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How Long is a Wedding Ceremony? Wedding Ceremony Timeline

April 29, 2021 (0) Comments

How Long is a Wedding Ceremony? Wedding Ceremony Timeline

If you have started planning your wedding, you might have found the common struggle that many people face which is deciding how long of a time to assign to each part of the wedding.

You are certainly not the only person to face this stressful aspect of wedding planning, and there are some things that can help to make the process easier.

Wedding day timings are difficult enough, but trying to set aside a certain amount of time for the actual ceremony itself can prove to be even more tricky. There are so many different things to consider and so many goings-on that it may seem impossible.

However, all is not lost. We are going to give you all the advice that you could possibly need to help you plan your wedding ceremony to ensure that everything runs smoothly on the day.

There is no simple way for everyone to do this, but there are some general rules that can help you.

How Long is a Wedding Ceremony?

A wedding ceremony will usually last between 20 and 30 minutes, depending on the type of ceremony that you are having. This will account for more than enough time to cover the basics and more.

The exact length of time that your ceremony will take from start to finish will depend on how many elements that you choose to include, and what type of ceremony you are having. 

Civil Ceremony

If you are having a civil ceremony with no readings or special additions, then the ceremony can actually be as short as 10 minutes.

The longest that you can expect a civil ceremony to last is around half an hour.

Church Ceremony

If you are having a religious ceremony, then you can expect it to last much longer than this.

A religious ceremony can widely vary in length, but you will be able to get guidance from your religious establishment to help you gauge how long it will take.

They can vary anywhere in length from half an hour to well over an hour.

Photo Opportunities

Something else that you will need to factor into the length of your ceremony is photography. The majority of people will stop to take photos after the ceremony itself ends, which means that you will be at the venue for longer.

These photos can take from 15 to 30 minutes on average, but it is best to speak to your photographer if you would like a better idea of how long it will take.

Why is Timing Important on Your Wedding Day?

The reason that timing is so important on your wedding day is that knowing when things are going to start and finish will help to ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible.

It will also make it easier to work out when guests need to move from one space to another and give people notice of when things are happening. Without timing, it is impossible to know where people should be and when.

One of the biggest challenges is working out how long your ceremony will be as this time can vary depending on what is included in your ceremony. 

Traditional Wedding Ceremony Timeline Order

Traditional Wedding Ceremony Timeline Order

To help you to better understand how long your wedding ceremony will take, we are going to leave the order of things that will happen throughout the ceremony below.

The example that we are using is for a traditional ceremony.

The Processional

This part of the ceremony is simply when your immediate family will walk down the aisle to find their seats or take their places on either side of the altar.

This will start with the mother of the bride, then the groom, best man, wedding party, flower girl, and ring bearer.

Of course, the last person to walk up the aisle will be the bride, who makes her entrance, typically escorted by her father. 

Words of Welcome and Introduction

Once everyone is in their places, the officiant will say some words of welcome. After this, they will offer an introduction and some thoughts on marriage as a whole.

This could be anything from a story about the couple to a statement about what the ceremony represents.


After all the introductions are out of the way, the readings will take place. You may decide not to have any readings, but if you do, the readers will be invited to say their piece. (Xanax)

Officiant Addresses Couple

During this part of the ceremony, the officiant will address the couple and talk about the responsibilities of marriage and the importance of the vows that you intend to make. 

Exchange Vows

Now that all of the official stuff is out of the way, it is time to get down to business. You and your partner will take turns in reciting your vows to each other.

You can opt to write your own vows or use traditional phrasing.

Ring Exchange

Once you have exchanged your vows, you will then go on to place your rings on each other’s fingers. This will be the symbol of your marriage.

First Kiss

Once the vows have been completed and the rings are in their correct places, you will both seal your marriage with a kiss.

At this point in time, you will be officially married.

Unity Ceremony

This part of the ceremony is optional, and not everyone will have a uniting ceremony. However, if you do decide to have one, this is the time for it.

The unity ceremony includes something that physically symbolizes your new union.

Closing Words

The officiator will now offer some closing words, and if it is a religious ceremony, then this will often be in the form of a prayer.

Otherwise, this could be a poem or a few words of encouragement. 

The Recessional

You will now be announced as a wedded couple and will be introduced as such to the guests.

The final part of the ceremony is when the newlyweds will walk back down the aisle and exit the venue together.