. — Cake cutting and serve dessert
  • 3:35 p.m. — Couple’s first dance 
  • 3:40 p.m. — Parent’s dance 
  • 3:45 p.m. — The dance floor opens to guests and/or guests play games 
  • 5:15 p.m. — Bridal couple leave (the send-off)
  • 5:30 p.m. — Guests begin to leave
  • 6:30 p.m. — Vendors finish packing up and leave
wedding day timeline 2pm ceremony followed by a formal reception

A wedding ceremony followed by a formal reception 

A 2 p.m. wedding is particularly perfect for couples who want an intimate wedding and a larger reception. The extra time between your wedding ceremony and the rest of the evening will allow you to keep your wedding small and invite your extensive guest list for the latter part of the evening, starting at 7 p.m. 

Be sure to serve supper later at night. The food will be a nice gesture for the guests who are invited post your wedding dinner, and everyone who ate dinner earlier will also appreciate it. 

You can keep the food light by serving two to three hor d’ oeuvres or setting up a few live stations. 

Pro-tip: Be clear with your guests about your plans. For those who you invite after dinner, you can send an invite that states “join us for celebrations and drinks.” 

wedding day 2pm timelinr with a dinner reception

2pm wedding timeline with a dinner reception 

Check out our timeline for a 2 p.m. ceremony followed by an evening of dining and dancing. The itinerary will help you smoothly transition from day to night. 

  • 10 a.m. — Bride and bridal party arrive for hair and makeup
  • 10:30 a.m. — Photographer arrives for candid photos of the bridal party
  • 11 a.m. — Groom and groomsmen get ready
  • 11:30 a.m. — The photographer gets candid shots of the groom and groomsmen
  • 12 p.m. — Bride puts on the wedding dress
  • 12 p.m. — Bouquet delivered to the bride 
  • 12 p.m. — Groom and groomsmen take photos
  • 12:15 p.m. —First look with father (or other family members)
  • 12:30 p.m. — Bride and bridal party official photos (bride and groom to avoid seeing each other)
  • 12:45 p.m. — Bride and family photos
  • 1:15 p.m. — Groom and family photos (bride and groom to avoid seeing each other)
  • 1:30 p.m. — Bride and bridal party freshen up hair and makeup
  • 1:30 p.m. — Photographer takes pictures of venue and guests arriving
  • 2 p.m. — Ceremony begins
  • 2:30 p.m. — Hugs and congratulations after the ceremony (formal reception line, if you choose to have one).
  • 3 p.m. — Cocktail and hors d’oeuvres to be served to guests 
  • 3 p.m. — Couple takes photos 
  • 3:30 p.m. — Wedding party and family photos
  • 4:15 p.m. — Bride touches up and bustles dress with help from mother or maid of honor
  • 4:30 p.m. — Reception starts, and guests find their seats 
  • 4:35 p.m. — Wedding party makes their entrance 
  • 4:40 p.m. — Bride and groom make a grand entrance
  • 4:45 p.m. —Welcome speech
  • 5:00 p.m. — Dinner is served 
  • 6:00 p.m. —Toasts and/or speeches 
  • 6:15 p.m. — Couple leaves for golden hour photos (depending on the exact sunset time) 
  • 7:30 p.m. — Evening guests begin to arrive 
  • 8:00 p.m. — Cut the cake and serve dessert
  • 8:30 p.m. — First Dance 
  • 8:40 p.m. — Parent dances
  • 8:50 p.m. — The dance floor opens to guests
  • 9:00 p.m. — Supper is served 
  • 11:00 p.m. — Last call for drinks
  • 11:30 p.m. — Bridal couple leave (special send-off).
  • 11:45 p.m. — Guests start to leave
  • 12:45 p.m. — Vendors finish packing up and leave