What Is a Typical Santorini Wedding Timeline?

Creating a wedding timeline is a challenge if you get married at home. Even more, if you are having a destination wedding! And if just for a second you thought "Do I even need a schedule? My Santorini wedding will be laid back, fewer guests and no need for...", rest assured that the initial thought will fade away, by the end of this post!

Yes, your wedding in Santorini will be relaxed and magical. All of your guests will be in a holiday mood and their time will be dedicated to you alone. But people still need to know where to go and what to do. From the suppliers to the guests, everyone needs to know the when, where, and what. The more specific you are during the planning period, the more relaxed you will be on the day. The point of outlining every little phase from the set up to the preparations to the ceremony and reception is to actually enjoy a seamless result! Work closely with your planner and the wedding coordinator and let yourself relax and enjoy your very special day, as the wedding professionals will use the guidelines you put together and make sure to have a smooth flow of events.

You are getting married in Santorini Greece and now you are definitely wondering about the typical timeline for a destination wedding in Santorini. It is likely going to be different from back home, as the ceremony would be different and the reception times & conditions could also lead you to a completely different schedule. What do you need to know to create an effective timeline?

A GOOD TIMELINE TAKES UNDER CONSIDERATION THE FOLLOWING:

  • Venue hire: check your rental package to see the exact number of hours you have booked the ceremony and the reception venue(s) for. See the starting time of the hire, as well as the latest departure time from the wedding venue.
  • Venue policy regarding the serving times and sound restrictions: All wedding venues have sound restrictions that will affect the party times! Also, you need to know if they have standard serving times for dinner.
  • Preparation times: is the bride getting ready alone, with a small bridal party or with a big one? Are you having professional hair and makeup artist (please say yes!)? The preparation times need to be plentiful and relaxing. Have fun with the bridesmaids and your mother, drink champagne, have a pre-wedding photoshoot! Get ready to shine as never before!
  • Sunset time: you are getting married in Santorini and you want to enjoy the world-famous Santorini sunset and have sunset pictures. Reserve 20-30 minutes for this and make sure that no speech is taking place just before sunset and gets carried away, making you hate that timeline!
  • Number of guests: Having an intimate wedding of 20 people is totally different from a wedding with 120 guests timewise. The size of the wedding affects the times you need to collect the guests with private transportation, to have them seated in the ceremony or reception area, the serving times, the dining times, the shooting times, just everything!
  • Selection of the menu: in correlation with the number of guests, the selection of the menu can also be more time-consuming or not. In general, a 4-course served dinner takes more time to be served if compared to a more flexible buffet menu.
  • Couple's wishes: Do not forget to make clear to your wedding planner what are the important times for you. Each wedding is different and what is important to another couple may be secondary to you. Make sure you are happy with the timeline of your very special day and that you have given enough space to what speaks to your heart the most.
  • Photography/videography times: Of course you need the photographer and the videographer to be present at all important moments. If you have them booked for a small number of hours, ask them to start half an hour before the ceremony, have them for family pictures and for the portrait pictures, and try to reach the speeches and first dance. If you can afford to book them for a full day, then your job is easy: you ask them to start shooting from the wedding preparations and reach a good part of the night party! You do not necessarily need them until the end of the party, as probably your state will be better remembered through your friends' shots and some poses are not likely to end up in the wedding album anyway...
  • Entertainment details: You have booked live music and live DJ sets and dancers because you want to entertain your guests and have an unforgettable experience. Ideally, all these people cover the times from the guests' arrival to the guests' departure and offer happenings in specific times - such as the special songs (ceremony, celebration, first dance songs), cocktail hour, party.
  • Suppliers' set up times: all suppliers need to know in advance when they need to start setting up and by when they need to have all in perfection. How much time do they need to set up? Is a couple of hours enough or the services you have booked require an entire morning or afternoon?

WHEN DO I CREATE THE TIMELINE?

