Wedding Order of Events Template
No matter what kind of wedding you have planned, the order of events can follow this basic guide. Our wedding order of events template covers everything you need to know, including the ceremony entrance, the ceremony events, the ceremony exit, the reception entrance, and the reception activities.
Use this wedding order of events template as a guide for your big day:
You can eliminate or move things around as needed. But, for the most part, this master list should do the trick! Use it to plan your day-of agenda, give your wedding party their call times, and schedule vendors and salon appointments at the right time.
Order of events at a wedding ceremony
Ceremony entrance and procession
Why is the order important? In addition to keeping things organized and on track, it’s symbolic. Each entrance, activity, and exit build towards the introduction of you and your spouse as a united couple. Here’s how to plan it:
Before the ceremony officially begins, have your officiant or religious leader stand at the altar. If you plan to have a live singer, band or DJ, have them set up ahead of time as well.
Have the groom and their best man/woman enter from the right side of the aisleway.
Next, have your bridesmaids and groomsmen walk in pairs in reverse order from where they will stand relative to the altar. If anyone is carrying flowers, make sure they hold them at waist level. It will look better in photos.
Then, the maid/matron of honor will walk without an escort.
Afterward, the ring bearer makes their way down the aisle.
They are followed by the flower girl/boy. Or, if you prefer, the ring bearer and flower girl/boy can walk together. Small children may want to hold hands or be accompanied by an adult.
On cue, the music should pick up or begin as the bride walks down the aisle, escorted by their parents on either arm. The guests will stand upon the bride’s entrance and wait until the ceremony officially begins to be seated.
Depending on your religion, you may want to add or subtract some of these agenda items. But here’s what you should at least consider doing, as well as what order everything should happen in.
Once the bride has arrived and is settled at the altar, the officiant can welcome the guests, thank them for attending, and give them permission to take a seat.
After everyone is sitting down, the officiant can say a few optional words about the couple as well as their own personal relationship with them. This speech should serve as the story of the couple (which might be brought up again as we move into the next portion).
Next, the officiant will perform any chosen scriptures, songs, or readings. The materials chosen for this step should reflect the values the couple holds, religious or otherwise, and highlight what this couple’s union can teach us all about love and family. The officiant can choose to close out this section by calling back to a theme present in the story of the couple that relates to the readings.
Afterward, it’s time for the vows. The officiant can use religious or traditional vows. Or, you as a couple can present your personal vows to one another. Usually, the groom goes first and the bride follows after. If you’re also using religious quotes or ceremonials vows, those should go at the end.
Then, the wedding rings are exchanged. At most weddings, the groom will also go first during this part but you can do whatever you prefer.
Next, the officiant will ask the couple if they take one another to be lawfully wed. They both say “I Do” and the officiant invites them to kiss as their guests cheer, clap, and cry.
Afterward, the wedding party exits the altar.
Now it’s time to leave! Here’s how to prevent a stampede (and take some great exit photos while you’re at it). The good news is that it’s exactly what you just did, but backward.
The newlyweds exit down the aisle (don’t forget the bouquet, if you came in with one) and go to their designated waiting area.
They are followed by the ring bearer and flower girl/boy.
Then comes the maid/matron of honor, escorted by the best man/woman.
Next is the wedding party, in the opposite order in which they entered and paired with the same person.
Then the parents of the bride and groom exit.
Afterward, the grandparents leave.
Finally, the wedding guests are invited to stand and make their way outside.
And, if you choose to use this photo opportunity, have your bridal party form a tunnel from which you and your partner can exit. Use props like bubbles, sparklers, confetti, or birdseed to complete the photo.
Now it’s time to party!
Order of events at a wedding reception
First, your guests will arrive and enjoy appetizers and/or cocktails while you and your wedding party take photos.
Next, your wedding DJ or band will announce the entrances of all the following wedding party members, in this order:
The parents of the newlyweds
The bridesmaids and groomsmen (who have the option to perform funny dances if they so choose)
The ring bearer and flower girl/boy
The best man/woman
The maid/matron of honor
And finally, the happy couple
Once everyone has officially entered, the wedding party will take their seats at the head tables and the rest of the reception can begin.
Depending on how long your guests had to wait (and whether or not they got appetizers during that time), you’ll want to prioritize serving your meals or buffet first.
Then, once everyone has had a chance to get their food and eat, the toasts will begin. The order of the toasts depends on who is giving them. Usually, the best man/woman will start, followed by the maid/matron of honor, then any other invited speakers. And finally, the parents of the couple may speak.
Afterward, it’s time for the first dance. Have the DJ or announcer introduce you both to the stage.
Once that song is over, the DJ or announcer will invite the rest of your wedding guests to dance.
Next, you’ll want to do the bouquet toss, money dance, and/or garter toss, in whatever order you prefer.
When the dancing starts to wind down, it’s time to cut the cake and serve dessert.
Afterward, keep the party going!
Use this wedding order of events template to help with your wedding day game plan!
As you continue to plan out the details of your ceremony and reception, you should also check out these unique rehearsal dinner ideas.