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Most Brides Have This Question

  • 3 min read

One of the most asked wedding planning questions we receive is how do I build out my day-of timeline? We've put a lot of these timelines together over on the Wedding Planning Formula TikTok but today we wanted to share a specific example with you - an afternoon Catholic wedding (1:00 p.m.) with an evening reception (5:00 p.m.). Let's build out the timeline! 

Catholic Wedding Ceremony at St. Thomas Moore Catholic Church in Atlanta, GA

A lot of times with Catholic weddings, the ceremony is earlier in the day around 1:00 or 2:00 p.m. This can pose a challenge with the reception as brides don't want to have a 3:00 p.m. reception start so there will be a break in between the ceremony and reception. This can make for a really long wedding day! So, figuring out your day of timeline can be a little more challenging. 

Bride getting her hair and makeup done on her wedding day

The first place to start with your timeline is hair and makeup. For each girl getting hair and makeup done, you'll want to dedicate a one hour timeslot. As the bride, you'll want to dedicate an hour and a half to two hours and put yourself last in the lineup! If you've done your hair and makeup trial, then you'll have a better idea of exactly how much time you need for this part of the day.

Let's walk through our example:

Let's say just to be safe you give yourself an hour and a half to two hours. So, you will probably want to start around 7:30 a.m. so that you're done no later than 9:30 a.m. If additional girls are doing their hair and makeup, they'll have to start even earlier than this unless you have multiple hair and makeup artists!

Pink Sapphire Engagement Ring

You'll want your photographer to arrive by 9:00 a.m., so she can do those detail shots while you are finishing getting ready. Then she will be ready to take photos of you getting into your dress when you finish hair and makeup at 9:30 a.m. You can then leave for the church to arrive no later than 10:30 a.m.

I would then use the two hours before you have to line up for the ceremony to do as many photos without your husband as possible (this is assuming you are not doing a first look, if you are, then these would be included here too!). These could be family photos, bridal party photos, all that good stuff! Tuck yourself away around 12:15 p.m. and get some food in you, being as careful as you can since you're in your wedding dress!

You'll line up shortly before that 1:00 p.m. start time and get yourself hitched!

Bride and groom walking down aisle at Catholic wedding ceremony

Catholic ceremonies typically last an hour so you'll be done around 2:00 p.m. This is great because you will have plenty of time to do all those photos with your husband before your reception. You can do your church photos inside and outside, full bridal party photos, and family photos. You can also have some time to do photos at your reception space if you're going somewhere else but don't forget to incorporate travel time into that.

The break won't be too bad since you'll be using it for photos, and while it may seem stressful to think about what your guests will do, take it from us and don't worry! They will figure it out - they'll likely be happy for the downtime to grab a drink with friends they haven't seen in a while! 

So there you have it! Your Catholic Wedding day-of timeline from getting ready to reception starting! 

If you need help building out your specific day-of timeline, be sure to check out our Day-of timeline builder here!