The traditional running order of a wedding day

Regardless of whether you’re opting for a weekend or weekday wedding, a unique or classic theme, or a small or large guest list, there is a traditional running order to weddings. This is to ensure you get married and enjoy all the perks of a great wedding day. Getting your scheduling right is an important part of wedding planning prep. It’s the secret to a stress-free wedding day.

Wedding running order

Fitting everything into your wedding day and celebrating in style isn’t easy. There are a number of ways to timeline your wedding, whether it’s an early start or an afternoon ceremony with a reception afterwards. Knowing the traditional running order of a wedding day will give you an idea of what to include and when, that way you can make every second of your big day count.


Your wedding ceremony will have its own running order, which will differ depending on the type of ceremony you have. It’s the first part of your special day, and arguably the most important. Full orders of service will be discussed in advance.

Formal photos

There are several scenes that most couples like to have captured for the wedding albums. The bulk of formal photographs are usually taken post ceremony and pre-reception. The perfect time to get everyone else involved is after the ceremony, taking group shots you need before the guests disperse and explore the rest of the wedding venue. Once these group shots are captured, more intimate formal shots of the newlyweds will be taken. In the meantime, your guests can entertain themselves at the bar!

Drinks reception

Informal and more formal drinks receptions are great ways to get guests mingling post ceremony. A drinks reception will also keep everyone occupied while the bride and groom get formal photographs taken inside and outside the venue.

Wedding drinks

Dinner and speeches

Known as the wedding breakfast, your first meal as a married couple is one of the focal points of the entire day. The question of whether to do the speeches before or after dinner is one of the topics mentioned on wedding forums time and time again. Some couples are now finding a middle ground, as Boho Weddings describes:

“The main question used to be if the speeches were going to be before or after the meal. Putting them before meant that the people giving the speeches were able to carry them out and then relax and enjoy the wedding breakfast, have a drink and really get into the proceedings of the wedding. Whereas having them after (the more traditional approach) rounded off the meal and gave the guests something to look forward to. However now there is a new option, having the speeches split up in between courses.”

Currently planning your running order and wondering where to place your wedding speeches? Find out more about the dos and don’ts of wedding speeches right here.

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