Example day-of schedule for an early morning wedding

Guest post by Melissa

Considering a morning wedding, but baffled as to how the day would actually flow? Let's hear from a bride who got married at 10am…

Photos by Kendall Pavan Photography
Photos by Kendall Pavan Photography

Our ceremony started at 10am on a Sunday morning, with brunch at 11am… and then we had the venue until 3pm. We chose brunch because breakfast is the meal we go out for the most. We didn't have dancing, or tossing of garters, or flowers — and we bought a ton of board games for centerpieces. But we did hire a day-of coordinator that I found at the Denver Lovesick Expo, which worked out really well for us.

brunch wedding schedule

Here is a rough outline of our wedding day schedule:

  • 5am–9:30am: Get ready
  • 9:30: First look photos
  • 10:00: Ceremony
  • 10:30–11:30: Family and wedding party photos while guests started “cocktail” hour — smoothies and waffle appetizers
  • 11:30: Brunch reception begins
  • 12:30: Toasts
  • 1:00: Cake cutting
  • 2:00: Bride and groom photos

That was really about it!

early morning wedding schedule

Our venue was the Denver Botanic Gardens, and there was a Chihuly glass exhibit going on, so a lot of our guests floated in and out of the reception to go look at the sculptures and enjoy the garden. We were scheduled to have the reception go until 3pm, but we had pretty much wrapped up the party by 2pm.

Anyone else want to share their wedding day schedule? Let's crowdsource!

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Comments on Example day-of schedule for an early morning wedding

    • Thank you! They were delicious! We also had scrambled eggs that were served in martini glasses with various toppings. My food was amazing!

  1. Love it! I, too, am having a brunch wedding. Our ceremony is later–10:30am–but our photographer has recommended we do an earlier first look to take advantage of the best light, around 8:45am. So our schedule looks kind of like this:

    8:45 – first look, followed by immediate family/wedding party photos
    10:30 – ceremony (about 15-20 min)
    11:00-12:00 – ‘espresso’ hour (coffee/tea/cocoa/juice, French toast/sausage bites/mini bagels/fruit) and extended family portraits
    12:00-1:30 – brunch (action station style) and toasts
    1:30-3:30 – reception (mingling, background music, Family Feud, and a dance lesson)
    7:30pm – bowling party with whoever is still in town

    Question for brides who have been there: how much time did it really take to get ready? I’m sort of reluctant to get up at 5am because I don’t think I’ll actually need almost four hours, and I’d rather look well-rested! What am I missing? Thanks!

    • This is “everyone” getting ready. is the same hairdresser/makeup artist doing everyone?
      Are you having photos before your first look?
      Are there last minute set up details to do?
      Allow for unexpected detours to the venue.

    • as a photog, Ive been to tons of weddings and the getting ready part goes by a lot quicker than you think it will… I usually advise a minimum of 1 hour if you are getting ready with anyone besides yourself (bridesmaids!) b/c everyone will be in a good mood and talking and not paying attention to the clock – you have to do hair, makeup, get dress steamed, get dressed, get all the details, get your flowers, etc….. if its just you getting ready, then an hour should be more than enough time…. but do know that the getting ready part goes by super quick!

    • Honestly, I wished that I had more time to get ready. My MOH, flower girl & I had stayed in a hotel the night before and we were all too excited to sleep. I was awake by 5am and ended up getting in the shower early. The morning got completely away from us, we had planned for First Look photos at 9am but I didnt arrive to the venue until that time and still needed to put on my dress.

  2. Melissa, who was your day of coordinator? I still need one in the Denver area for September.

  3. As a photographer, this is the schedule I usually ask for with my brides
    6:30 – 7:30 getting ready
    7:30 – 8:30 first look, bride and groom pics
    8:30 – 9:00 wedding party pics
    9:00 – 9:30 family pics
    9:30 – 10:00 guests arrive (all wedding party getting ready and out of the wedding location so guests cant hold you up)
    10:00- 10:30 wedding
    10:30 – until reception (just enjoy yourselves for the rest of the day and have fun!)

  4. Thank you to you and to those who posted suggestions. While re-evaluating wedding ideas until we finally set a (for realz, this time we mean it) date, I’ve considered a morning wedding after a holiday so the beach would be mostly vacant.

    Again, thank you.

  5. Day before: We set all the tables, arranged the candy bar and put bunches of Gerber daisies in vases (the restaurant we had as our venue let us keep them fresh in the walk-in overnight).
    11PM night before: Beers with the best man, maid of honor, and their spouses before turning in at the guest house we were all sharing.
    Day of, 6AM-7AMish: Wake up, shower, breakfast of egg and veggie scramble cooked by the maid of honor (a chef)
    7:30-8:30AM: Hair dresser arrives and works her magic. Husband-to-be, best man and maid of honor sent to finish decorating the outdoor altar. The photographers also arrived and began shooting somewhere in here.
    8:30-9:30AM: Everyone gets dressed, husband-to-be leaves the premises so he wouldn’t see me in my dress (he felt very strongly about that, for some reason), photographers split up and take pictures of the bride and groom’s attendants.
    9:30-10AM: Hung around trying to think of more creative pictures to take, kvetched about how I want my wedding to start on time, goddamnit, and would those guests please just arrive and sit down already?
    10-10:20Am: Ceremony!
    10:20-11ish: wedding party photos taken while guests get started on the open bar (hey, it was 5 o’clock somewhere!)
    11AM-3PM: Reception with lunch, dancing, at some point we ate a bunch of cupcakes!

  6. Thanks so much for this! We’re leaning toward a brunch wedding (I’m not a night owl AT ALL) but I’m rethinking it given that the getting ready part would start so early. 5am is painful, to me. 😉
    It sounds like having it early gets rid of a lit of the stress of sit down meal catering, bar concerns, guests staying too late, etc.

    • My MOH got married a few years before my wedding with her ceremony beginning at 2pm. We were all out late the night before and then too excited to sleep that night. With the getting ready, ceremony, cocktail hour, reception and dancing. We were all completely wiped out by 8:00 and the party had just really started.

  7. Thanks for posting this .We are having a early afternoon wedding starting at noon. I’ve been trying to figure out a time line and this helps a lot.

  8. Anyone doing a split-day wedding? Our ceremony is at 9am and our reception is at 3pm, due to me technically being on bed rest for a high-risk pregnancy and Kid 1’s obligations in the middle of the day. Just looking for input on how well it (did or didn’t) go.

  9. This is so awesome. Thank you for sharing. With a little tweaking it will work perfectly for us!

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