YOUR DREAM DAY: DECODING THE IDEAL WEDDING DAY SCHEDULE

We get it – your wedding day is like that dream vacation you’ve been planning forever, and you want every moment to sparkle. And who needs stress on their big day? Not you! That’s where we come in.

From the ‘OMG, I can’t believe it’s here!’ morning prep to the ‘We’re dancing like nobody’s watching!’ evening bash, your wedding day is your time to shine. 

This is your ultimate wedding day schedule to help you plan an unforgettable day, starting at the first cup of coffee and ending with the final DJ drop. 

Morning Wake Up Call

The wedding day will be action-packed, no matter how it is planned. We highly recommend having family members assigned to certain tasks, hiring a wedding day or event planner, and/or working with a highly experienced wedding venue, such as Diamond A Ranch

*Please note that this is a sample schedule and may change based on your individual wedding. 

7:00 AM – 8:00 AM: Vendor Arrival and Setup

  • Floral and Decor Team: Floral arrangements, centerpieces, and decor items are delivered to the venue.
  • Rental Company: Any rented items, such as chairs, tables, linens, and lighting, are delivered and set up.

8:00 AM – 9:00 AM: Venue Setup

  • Venue Coordinator Arrival: The venue coordinator oversees the setup process and ensures everything is in place. 
  • Floral and Decor Setup: The floral and decor team starts arranging flowers, setting up ceremony arches, and decorating the reception area.

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM: Ceremony Area Setup

  • Ceremony Seating: Chairs or seating arrangements for guests are set up in the ceremony area.
  • Aisle Decor: Floral arrangements, aisle runners, and any other decor elements are put in place.
  • Audio and Lighting: Sound and lighting equipment are tested and adjusted for the ceremony.

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM: Reception Area Setup

  • Reception Seating: Tables, chairs, and place settings are arranged according to the seating chart.
  • Table Centerpieces: Floral centerpieces, table numbers, and other decorative elements are placed on each table.
  • Place Settings: Tableware, glassware, and utensils are set at each place setting.
  • Guest Book and Gift Table: Guest book, gift table, and any signage are set up.
  • Cake and Dessert Display: The cake and dessert table are set up with appropriate decor.

Afternoon Preparations

11:00 AM – 3:00 PM: Bride and Groom Preparations

  • Hair and makeup services begin. Depending on how many bridesmaids are in the wedding, the start time could vary. The Bridal Casita at Diamond A makes the perfect ‘getting ready’ space for our brides. 
  • The groom will get ready with the groomsmen in Diamond A’s Homestead Quarters, a separate location for maximum enjoyment. 

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM: Catering Set-Up and Venue Walkthrough

  • Catering Setup: The catering team usually arrives around noon to set up food stations, tables, and other catering-related elements. They will have plenty of time to finalize the food presentation, set up buffets or plated meal stations, and arrange the bar area.
  • Venue Coordinator Checks: The venue coordinator does a walkthrough to ensure everything is in place and ready. There will likely be one more final check in the afternoon before the ceremony, but for now, all is set and ready to go!


1:00 – 1:30 PM: Photographer Arrives

  • We recommend that the photographer arrives 1 to 2 hours before the bride and groom are fully dressed and ready to go. During this time, the photographers can set up and photograph wedding details and setting. They will photograph the wedding prep photos, such as you getting ready with your loved ones, getting dressed, etc. 


2:00 – 2:30 PM: Couple is Dressed

  • The bride and groom will both get dressed to prepare for first look and wedding party photos.


3:00 PM: The Wedding Band Arrives 

  • The band will typically arrive 2 to 3 hours before their start time to set up, do soundcheck, etc. 
  • For example, if the wedding reception is scheduled to begin at 6:00 PM, the band might arrive around 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM. If the band is playing during the wedding ceremony, they may want to arrive earlier. 


3:00 PM – 4:30 PM: First Look and Pre-Ceremony Photos

  • During this time, we encourage the bride and groom to have a private moment together before the ceremony.
  • Formal photos with the bridal party and immediate family will also be taken pre-ceremony. 

4:30 PM – 5:00 PM: Pre-Ceremony Refreshments

  • Offer light snacks and beverages for the bridal party and family. 

Evening: The Main Event

5:30 PM – 6:15 PM: The Wedding Ceremony

  • Most evening weddings are listed to start at 5:30 PM on the wedding invitations. We always recommend starting the ceremony about 15 minutes after it is listed to ensure that all guests arrive and are seated. 
  • Many ceremonies last about 30 minutes to 1 hour, although this will change based on your preferences.
     

6:15 PM – 7:15 PM: Cocktail Hour

  • Guests mingle and enjoy drinks and appetizers.
  • Couple takes additional photos with guests and may take some final photos with family or the wedding party. 


7:15 PM: Reception Entrance and Dinner

  • Newlyweds and bridal party make their grand entrance.
  • Dinner service begins (plated meal or buffet).

8:00 PM – 8:30 PM: Toasts and Speeches

  • The couple’s parents, best man, and maid of honor will give heartfelt (and hopefully hilarious!) speeches.


8:30 PM – 8:45 PM: Cake Cutting

  • The bride and groom will cut the wedding cake, and slices are served to guests.


8:45 PM – 9:00 PM: First Dances

  • Newlyweds share their first dance together.
  • The mother-son and father-daughter dance typically happen around this time as well. 


9:00 PM – 10:30 PM: Dancing and Entertainment

  • Dance floor opens, and guests join in the celebration.
  • A DJ or live band provides music and entertainment.
  • Some couples also choose to have other activities, such as games or photo booths. 


10:30 PM: Bouquet and Garter Toss

  • The bride tosses her bouquet, and the groom tosses the garter to single guests.


10:45 PM – 11:00 PM: Late-Night Snacks and Dessert Bar

  • Sometimes late-night snacks or a dessert bar are offered at this point in the evening before saying goodbyes. 


11:00 – 11:30 PM: Farewell and Departure

  • Couple says goodbye to their guests and gets some final photos of their send off.

We hope this helps give you a starting point to your dream wedding day! With some careful planning and thought, the day will be stress-free and memorable. At Diamond A Ranch, we are here to help you coordinate all the details so that you can enjoy your big day with loved ones. 

Book a tour today to come check out our beautiful ranch wedding venue!