How to Plan Two Wedding Ceremonies in One Day

I start each timeline by working my way from the ceremony -- that's where all the magic happens. That's a professional tip and lucky for you, in this post I'll be walking you through the wedding day timeline with two ceremonies. The couples I tend to work with are a little more reformed and modern but still want to preserve elements from their heritage. This most often times means that there will be two ceremonies on one day.


9:00 AM | Hair and Makeup

Your beauty team plays a critical role in how your wedding day will run. If they run behind your entire day runs behind and with two wedding ceremonies we can’t afford that mishap. Hiring a professional hair and makeup artist plays a big role in successfully planning two ceremonies on your wedding day. You'll normally start hair and makeup services with the first half of your bridesmaids and then you’ll go in between them followed by the second half of your bridesmaids or ‘attendants.’

Mehendi is a big part of the preparation when it comes to Indian weddings. You'll have to account for this as you outline your hair and makeup schedule.

12:00 PM | Photography

Your photographer and videographer will most likely arrive 30 minutes before you slip into your gown. Once they arrive they'll prepare and scout areas with great lighting to document you and your ladies putting on the final touches. It's important to note that getting-ready photos are typically staged as most photographers are not there from the beginning of the day. For 30 minutes to 1 hour, the photographer will photograph you and your wedding party right before the First Look, if you plan on doing one.

2:00 PM | First Look

The First Look takes 20 minutes but you'll want to leave room for getting to the location as well as for touch-ups post First Look so that you're as fresh as possible for your ceremony. The First Look is optional and normally incorporated for logistical reasons. If you're not sure if the First Look is right for you, you can read the most popular reasons for doing a First Look. When you plan to do the First Look you’ll need to be ready two hours earlier than if you would have decided to opt out of the First Look.

2:20 PM | Wedding Party and Family Photos

Followed by the First Look is wedding party and family photos. If you'd prefer to do these photos later there will be a small 30 to 40 minute window after the ceremony to take formal photos with family and friends. If you go this route, your list will have to be limited to a 5ish groups. In cross-cultural weddings this is very improbable so I typically recommend that my clients extend their cocktail hour by 30 minutes or so.

3:00 PM | Traditional Ceremony

We work with a lot of multicultural and cross-cultural couples so often times we'll either have a custom ceremony infused with cultural elements or we find ourselves performing two ceremonies in one day.

In Indian culture, you'll find that a traditional Hindu wedding ceremony can take up to 2 hours and 45 minutes beginning with Baraat. With my clients, we are typically dealing with a blend of two cultures so we try to respectfully condense the ceremony so that it's suitable for both sides of the aisle. Most American's are unaccustomed to 3-hour ceremonies so we work tirelessly with the couple to find a happy medium.

In a lot of Asian cultures, you'll find that you need multiple wedding ceremonies due to the richness of the traditional ceremony such as in Korean or Indian weddings.

4:00 PM | Cocktail Hour // More Photography

Cocktail hour is typically 45 minutes to one hour. The purpose of the cocktail hour is to allow you, the newlyweds, to take your first photos as the new Mr. and Mrs. You’ll want to make ample time to capture that raw bliss you feel after all those months of planning to finally marry your best friend!

The cocktail hour can be turned into catered lunch if the first ceremony happens much, much earlier in the day. You'll want to allow 2 hours for this to take place or more if you're using the same space for your reception.

In Persian culture, this is typically when the main course takes place to preserve the rest of the evening for dancing.

5:00 PM | American Wedding Ceremony

A traditional American wedding ceremony typically takes 20 to 30 minutes. The highlight of the ceremony being the tear-jerking exchange of vows.

In some cultures, it's a little easier to infuse your culture into a Western wedding ceremony like a Jewish-American wedding; or a Persian-America wedding; or a Chinese-American Wedding or a Catholic Wedding.

5:30 PM | Reception

This is where you can finally let loose. I'll have your favorite drinks in hand ready to quench your thirst as soon as you enter the reception from your grand entrance. The hugs, kisses, and tears of happiness will roll in as you finally get a chance to embrace your family and friends.

Typically there will be dinner, speeches, dessert, and dancing.

In Lebanese culture, it's typical to make your grand entrance with Zaffet. Check this out gives me the chills every time.

One of my favorite Persian wedding traditions is Gol Berizin, which is an elaborate petal toss ceremony on the dance floor involving all your guests. As the coordinators, we typically have baskets of petals that we pass out to hundreds of guests. In a concerted effort, they are tossed over and over again as the bride and groom dance.

We’ve made it our mission to guide our cross-cultural couples through their vast and varying options. As multicultural wedding planners, we spend our days figuring out ways to help you blend and infuse your cultures into your wedding. Wedding planning is complicated as it is so we’re here to not only help you plan your wedding but to do it in a way that feels true and authentic to who you are.

If you’re planning on having multiple ceremonies for your wedding, we encourage you to fill out the form below to see how we can support you along this journey.

Name *