Wedding Day Timeline 3PM Ceremony Guide

Last Updated on August 3, 2022

Planning a wedding can be a daunting task, but with a little help, it can be something you’ll look back on and cherish forever.

A late afternoon ceremony will give you the opportunity to take advantage of the beautiful natural lighting that late afternoon affords. If you’re having an outdoor ceremony, this is the perfect time to schedule it.

This post outlines a timeline for a 3pm ceremony. Of course, every wedding is different, so feel free to adjust this timeline to fit your own wedding day needs.

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Wedding Day Timeline 3PM Ceremony

Whether you’re getting married in a church or outside under the trees, a 3 p.m. ceremony is a beautiful way to start your evening off right. Here are some tips to ensure that your late afternoon nuptials go off without a hitch!

Pre-Wedding Ceremony

10am-1pm: The wedding party should arrive at the venue early to begin hair and makeup.

2pm: It’s time for the bride to put on her dress!

2:30pm: Take some pre-ceremony photos with your wedding party and immediate family.

Schedule Of Wedding Ceremony

3pm: Your guests will begin to arrive.

3:15pm: The groom and his groomsmen will line up at the altar.

3:20pm: The bride will make her grand entrance!

3:30pm: The ceremony will begin.

4pm-5pm: Cocktail hour! This is a great time for your guests to mingle and mix while enjoying some light refreshments.

5pm: The reception will begin.

7pm: The first dance! This is a special moment for the newlyweds, so make sure to choose a song that is significant to you both.

8pm: The cake cutting! A wedding wouldn’t be complete without a delicious cake, so make sure to save room for dessert. Then, dinner will be served.  

9pm: The fun doesn’t stop here! The dancing and partying will continue late into the night. Make sure to have plenty of energy for this part of the evening by taking a few breaks throughout the night to rest your feet and drink some water.

Who Controls the Wedding Timetable?

The wedding planner should control the wedding timeline on the day of, but it is always a good idea for the bride and groom to have a copy as well. This way, if anything comes up or there are any changes, everyone will be on the same page.

It is also a good idea to assign someone in the wedding party to be in charge of making sure that everything runs according to schedule. This will help to ensure that your day goes off without a hitch!

Is 3 Hours Too Short for a Wedding?

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A 3-hour wedding timeline may seem short, but it is actually the perfect amount of time for a ceremony and reception. This timeline allows you to enjoy your cocktail hour and still have plenty of time for dinner and dancing.

Of course, every wedding is different, so feel free to adjust this timeline to fit your own needs.

How Long Is a Gap Between Ceremony and Reception?

The gap between your ceremony and reception should be about 1-2 hours. This will give you time to take photos with your wedding party and immediate family, as well as enjoy some time alone with your new spouse.

It is also a good idea to have a cocktail hour so that your guests can mingle and mix while they wait for the reception to begin.

What Happens If the Ceremony Runs Late?

If your ceremony runs late, it is not the end of the world! Simply adjust your timeline accordingly and make sure that your guests are aware of the change.

It is also a good idea to have a backup plan in case your ceremony does run late. For example, you can have your cocktail hour at the reception site so that your guests can enjoy some refreshments while they wait for the reception to begin.

How Long Should an Afternoon Wedding Reception Last?

An afternoon wedding reception should last about 3-4 hours. This timeline allows you to enjoy your cocktail hour, dinner, and dancing without feeling rushed.

Which Is Much Better? A Morning Or Afternoon Ceremony?

While both morning and afternoon ceremonies have their own unique charm, an afternoon ceremony is often the better choice. This is because it allows you to enjoy a leisurely morning and getting ready for your big day.

It also means that your guests will have the entire day free to attend your wedding.

What Is the Best Time for a Sunset Wedding?

The best time for a sunset wedding is about an hour before the sun goes down. This will give you plenty of time to take beautiful photos with the stunning backdrop of the setting sun.

It is also a good idea to have your cocktail hour at this time so that your guests can enjoy the view while they wait for the reception to begin.