a colourful wedding order of the day timeline

Order of the day sign: What do you put on it?

An order of the day sign is a really useful part of your wedding day decor. You can have it made to match your wedding invitations, your other wedding signs, your table plan, and any other pieces of wedding stationery that you have for your ceremony and reception. You can display it on a large (a2 or A1 size is ideal) in a prominent place for all your guests to see throughout your big day. It will help your nearest and dearest know where they need to be and when, so that they don’t miss anything important The key is to ensure you get the right bits of info in there.

This blog though is all about what to put on your order of the day. So here are my expert tips and suggestions:

a wedding order of the day sign with pretty woodland greenery design to the corners

12 things you could include on your order of the day sign

1. Wedding Ceremony

It’s likely that this will be the first item on your order of the day timeline. If you are displaying it on the day, your guests will not need to know about anything before this. Label it on your timeline as: wedding ceremony, ceremony, the I dos, or something more creative, it’s up to you. How about a church icon, a couple, or wedding rings for icons.

2. Photographs

These can take a little while, and if you are having some posed group shots then you’ll need all your guests to be around for the duration. This item on the order of the day sign is often combined with drinks or canapes. A good old fashioned camera icon is a classic for this one.

3. Drinks Reception

Whether you are having cocktails, champagne, or something else. A drinks reception will very likely follow your wedding ceremony. Often while your photographer is hard at work (see above), and frequently to accompany some pre-dinner nibbles (see below). What you call this on your order of the day sign is up to you. Here are some suggestions: drinks reception, cocktail hour

4. Canapes

Often served during the drinks reception, you could combine these two. But, if you have space you might want to make it a separate item. Cocktails & Canapes or Drinks & Nibbles are popular ways to word this.

5. Wedding Breakfast

Whether you are having a seated, four course meal, street food, or a buffet, this will be one of the main parts of your wedding day. Make sure it’s on your order of the day sign. I like to illustrate this one with a classic plate and cutlery icon.

6. Speeches & Toasts

These often come just before or after the wedding breakfast, and can be combined with that on your order of the day if you like. If you want an alternative to ‘Speeches’, how about ‘A Few Words’

a wedding order of the day sign on an easel with an autumnal design
7. Cutting the Cake

Another photo opportunity and a must for your order of the day. Many couples choose to do this after their evening guests arrive, and in that case, move it down the timeline accordingly. Obviously a cake icon is the way to go here.

8. Evening Reception

This is a really useful item on your timeline. Knowing what time the evening celebrations begin will allow them to plan their day, perhaps pop back to their room to freshen up and change their shoes (for the dancing!). You could label this as evening party, music & dancing, evening celebrations, party time, whatever you like.

9. First Dance

Are you having a first dance as married couple? If you are, you can put this on your order of the day, so your guests don’t miss it. I love to use either a dancing couple, love heart, or musical note icon for this one.

10. Evening Food

Another important one, and one that can really personalise your order of the day.  Are you serving up burgers, pizza, or having a barbeque for your late night snack? I can use the matching icon to reflect that on your order of the day.

11. Fireworks or sparklers

Fireworks, or a sparkler send off are a popular part of many wedding days, and really fun to include on your order of the day timeline. You’ll need all your guests there to experience the magic, so make sure they know what time it’s happening.

12. Carriages

The end of the night, last order, time to say goodnight, or my favourite: carriages. I love to represent this with a good old fashioned fairytale carriage icon, but you could use a taxi, or something else if you like.

What does carriages at midnight mean?

a wedding order of the day timeline with dark blue floral design

How many items should you have on your order of the day sign?

As a general rule I suggest around 8 to 12 things. Any more than 12 and your timeline will start to look cluttered and confusing. Use my suggestions, but keep in mind it’s not an exhaustive list, if you want to add sometime else, go for it. You can also combine items, or leave them out altogether. If something I have suggested isn’t relevant for you, leave it out. Remember the golden rule: it’s your wedding, do it your way!

Pro tip
If you have a couple of things that are happening at the same time e.g. drinks, canapes & photos, or wedding breakfast and speeches, have them as one item on your timeline. It will help to keep it all looking clearer and uncluttered.

a wedding order of the day timeline with eucalyptus design

Keep timings broad on your order of the day sign

Possibly the most important part of this blog. When you are putting together the timings for your order of the day, keep them broad and approximate. I would recommend sticking with hourly or half hourly slots, possibly with the odd 15 minute timeslot for something like cutting the cake.

Side note: Should you include order of the day in your invitations?

I’ve put together this list with a large order of the day sign in mind. Many couples do choose to put an order of the day in their invitations. If you want to include one, my advice is to keep it super simple, with no more than 5 or 6  key items. List the things that your guests might need to know to plan their day in advance, for example:

  • Arrival
  • Ceremony
  • Wedding breakfast
  • Evening reception
  • Carriages


For my full guide on what to include in your invitations click here

a modern calligraphy style wedding order of the day timeline

What should you include on your order of the day?

So, in summary, your order of the day sign should include 8 to 12 key things that are happening throughout your wedding day. List those things that your guests definitely do not want to miss. Use my list as a starting point, adding, removing, and combining any items as you need to. Have fun with your labels (wording) and icons, use them to represent what is happening on YOUR day. Keep your timings broad, and approximate.

Above all, remember that it’s your day, your way. Your order of the day sign will be an integral part of your stationery and wedding decor. It should be useful as well as beautiful. It can coordinate with your invitations, and other stationery if you want it to or be a standalone piece.

I hope this blog has been useful. I have lots more info about order of the day signs, cards, and more on these two blogs. Go have a read.

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