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  • Writer's pictureVeronica Rodriguez

Your Wedding Destination Timeline

Having a destination wedding is a big difference to having a wedding at home. One of the most important things when planning your destination wedding timeline is OPTIMIZE TIME.

The key to a wedding day timeline that runs smoothly is planning ahead. Breaking down your entire wedding day into an organized timeline helps to keep everything on track when the big day finally arrives. The more detailed you can make the plan, the better.


The wedding photographer should arrive 30 minutes before the bride is ready. During this time, the photographer(s) can get shots of the dress, rings, invitation, etc.

The bridesmaids (as well as the mother of the bride and any other bridal suite VIPs) should be dressed and ready by the time the bride’s hair and makeup is complete. This way, everyone can be in the background of the photos featuring the bride getting dressed.

Once you're mostly dressed, now's the time to have the photographer capture those intimate moments of your maid of honor (and maybe bridesmaids, too) helping you zip up your dress and slip on your shoes. Make sure your mom has a role, too! Perhaps she helps with your earrings and jewelry, or adjusts your veil.

Tip: We recommend that you agree with your photographer on a specific time for the photo session. It is important that he optimizes the time and avoids interruptions during the party, so you and your guests can enjoy the rest of the night.


The time really depends on the type of ceremony you're having. Typically, non-religious ceremonies last around 20 minutes, while religious-based ceremonies can last up to an hour.

In Punta Cana the sunsets vary between 6 and 7pm generally depending on time of year, this is why we recommend a ceremony between 4 and 5 pm so that you have enough time for the photos with sunlight.

Cocktail Hour

The bride and groom typically won’t be able to attend the cocktail hour it’s still a nice time for your guests to relax and enjoy some appetizers and drinks before they go into the main reception. Invite guests to cocktail hour while the two of you escape for some post-ceremony photos with the photographer. This will give you a much-needed break to re-energize for the rest of the night.

Grand Entrance and First Dance and special dances

Timing works great if you go from your grand entrance right into your first dance. This keeps the formalities and the fun going. You can dance for a full song for your first dance, or fade out two minutes in.

We recommend you immediately go to the dances with the parents. For the Father - Bride and Mother - Groom dances it is not necessary to play the entire song. You can ask the DJ to fade out the song at 1:30 - 2 minutes, so it doesn't get too long. Also, you can add a dance set consisting of three to five songs after the special dances and invite your guests to the dance floor to get the energy up before dinner.


Time to take a breath—and eat!

Quick advice for your reception is to do your toasts during dinner – combining the two will free up more time for the party and dancing afterwards. As dinner is wrapping up, the best man and maid of honor can offer their toasts during this slot of the wedding schedule.

Tip: For all toasts, set a time limit and recommend advising your speakers stay within that limit. No more than five minutes.

Cake Cutting, Bouquet Toss, Garter Toss and Traditional dances.

Agree with the photographer the best moment for the Cake Cutting. It is important that he is still present to capture the moment.

If you decide to go with the Bouquet Toss and the Garter Toss you can do it late at night. This is one of those longstanding wedding traditions (although we know that the trend has been declining in recent). This can be a very fun time and add a spicy touch to the party.

Most large cultural weddings feature traditional dances or musical pieces that are done at every wedding, like the Knife dance in Persian weddings or the Horah in Jewish weddings. Be sure to be deliberate about scheduling these within the reception time frame.

Grand Exit

Arrange for a final song with your DJ ahead of time as well as to be alerted that the song is coming up. Say your final goodbyes and hug your final hugs. This is also a good time for you and your husband to say a few words of thanks to your friends and family for joining you on this special day.

The ideal is to plan your wedding well in advance, so everything will be perfect.

In destination weddings, it is common to have a wedding coordinator, rely on her to optimize the time of your event, they are experts.

Another recommendation is to be in contact with your DJ and MC, they are the ones who will help you to make the whole event flow properly. That is why it is important to hire a DJ with experience in weddings. They will know how to solve any situation.

GCStar Punta Cana is an expert DJ company in weddings. Our staff is fully trained and will know how to make your event an unforgettable experience.

Contact us to learn more about our services.

TikTok @gcstarpuntacana

By Veronica Rodriguez


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