  • A draft schedule needs to be created in the early stages of planning. This will actually help you imagine your wedding day and make targeted choices regarding the wedding services you need.
  • It then goes refined until all services and suppliers have their ideal portion of time.

TO WHOM DO I COMMUNICATE THE TIMELINE?

  • As a bride & groom you need to let the wedding party know of all the important times. These are the time they need to get ready, the time they need to get picked up to the wedding, the ceremony time, the main times of the reception, the times of the speeches, the time of departure. So practically, your guests need to know a simplified timeline and not all the little details. Just enough details to allow them to feel the flow.
  • Your wedding planner should communicate the draft timeline to the suppliers that are more affected (e.g. photographer, musicians, etc.), as well as communicate the final timeline and the set up times to all suppliers involved.

WHAT IF I HAVE LAST MINUTE CHANGES?

  • Last minute changes need be communicated in written and orally to your wedding planner.
  • The planner needs to communicate the changes to anybody involved and coordinate coordinate at best even if the change comes on the wedding day.

WHAT IS THE BEST TIME FOR CEREMONY IN SANTORINI?

In case of elopements or wedding ceremonies that are not followed by a typical wedding reception, it is usual to hire a venue in morning hours, around midday. This still gives you enough time for preparations, the colors of the sky are of a blue you will never forget and you may save a lot of money and time to have a nice lunch afterward at a beautiful restaurant or winery or why not, a private caldera cruise.

However, in Santorini, wedding ceremonies usually take place in the afternoon, around 5 pm. This is the case if you are having a reception, which depending on the venue you have booked can last until 1 or 2 am maximum in most cases. An afternoon wedding protects you from the heat and leaves you enough time to enjoy the reception without feeling drained. It is also recommended by many photographers that find the early afternoon light too bright for a photoshoot.

WHAT IS A TYPICAL WEDDING TIMELINE FOR SANTORINI?

Here below you will find 3 examples of wedding timelines. Remember to adjust them according to the characteristics of your wedding.

Sample timeline A: 12.00 Wedding Ceremony & Lunch in a restaurant

09.30-11.00 Preparations

11.00-11.45 Transportation Plan to the wedding venue

11.30-14.30 Photography & Videography

11.30-13.00 Live Music

11.50 Guests take seats for the ceremony

12.00-12.15 CEREMONY

12.15-13.00 Congratulations, group & family pictures / Cake cutting

13.00-14.30 Portrait photoshoot in selected locations

Guests at the selected restaurant are having a wine tasting

14.30 Wedding menu

Sample timeline B: 17.00 Ceremony & Reception

10.00-14.30 Bridal Preparations

12.00-14.00 Groom's Preparations

14.30-23.30 Photography & Videography

15.30-16.30 Transportation Plan to the wedding venue

16.30-end Music & Entertainment

16.50 Guests take seats for the ceremony

17.00-17.15 CEREMONY

17.15-18.00 Congratulations, group/family pictures

18.00-19.30 Cocktail hour / portrait pictures / sunset pictures

19.30-21.30 Dinner & Speeches

21.30 Cake cutting

21.40 First Dance

Party

01.00 End of the Event

Sample timeline C: 17.00 Ceremony & Reception / FIRST LOOK pictures

11.00 Bride & bridal party preparations start

12.00 Groom & groomsmen preparations start

11.00-13.00 Bridal hair & makeup

13.00-16.00 Bridesmaids' hair & makeup/bride's touch up after she comes back from the photoshoot

13.30-22.30 Photography & Videography

13.30 Approx. FIRST LOOK pictures

16.00 Groom & bride are freshening up at the wedding venue

16.30-end Music & Entertainment

16.30 Guests' arrival

16.50 Guests take seats for the ceremony

17.00-17.15 CEREMONY

17.15-18.15 Congratulations, group & family pictures

18.15-20.15 Dinner & Speeches

20.15 Enjoy the sunset, sunset pictures

20.45 Cake cutting

21.00 First Dance

Party

01.00 End of the Event

Contact JP for personalized timelines and more wedding planning!

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